Feed the Hungry

I have a very good reason to praise God today. This is the 200th episode that I’m publishing on the podcast. I have also taken 50 of my devotionals, put them together into a book and published them on Kindle. Technology is really awesome if used for good. Even though I live in the middle of nowhere I can publish a book without leaving town. All you need is the internet.

Having small victories to celebrate is wonderful and we should be doing it all the time. Sometimes it looks like there aren’t any victories to celebrate and everything looks bleak. There is an economic crisis at the moment. There’s less expendable income and there’s much more debt. There are crises at the end of the month where people who have borrowed more than they can repay. There are children who go to school hungry and some of them just go to school because of the feeding schemes. I know that there are social grants which are paid out to many parents for the care of their children which never reach the children. People drink, smoke and gamble and have paid television channels but they can’t feed their children. What is the problem?

In my opinion the problem is not the country’s economy. It is a spiritual problem. People are being held in poverty by the spiritual darkness that is part of the history of this country. There are so many people who are pretending to be Christians. I am deeply saddened by the mindsets of people who are in churches but who are still blinded by the wiles of the devil. They cannot see the problems which are right in front of them.

James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

If this verse is to be taken seriously then there are very few churches and Christians who do what the God expects of them. Why do buildings and programs get preference over missions and poor people. A few years ago a lady who represented one of the local churches showed me some sweaters that the ladies had knitted. She said that they were being donated to a charity in a neighbouring city because our town doesn’t really have needy people. I was so shocked that she didn’t know what was happening right in front of her face! In the early church the believers took care of widows who couldn’t afford to look after themselves. Acts chapter 6 gives a clear account of that. Where did things go wrong? When did people decide that the state should take care of needy people instead of the church? When the church stopped doing this and also stopped educating children they lost their voice in society. If a government which isn’t Godly takes care of the poor people and is in charge of education then the alliance of the people are to the government. They do not have to listen to the church because the church effectively becomes irrelevant in their lives. Why should people who are poor listen to a church which does not offer them anything to alleviate their situation? There are churches which are very affluent and the people who attend those churches reflect the state of the church. People who are poor and needy and do not operate on that economic level feel extremely out of place. If doesn’t help to preach to a man while he is hungry.

Matthew 25:35-36,   for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Only once we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked and housed the homeless we can preach to them. Preaching to the same people Sunday after Sunday for months and years is not the aim of church. A church should not be an impressive building with all kinds of social programs. A church should be the people who are followers of Jesus who are physically going about their daily tasks doing what Jesus did. We should all be preaching the Gospel, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, casting out demons and loving a broken world to wellness.

Is this Christmas?

Christmas is coming,

The geese are getting fat

Who’ll out a penny in the old man’s hat?

I remember this verse from a nursery rhyme book. I look at the streets and I do see poor people, a lot of poor people. I also see a lot of people standing in queues at the various cash loan offices. I don’t like cash loans. They charge exorbitant interest rates force people into serial lending. Sometimes there are debit orders whereby the repayment is paid directly keep the company’s account. Other less official lenders retain the client’s bank card and draw the money as soon as their salary, pension or grant is paid into their account. It’s a vicious circle because instead of it being a loan which is given with the aim of being repaid, the whole amount plus interest is repaid every month. The problem is that the amount that people lend is usually more or less equal to their monthly income and therefor they keep lending again and again and again. I see them standing and waiting every month, and I see their children waiting outside for them. I see the culture of lending being instilled into the children and I cry in my soul. I cry for the people who don’t have. Some people borrow against the social grant they receive for their children and old people lend against their pension. Slavery is long gone, but these people are owned by the people they owe money to.

It probably starts innocently enough. A mother needs money to buy school clothes for her children and because she hasn’t put aside anything during the year she thinks that borrowing against the social grant won’t do any harm. The problem is that she’s never going to get out of the circle. Why does she receive a grant for her children? Firstly its a kind of culture. There are so many teenage girls who fall pregnant and have babies while they are still at school. They don’t get married and most of them don’t receive any maintenance from the father’s of their child/ren. The government offers a monthly grant to single mothers and it gets made very good use of. Even women who work receive this grant for their children. I think some women decide not to get married, or to remain unemployed because of the grant. (my own opinion)

The point I actually want to make is about Christmas. People go mad at Christmas. Everyone has to have new clothes and new curtains and new furniture. I’ve seen children demand new clothes. And not just any clothes, specific brand names that their parents can’t afford and the parents borrow money and put themselves into debt to appease them. And they get drunk. Ridiculously, hideously drunk. I look around the streets and I see drunk people. It starts in the second week of December and continues till after New Year. It is so sad.

It is so sad that the birth of our Savior is reduced to lending money and getting drunk.

I cry.