Perhaps one of your atheist friends on Facebook has shared the image. On it, several children, all severely emaciated, stare with hollow eyes at the camera. The caption reads something like this: “If god is so loving, why does he let them starve?”
It’s easy to get indignant about such images, to rail against the lack of understanding about God’s nature and the impact of the curse. But to do so misses the underlying chastisement the church must take seriously. In fact, what I really read on such images is this: “I’d believe your God was so loving if you, His followers, were doing something about these starving kids.” We are, after all, supposed to be imitators of Christ, who fed thousands of hungry people—twice.
Joe Carter on the Gospel Coalition blog recently laid out “9 Things You Should Know” about how serious the problem of world hunger really is:
2. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 1 in 8 people in the world do not get enough food to lead an active and healthy life. Over 800 million worldwide -- equal to the population of the U.S. and the 28 member states of the European Union -- are hungry.
3. Asia has the largest share of the world's hungry people (some 552 million), but Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment with one in four Africans (24.8 per cent) estimated to be hungry.
4. Hunger and malnutrition are the greatest threats to global health—more so than even AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
With stats like these, I confess to feeling somewhat overwhelmed at times. Millions of undernourished children, millions of hopeless parents, and only one me. But I also know God isn’t lacking in resources when His church takes His commands seriously (see Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 15:11; Proverbs 14:31; Matthew 19:21). Our concern for those who can’t take care of themselves flows naturally from the grace we’ve been given—something we could never have earned on our own.
How can we help? Many Christian organizations already supply food and medicine to those in need all around the world. With your help, they can do even more. Here are just a few:
- Samaritan’s Purse: Our good friends at this ministry provide emergency aid to refugees and others who lose their livelihood unexpectedly.
- International Orphan Support: This ministry keeps to a simple mission: many children around the world are hungry, and we can feed them if we work together.
- Food for the Poor: With a sterling reputation for using their assets wisely, Food for the Poor has provided billions of dollars in aid to those most in need.
- World Vision: This well-known ministry supplies the impoverished with the tools they need to feed themselves, their families, and their communities.
- Compassion International: This highly regarded ministry allows Christians to sponsor children in a personal way and help provide the aid they need.
Working together, we can show that God is love, just as the Bible says.
We’d love to hear from you. What ministries did we miss? How else can we all help?