Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feeding the poor in Haiti

Jim Caple, a friend of mine who pastors a church in Florida, recently returned from a trip to Haiti. God gave Jim a heart for the people of Haiti many years ago (but that's another story) and he's been there several times. I was listening to the message that he preached the Sunday after he returned and was struck by one of the stories he told. He was preaching from the beatitudes and specifically on what Jesus says about mercy in Matthew 5:7 and also referencing the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37.

In that message, he relayed a story about ministering to people in one of Haiti's poor houses. (Jim points out that almost every house is Haiti is a poor house but this poor house is a place where those who have no one else to care for them gather.) Jim's group had prepared a meal of rice and beans to feed them; a few of the people had bowls or plates but most of them didn't. When those without a bowl or plate came to be served, they simply pulled up their shirt tail to form a pouch and motioned for Jim to spoon the beans and rice into their shirt. They returned to a corner to sit and eat the food from their shirt.
This story brought me back to reality . . . to the reality that, no matter what challenge I may be facing, it's small compared to what the people of this poor house in Haiti are facing. The U.S. economy may be struggling but I still have a roof over my head and food to eat and I don't have to eat it out of the upturned tail of my shirt. It disappoints me to think how ungrateful I can be for all the blessing that I have. This story challenged me not just to be thankful for what I have, but to open my eyes to the people who are suffering and to take real, tangible action to help them.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by the needs of this world but it's even easier to become complacent. I can't fix every problem out there but there are some needs with my name on them. What about you? What need is God calling you to meet and whom is He calling you to serve?

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