We Christians too often read the Bible selectively about the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed, the foreigner and the weak. Consequently, we have at best a short-term commitment to their well-being. We sometimes respond to their immediate needs. We tend to neglect their long-term empowerment.
The global community needs for American Christians to read the Bible without skipping over the uncomfortable parts that call for a commitment beyond the horizon. The Bible speaks about an enduring commitment. Regrettably, too many American Christians have myopia about the malnourished and their moral obligations.
How often have we seen a flourish of giving to famine relief efforts and natural disasters followed by a sharp decline in giving? Donor fatigue is the term for disengagement from global crises such as what happened in the Sahel, Ethiopia, and Southeast Asia after the tsunami.
How often have we heard Christians say “the poor you have with you always,” as a proof-text, a justification, for why rich Christians don’t need to care about the hungry? How often have we heard church members talk in negative terms about the laziness of the poor, their faulty moral choices related to out-of-wedlock children and their substance abuse? Or church members who criticize the hungry in nations where their religious beliefs place restrictions on beef consumption, for example?
In 2006, EthicsDaily.com produced a DVD entitled “Always … Therefore: The Church’s Challenge of Global Poverty.”
This educational DVD and study guide has a twofold goal: (1) Explore the biblical mandate to feed the hungry. Baptists are people of the book. The book is our moral compass. (2) Raise the level of awareness about and deepen the commitment to what good will Baptists are doing through Baptist World Aid and its partners to be faithful to the biblical mandate.
With a sound biblical foundation and a compelling overview of what Baptists are doing, we hope that church members will make a long-term commitment to feeding the hungry through relief efforts, development projects and justice initiatives.