These thoughts are not my own – I am sharing the message my pastor gave us this week.
She told us that if we make $37,000 a year we are in the ranks of the rich when compared to the rest of the world’s population.
Then she listed the “rich” people problems we face all the time. Things that we complain about – and do not really stop to think how many in the rest of the world would be grateful for those problems.
- Our cell phone service is bad.
- Our air line flight has been delayed.
- Amazon is out of the size we needed.
- Amazon promised shipment in three days and we now have to wait a week.
- We have to get new tires for our car.
- Our laptop stopped working and we have to buy a new one.
- The lines at McDonald’s are too long.
And we could go on and go about the “problems” we complain about every day without realizing these are “rich” people problems.
We take so much for granted in the USA.
Yet, at the same time we know there are many in our country who are struggling financially right now.
According to Feeding America, 1 in 9 Americans struggled with hunger. In 2019, 35,207,000 people were food insecure. Food insecurity exists in every county in America. Millions of people are still struggling to get by because of underemployment, stagnant wages and the rising cost of living. To these Americans, food has become an unaffordable luxury.
In 2019 more than 5.3 million children live in households struggling with hunger. Approximately 25% of children in households at risk of hunger may be forced to rely exclusively on hunger relief organizations to make ends meet.
According to the USDA, in 2020, 35.3 percent of households with incomes below the Federal poverty line were food insecure. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security. Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for single-parent households, and for Black and Hispanic households. Food insecurity was more common in both large cities and rural areas than in suburban areas.
As I look at these statistics I realize how blessed I am. My husband and I have a freezer full of food and a pantry with shelves fully stocked. Yet, my studies have shown me that many elderly have to decide between buying food or purchasing needed medicine.
So what do I do? Just feel bad and move on with my life? Or, try to help in some way.
If you fall in that category of having plenty of food, I challenge you to reach out and help
- Find a food pantry in your area and contribute food and/or money. Money is probably better than food because most food pantries can purchase food in bulk at much cheaper prices than an individual can. If you give food, think dried and canned goods. And please, check for expiration dates and do not give something you would not eat.
- Many schools have food programs – check with your local school.
- Do a volunteer food drive.
- Volunteer with your local food pantry or with the Meals on Wheels program.
I am grateful that my church works with Compassion in Action, a local group that helps with school children who are food insecure, and with a local food bank to distribute food to those in need every month.
My pastor shared the story of the farmer in the Bible who had a huge harvest. His response to that was to build more barns and then sit and enjoy his success. While Jesus was clearly not condemning being successful or even rich (many of godly men in the Bible were wealthy) or being a good steward of what you have, He clearly tells us we are not to trust in our own riches. Our trust is to be in God.
Also, we are not to grasp on tightly to what we have, but be willing to let go and share with others.
Finally, when we talk about riches we usually think of money or possessions. But I am rich in so many other important ways – ways that money cannot buy. Family, health, peace with God.
I think of a song my mother used to sing when I was a child.
If you are one of those who are food insecure, do not be afraid to ask for help. Check with your local church, your local school. There is help out there – and you should not feel bad about receiving.
If you are one who is truly “rich,” be grateful but also reach out and share with others.
As my husband often said when he preached about giving generously to others, “I never saw an U-Haul truck following a funeral car to the grave.”
In the words of Jesus:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”