“get the food to the people it matters most!”
Wow, it’s now been nearly two months since my last blog post. While it’s been a busy time with my taking on a new opportunity at Farm 360 as well as continuing coaching and consulting, that doesn’t mean God hasn’t continued to be at work within my heart. In particular, the words that continue to come to mind regularly are “get the food to the people it matters most!”
Yes, friends, the mission at Farm 360 is much bigger than providing fresh, locally grown food to our community in entirety. It’s even bigger than revitalizing run down urban warehouses and providing jobs to those who need a 2nd chance. While these are important and a part of our missions, a BHAG we have is to make an impact by getting food to the people it matters most.
Last week, Petie Kinder, Downtown Campus Pastor, Traders Point Christian Church shared some recent statistics that align with my heart and Farm 360’s mission. Petie states:
“According to the POLIS Center at IUPUI, about 15 percent of people in America live at or below the federally defined poverty line. For children, it’s 20 percent nationally. However, in Indianapolis the issue over poverty is well above those national figures. Indianapolis records a general poverty rate of 22 percent and a child poverty rate of 33 percent, both significantly higher than the national average.”
Now, for those of you who’ve had any associating with “poverty” you recognize that it’s much more than wealth and riches. If fact, some of the wealthiest people in the world are walking around daily in “spiritual poverty”; however, these stats represent people that don’t necessarily know where there next meal will come. Beyond that, I’d open up a huge Pandora box if we were to get into the entire topic of “healthy” food for which I’ll hold for future post.
So, church, the rest of this blog is for you to wrestle a bit somewhat the way I’ve been wrestling the past couple months. Today, I’m sharing a sermon by Tim Keller which Petie also shared with me. It’s actually about 45 minutes in length and I highly encourage you to take the time to watch it.
A key passage Keller references in this sermon is Mathew 25: 31-46 which reads as follows:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Keller actually makes a pretty strong argument that it’s not an option for you and I to sit back and watch 22%/33% poverty rates. While I’m not intending to enter into a theological interpretation of this passage, I would say that it, as well as others in scripture, are clear that we are to care for the “widows, orphans, and impoverished” in our communities. Again, set some time aside, watch this video, and wrestle a bit with this topic. More specifically, ask God what He’d have you do (or continue to do) to support the cause.
A final thought I’ll leave you with is the early church’s role when it came to food distribution. In Acts 6, we see that the disciples had become so busy caring for the people they needed to delegate distribution of food to other leaders in the community (eg. Stephen, Phillip). In this, we see that food distribution was a key part of the early church. To this point, even Malachi 3:10 which is used to emphasize the importance of the tithe states: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” (italics added) This once again emphasizing the role of the church in food distribution.
So, what does all this mean for Farm 360 and Chris? I’m not sure we know at this point. What I do know is we’re feeling God has great plans in store for our role in food distribution. If you have thoughts or God’s stirring the same in your hearts, I’d love to hear as we focus to “get the food to the people it matters most”.