I want to talk to you from Matthew 25:35-36 and it’s where Jesus talks about us looking after people as a practical part of the gospel of Christ.
It’s so important that we are obedient to God in all that we seek to do. Obedience to God brings about great reward! Of course our greatest reward is our salvation, when we come to know the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. He accepts us into his family and guarantees us eternal life.
In this particular passage as he is talking to His Church, He said one of the things you need to be doing to really be servants of mine, is to feed the hungry.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
I’m talking to you about practical Christianity and you might say to me,
“HOW do we feed the hungry? What do we really do?”
Well, let me tell you that in our church, we wondered.
We were very fortunate that we came across a farmer who said he wanted to give us his “Ruth’s gleanings”. So we began to collect from him cauliflowers and carrots and cabbages and we would give them to people we knew were having difficulty with managing their funds and having enough food in the larder. Since then we have grown! We’ve opened a Foodbank, first we opened it for a day, then two days.
Then one of the bakers in our town, a man called Latham who had 5 shops and baked some of the best bread in town said he was willing to give us whatever was left at 4pm to feed the poor of our town. So we bought an old rickety van and began to collect bread from Latham’s (and cakes and pies!) I can remember driving that van sometimes and the smell of his meat pies made me so hungry I could have eaten them myself! But we took them down to our church and in the hall there we began to feed people.
Gradually over the last 6 years we are now feeding around 350 people every week, we are open every night and we are doing the work that Jesus has called us to. Now the wonderful thing about this to us, is that we offer them coffee before we give them food, so they will come in about 4pm and we don’t feed them until 5.30pm. We have people that will come in and talk to them about their needs and their problems, their doubts, their fears and their anxieties and seek to win them for the Lord Jesus. With the current limitations due to COVID-19 we have increased to feeding 450 a week, up to 100 deliveries and we are able to meet more needs of the people in isolation or quarantine. At the end of the day, really serving the Lord Jesus is so important to us and this is one of the ways we can serve him.
If you don’t have a Foodbank, think about how you can have one and let’s serve the Lord Jesus by preaching the gospel by doing something that is practical.
Pastor Pete Cunningham