“In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.” ~ Woodrow Wilson
The people who have soup kitchen ministries know that those who come to them are not inclined to hear the Word of God or any other word, for that matter, until their very basic need is met. That basic need is food. A hungry person, a starving person, cannot focus on anything other than where and when the next meal might come. Once fed, that person is more amenable to hear the message that a provider has to give.
When we pray the Our Father, we first ask for our daily bread. We ask God to supply our basic need before anything else. When the people were being led by Moses across the desert, Moses went to God on the mountain and told God that the people were grumbling because they had nothing to eat. They were not listening to Moses’ instructions because the pain in their empty bellies was preventing them from paying attention. In response, God gave the people manna to eat.
There are times that people go out to minister to others. They attempt to bring the Word of God to the poor and the needy but they forget that those poor and needy are not able to listen as they should because hunger, cold, and deprivation are consuming their lives. If we are to bring the Word to them, we need to begin with the basics: food, water, shelter.
Don’t jump too many steps ahead of yourself. When you see someone in need, provide for the need first. Then you can share with them the message you have to give. Once their basic needs have been met, they will be in a better position to hear you.
FAITH ACTION: At the very least, pray for the poor and the needy, that they be provided for. If you are in the position to help, please do so with a generous spirit.