Saturday, December 10, 2011

Church Gatherings Fight Hunger

When the church gathers together, one of the main purposes is to eat together.

Acts 20:7 provides us with one of the clearest purpose statements for a church gathering in scripture. Luke writes, "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight." Notice that the church got together "to break bread."

Numerous benefits come from eating together. One that we don't often think about is that the Lord's Supper provides everyone with a significant meal. It is a spiritual meal, but at the same time it is a real meal. The body gets to eat. This fights hunger.

Paul was greatly concerned that the Corinthian church was abusing the Lord's Supper. The apostle wrote in 11:20-21, "When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk." One of Paul's main frustrations was that some were going hungry.

We live in a country of plenty. Most of us rarely think abut truly feeling hungry. When our family had the privilege of living in India for a few months I was confronted for the first time with real poverty. We saw many people who, based on their ultra-thin appearance, usually had little to eat.

God is the provider of food for his people. When the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness for forty years God provided manna and quail for them to eat. He then sent his son, Jesus Christ, to save us and feed us spiritually. Christ is in every way the bread of life. We read the following in John 6:32-35:

 "Jesus then said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' They said to him, 'Sir, give us this bread always.' Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'" 

God provides his church to one another for both spiritual and physical care. We feed on Christ together. We feed one another. Part of this is literally feeding each other. For some poor Christians around the globe the best meals they may get are the ones they take part in at church gatherings. I'm sure everyone tries to bring some food, but the wealthier would and should bring more.

When the church eats, people get fed. This fights hunger. We shouldn't discount the significance of this. Jesus took time to feed the 5000 and 4000. We must care for the well-being of others, too. We can relatively easily do this by eating a meal when we gather.

Tomorrow we'll be gathering with our church family.  The theme is Italian.  I can't wait.

No comments: