Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Third

I came across an alarming statistic the other day: The average household throws away one third of all the food they buy. This is a UK statistic but I imagine it’s the same, if not worse, here in North America. Whether scraped off our plates and into the garbage after dinner or tossed out from the fridge because it expired before we had a chance to eat it, a third of the food we put in our grocery carts will never see the inside of our stomachs (taken from The Poverty and Justice Bible).

Alarming in a whole other way are the statistics that keep coming at us in the news these days: 11 million people starving for lack of food in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, 2 million of whom are children under the age of five. It’s hard enough to wrap your mind around on its own but put together with the statistic above, it’s simply incomprehensible. One third of the food we buy ends up in the garbage. Meanwhile, 16 thousand children die every day of starvation (not including all the adults suffering from the same fate). To say it is sobering is an understatement indeed.

Certainly this was never part of God’s plan. In the Old Testament, God gave specific laws in order to insure that the poor were taken care of and that no one went hungry: “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10) God knew that economic equality would never exist, there will always be those who are rich and those who are poor, but He made sure that no one would ever have to go hungry.

As I was reminded of these verses I prayed about how we could apply them to our lives today. The reality is, most of us are not farmers and even those of you who are, I doubt you have impoverished foreigners wandering through your fields after your harvest. Still, the principle remains the same. God has given us a surplus not so we can hoard it for ourselves (and then throw it out once it becomes rotten) but so that we can take what we need and use the rest to provide for the needs for others. I don’t know what this will look like in your life, I’m still praying about what it will look like in mine. All I know is that God’s heart for the poor has not changed over the past three thousand years and if I want my heart to match up with His, then my habits, my mindset, my lifestyle need to change.

2 comments:

Kylee said...

Andrea,
I am new to your blog tonight and am trying to read a little bit of it in between studying for a test I have tomorrow. I'm 18 (just graduated from high school) and big sister to four adopted kids. My family was a foster family for ten years and through the Lord's graciousness ended up adopting 4 kids, most recently two little girls whom became legally ours last fall. He has taken me through some pretty rough places on this foster/adoption journey and my faith has been tested in so many ways.
Through my experiences and seeing the kids that have come through the foster care system, the Lord has broken my heart for His children. I have a huge heart for foster kids and orphans and am so, so excited to see what the Lord has for me. I'm headed off to college to pursue a degree in Social Work, but am unsure of where He will lead me.
All that to say, it is incredible for me to find you, a lady who gave up all of your comforts to go serve the Lord and these sweet children. The faith that takes is so inspiring to me!
As I said, I haven't read very much here, but I look forward to reading and getting to "know" you more!

I hope you are having a WONDERFUL week enjoying the goodness of our Lord!

Amanda said...

I think about this all the time! I really is hard not to with kids who don't want to finish what is on their plate. If I was brave enough I would "freecycle", but I don't have that much courage. If you have any tips on how to help this problem, let me know.