CROP Walk for Hunger Relief

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  November 2, 2013

            “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” This old saying contains a lot of relevant truth—particularly in regard to how we address the problems of hunger and malnutrition in our world.
            At the heart of this simple statement is the fundamental reality that fostering dependence on handouts does not empower individuals to rise out of poverty and become self-sufficient. Yet, taken as an absolute, this statement actually promotes an evil that the Church must always face.
            Teaching one to fish may seem like the right thing to do when compared to teaching one only to depend on handouts, but when the lake is polluted and the fish toxic, the road to the river is laden with landmines, or the overpopulation of the region has decimated the supply of fish, simply teaching to fish and trusting that one will eat for a lifetime becomes a cruel death sentence.
            Given the modern economic times and all the political bantering about how to best invest limited resources, there is good cause to rethink the Christian approach to hunger in Carlsbad and across the globe.  The challenges are great, but so are the opportunities to make a genuine difference.
            In Matthew 26:11, Jesus tells the disciples that the poor will always be with us. Unfortunately, some Christians have interpreted this statement to mean that concern for the poor is secondary to our service to Jesus Christ.  Such a claim, however only deepens the visceral division between rich and poor and worsens the bitter consequences of a world fraught with rampant inequality.
            Addressing matters of poverty in our world must take into consideration several aspects of this pervasive human condition—a reality borne in sin that undermines our shared identity as created in the image of God.
            First, when hunger exists and malnutrition is destroying lives, Christians have an obligation to care for those in need. We may debate the effectiveness of governmental assistance programs, private charities, and church-sponsored hunger programs all we want. Clearly, there are valid arguments across the spectrum. Yet, let us not forget that arguing over causes and solutions to hunger does not feed anyone. As Christians, we must move from debating the issue to feeding hungry people.
            Second, systems that foster and promote inequality must be addressed. When cultural, political, or physical barriers to equality make it impossible for a hard-working, dedicated person to develop some degree of financial independence, it is sin and must be addressed.
            Third, systems need to be put in place that provide education and infrastructure to promote financial and nutritional independence. This includes systems to provide clean water, sustainable agriculture, responsible resource management, and dependable transportation systems so that people can have access to the food they need.
            You can make a difference today. Several local congregations are gathering at 10:00 this morning at the Carlsbad Beach for a fundraising walk to address hunger and promote awareness. Please support the walk by donating, walking, or praying. It is the work of the Church!