Yesterday, I was out at my mother in law’s house spending time with her wild and crazy lovable Bassador named Lucy. She has satellite tv so I looked for something to watch and found “Seventh Heaven.” Yeah, cheesy. I know. But I watched it anyways. It was one of those special episodes about serious topics: this one had to do with hunger. I don’t tend to cry over a tv show very often but this one did it.
In a country where we have vast resources and more than enough food to feed the entire world if need be, people who live here lay in bed and worry how they’re going to feed their kids the next day. This should not be the case. I know the old Protestant work ethic says
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
But does that give us an excuse to write off all the poor and needy, and even those who are working as hard as they can and just don’t make enough money to buy food after they’ve paid for their living space and utilities? No. I suspect that most people who are trying to feed their families aren’t lazy; they are hard working and just don’t make enough money because wages have not kept up with inflation.
Too many people stop at verse 10 in this passage and think to themselves “that person doesn’t work so they shouldn’t eat.” They never read the following verse which puts this one into context. It has noting to do with people who can’t work and it has nothing to do with poor people. It has everything to do with this:
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. (v.11) NKJV
The ones who shouldn’t eat aren’t the poor. They’re not the over worked and under paid. They’re the people who refuse to work when they’re able to, who would rather spend their time living and acting in a disorderly manner, rather than working a job. They are into everyone else’s business: they are busybodies. We have to read Scripture in context brothers and sisters. If we don’t do this, one could make the Bible say “Judas hung himself…go and do likewise.” That wouldn’t be good.
Not only should we not misinterpret this passage but we should interpret this one correctly as it is very clear:
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;… (Matthew 25:41,42 a) NKJV
Jesus was saying that he was hungry and those on his left did not feed him; elsewhere in Scripture he extends this to all people. If we see someone who is hungry and don’t feed him, we have denied the faith, and we have sinned against God.
It is time we put aside our self righteous indignation at those we feel “are lazy” and do what the Lord says: feed the hungry. If we do, we are honoring God.