Today is World Food Day.
I've been looking forward to this day for months, partly because Good Steward Campaign has multiple events going on today (big shout outs to Hollins College and Wake Forest School of Divinity!) and partly because we've been working with amazing organizations like Oxfam and the National Association of Evangelicals who are passionate about alleviating global hunger. Today, our work is paying off.
But each time I think about World Food Day as a "holiday," I am jolted back to reality. After all, the reason it exists is because there are an estimated 842 million hungry people on the planet. Can you even fathom that number? 842 million people is more than twice the population of the United States. 842 million people cannot sufficiently feed themselves. They cannot fill their belly with nutritious food. They cannot go to sleep without a rumbling stomach.
And in this way, World Food Day is a day of great tension. Participants stand in an uncomfortable space, demarcated on one side by the abundance of food and resources in the typical American home and on the other by 842 million hungry people.
Admittedly, this day of awareness (not holiday!) may draw criticism from skeptics. Some will ask, "What is this all really doinggg?" But I have an answer for the Doubting Thomases. Actually I have two. First, changing action requires changing hearts. Likewise, changing policy requires changing votes. It all starts with a meal. Second, these participants are standing in a place of tension and they are standing there willingly. They are standing there because their faith calls them to do good works. As Matthew 25:35 says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."
Today, families, schools, and churches around the world are participating in World Food Day meals. They're using place mats and discussion guides developed by Oxfam and the National Association of Evangelicals. Some are families are preparing the traditional meals using recipes from other countries. Others are eating simply, that is, less indulgent than normal.
Furthermore, they're praying and they're giving thanks. And maybe, just maybe, they're changing the way they eat.
For all who are participating in World Food Day, we thank you.
P.S. -- Check out this amazing story in the Associated Baptist Press about food and faith! Hint, Good Steward Campaign makes an appearance!