Pastor Mike Neu
St John’s Lutheran Church, Los Banos

Too often, some of us dismiss the reports of hunger in America as overblown bleeding-heart blathering. No one we know is hungry. No one in our circle of acquaintances is lacking nourishment.

However, there is hunger in America. There are those who are underfed in the vicinity of Los Banos. That is why programs, like the Rotary Club’s Feed the Need, funded in part by St. John’s Food Bank offering, are important.

Weekly, Feed the Need assembles bags of food for families whose names were provided by the staff at two elementary schools. Joe and Shelly May of Rotary and St. John’s own Cindy Puccinelli prepares the bags then delivers them to the two schools for distribution.

The Psalmist, in Psalm 146, tells us not to put our “trust in princes.”

The Psalm reads, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob […] who give food to the hungry.” God works through men, however. The children of God are the vehicle through which God often provides.

In chapter 25 of the book of Matthew, Jesus describes the day of final judgement, after all have been separated to the right and left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-35 ESV)

When the righteous responded in puzzlement as to when they did these things, the King responds “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40 ESV)

Then the King tells those to his left to depart, cursed to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for they did not care for the least and in doing so had treated him similarly.

This is not to say your good works will save you. It is those who truly have faith and have allowed God to guide their actions that display that love through their works. In the second chapter of the Epistle of James, he asks “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works?” (James 2:14 ESV)

It is similar to the admonishment Jesus gave his disciples regarding the Pharisees, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you – but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” (Matthew 23:2 ESV)

It is our Christian duty to feed those in need. One step you can take is participate in the Empty Bowls event at the Ted Falasco Art Center on Feb. 23. Proceeds raise funds for food programs locally, including Feed the Need. It’s just one way you can help the least of God’s children.

Tickets are available through any Rotary member or contact Gene Lieb at 209-704-3831.

St. John’s Lutheran Church holds worship service at 9 am each Sunday, followed by a fellowship time and Sunday School for adults and youth. The Christian Preschool for fully potty-trained student 3-4 years old currently has openings. Classes run until end of May. Call 209-826-2474 for more information.

The Westside Express