Food Bank Epiphanies


The last two months I’ve been the recipient of some reasonably heavy lessons of understanding. I was just standing in line at the food pantry. I’m learning more here than in my Biblical Doctrine class my first year at Bible college. Amazing! But again, maybe not.

My 10 Commandments of the Food Pantry

  1. Jesus has a special connection to the poor among us.
  2. The needs are tremendous as many lack food. (This may be a new concept for some.)
  3. The Church has the mandate and potential to meet these needs.
  4. What the government does is often just confusing the real issues.
  5. The stigma in receiving food seems to be temporary.
  6. Understanding and wisdom are more important than the box of food.
  7. People will stand in line for a long time to help their families.
  8. Most people are nicer than they used to be by going to the food bank.
  9. Some people’s abundance should be given away.
  10. You can never have too many boxes to use to carry stuff (and avoid the milk.)

What is worked inside is far more than what we get standing in line. Many things can happen once humility and need does its work inside. There is a powerful comradeship that can develop. Strangers become friendly when they are in line. There is a kind of a mutual understanding that proceeds out of poverty, and takes root, and spreads.

I honestly believe the distribution of food is only the secondary benefit. I really think the spiritual work is the new found work done in people’s hearts. There should be a dignity that saturates this work.

The Church Leader’s Ten Quotes on Giving

  1. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.   Amy Carmichael
  2. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.  C.S. Lewis
  3. The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.   Corrie Ten Boom
  4. Get all you can, save all you can and give all you can.   John Wesley
  5. Christian giving is to be marked by self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness, not by self-congratulation.   John Stott
  6. God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep.   Randy Alcorn
  7. Our giving is but a reflex of God’s giving.  Sam Storms
  8. God made all of His creation to give. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants to give. He also designed His supreme creation, man, to give. But fallen man is the most reluctant giver in all of God’s creation.   John MacArthur
  9. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.   C.S. Lewis
  10. I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.   David Livingstone


The Joy of Cooking, (Christian Edition)

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” 

James 2:17

Recipes are good.  I used to sit and read “The Joy of Cooking,” reading it like it was a literary novel.  I was quite fond about the simple way it divided everything up.  You had sections on Meats, and Desserts, and even Drinks.  And every so often it would insert a cooking tip.  Sometimes, I would start to smell that recipe I was thinking about.

I have never told anybody about this odd preference of reading material.  The really funny part is, I’ve read how to poach an egg, but I have never done it.  As a matter of fact, I don’t cook.  Hardly ever.  You see I have saturated myself in reading cookbooks, but that doesn’t make me a cook.  Only cooking makes me a cook.

We keep getting it messed up.  We seem to put the wrong stress on things.  We attribute value to things that we shouldn’t.  I happen to think that “faith” is a verb.  I also think that reading the Bible should activate us, and not to educate us. 

Often, I treat it like a cookbook.  I read and read, voraciously mind you.  But I don’t cook!  I have never put a single recipe to the test.  I have read about terrific “Eggs Benedict” on page 222, or the luscious sounding “Grandmas Tasty Cherry Pie” on page 651. But it’s only filed away somewhere in my mind; I have never moved beyond this point.

Being spiritual isn’t how much you know, but what you do.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:  we must realize that Scripture is first for our hearts, and not so much for our heads.  Cookbooks are good, but when it all shakes out, are you actually and really, cooking? Or are you just reading?