“It’s not fair! They’re getting more than we are.”
“Things are tough enough as it is. How come they’re being favored?”
“What’s the difference between us? Only our language!”
Comments like these were apparently flying around in the daily food line organized by the burgeoning early church for their growing membership. We read in Acts: “Some of the ones who spoke Greek started complaining about the ones who spoke Aramaic. They complained that the Greek-speaking widows were not given their share when the food supplies were handed out each day.”1
Life often doesn’t seem fair. About 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, many of whom are children,2 while almost one-third of all food purchased in some developed nations is thrown away.3 At the top end of the scale, there are celebrity chefs cooking sumptuous feasts for the rich and famous. It can easily set you back hundreds of pounds to dine in a top London restaurant, yet Britain has also seen a rise in hunger.4 Hundreds of food banks, often organized by faith-based organizations, provide millions of meals every year to prevent parents and children going to bed hungry. It seems incongruous to witness this type of food poverty in the seventh-richest country in the world, but of course, this isn’t only in the United Kingdom. Unequal distribution of resources is a global problem.
So, no, life often isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible to do our part to change our world. Let’s look back to the new believers and the unequal distribution of resources. Things weren’t just left to stand: the apostles recognized there was a problem, appointed some competent organizers, prayed for their wisdom, and left them to sort out the matter.5 The result: “God’s message continued to spread,”6 and there is no further mention of strife around food.
Few of us are in positions of political power such that we can make a radical difference in the organization of our country, much less the world, but we are all in a position to do something, like the Good Samaritan—one individual helping one other individual. That’s all it takes: one parcel of food, one bucket of rice,7 one donation, one offer of a meal to a lonely neighbor. Any action that results in even one less person going to bed hungry is progress.
- Acts 6:1 CEV
- See http://www.stophungernow.org/hunger-facts.
- See http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts.
- See http://www.trusselltrust.org/resources/documents/foodbank/6323_Below_the_Breadline_web.pdf.
- See Acts 6:2–6.
- Acts 6:7 NLT
- See https://www.facebook.com/ricebucketchallenge.