If Jesus was to talk with an American Christian about feeding the poor, here is how I envision the dialog going:
Jesus: Feed the hungry.
American Christian: WOW, that’s a very loaded statement! What do you mean exactly by feed the hungry? Are you talking about feeding people in a physical sense, or a spiritual sense? Can we see feed, and remember I am using your word here, as a metaphorical expression of a deeper need, or a connective reality that expresses a deeper cosmic meaning?
I mean, I’m hearing you, but I have to admit that I am uncomfortable with the term hungry – keep in mind, I am also wrestling with your use of the term ‘feed’ as well – but let me ask some questions on this idea of hungry. When you say hungry, do you mean people who are hungry for your word? I mean, if you look at it that way the world is filled with people hungry for your word – so, do you mean we should share your message, as we see it of course, with others?
I have to admit, I am dancing here. I get that feed the hungry thing, but are you suggesting we just give them food? I mean, they should work for it, right? No handouts, not just giving away food, right? I mean, you are not suggesting we just give a handout, are you? I am of the mind that we are supposed to teach people to fish, and not just give them fish, besides, there is not enough fish to feed all the people in need. That would be silly, and it would never teach people to be responsible workers. If we just gave away food, people would never get a job; they would simply desire to live in the handouts. So, people like me who are responsible, hard working people would have to care for them and that is not fare to us, right? Come on, you could never mean that the government should making sure people eat, right?
OK, it looks like we are getting nowhere. You refuse to address my concerns or answer my questions. Are you telling me I HAVE to feed the hungry, or are you suggesting I feed the hungry in a metaphorical way? Because if you are telling me I have to, well all I can say is that I’m not called by the spirit to feed the hungry. My gifts are more in line with church administration. If you’re telling me that I have to feed the hungry, but God did not create me to do that – I have to wonder of your request of me is from God, or from some personal agenda.
Jesus: Feed the hungry.