01 October 2016

Feeding The Hungry Goes Beyond Charity

Your first burrito is a gift, the second is found in the field waiting for you to gather its ingredients.

Have you heard or read the American proverb:
give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; 
      teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
It is attributed to, or may have its origin in, Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie's Mrs. Dymond (1885 A.D.).

What are your thoughts regarding this message?

Does it say to ignore someone's hunger or dismal situation and ask them to find food on their own?

I don't personally think so.

What is the message pointing out and asking, if anything?

The premise of this quotation is one of debate and argument in American culture, and perhaps has been since before its inception the world over.

Context is always crucial in assessing any quote's initial or primary aim.

Please take a look at the context from where the quote is derived in citation.

It may be argued that some individuals are absolutely incapable of feeding themselves now, and possibly forever, due to a handicap or some other debility.

Some modern societies have government programs in place to support individuals who qualify for assistance due to such handicaps and disabilities, either from an injury or deformity from birth.

Other places on earth have no such government-supported program in place; having to rely on family / friends for some help or support.

Have you ever heard or read about some individuals who, despite the opportunity of life-long assistance from government or family / friends, have instead put their hand to the plow physically speaking?

Read about a man who was born without arms or legs, yet such a defect from birth was not enough to hold him back from providing for himself and, eventually, a family of his own.

Of course, a qualifier for this man's example is the backdrop of a modern and developed society... and parents who did not allow what may have been perceived as a detriment to become a reason to not thrive... yet the example of perseverance, of a faithful and hopeful mind stands.

This man could have simply hid himself away at home and received a government check, or have his family care for him the rest of his natural life... but that was not his decision or the manner he was raised.

As the world's inhabitants become closer neighbors via social media and the sharing of information, the reasons for poverty and continued neediness begins to lessen.

The world's libraries are open and available for those who have internet access.

For some, it is easy to ask for money and help... and for those in desperate situations, there is no shame in asking for help.

But let us remind those who ask for help to also do their part in addressing their current situation and finding solutions where solutions exist.

Another quote from more ancient times, that you may or may not be familiar with, is:
Necessity is the mother of invention
This phrase finds attributed origin in Plato's Republic (380 B.C.).

What do you suppose this phrase's meaning and message is?

There is a balance to life.

We cannot sleep all day and every hour of our lives, but there is a time for sleep and rest.

So there is a time for work, a time for rest... allowing for a time of reflection and contemplation.

There is also a time to feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe the naked.

There is also a time to ask those already helped, who are capable and perhaps unwilling to do their part, to also get to work behind the plow as we've all been called to physically do:
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Yeshua Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 
- 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-13

The balance is to feed firstly, and secondly teach, not making dependents out of the needy, but encouraging, instilling hope and empowering the needy with the resources available to them... asking them to now do their part in forwarding God's charity to others.

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