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Feed My Sheep

 

Brenda DeLauder Columnist

  When Jesus said “Feed My sheep,” He did not say “with exceptions.” Overhearing a lady ranting about the misuse of food stamps, those words popped into my head. Feed my sheep. Granted Christ was talking about far more than food to eat, but food for our souls as well.

  I have a neighbor who helped out with a feed the hungry dinner every Thanksgiving. I remember talking with her last year and she told me how discouraged she was with volunteering there. While she struggled to pay her bills and keep her kids in clothes, she watched many arrive in fancy cars, wearing designer clothes, coming for a free meal. She just wasn’t sure she could do it again because of how weary she was of seeing the misuse.

  Sadly, without a doubt there are many who take advantage of every opportunity to get  handouts. Those who do this are literally taking away food from the truly hungry. Is it wrong? Absolutely. Yet should we stop feeding and caring for those who really need help in order to stop the greedy? I hope not.

  On a recent evening two teenage girls passed by a restaurant and stopped to savor the food aroma wafting outside. A friend walking by overheard one of them say, “Oh how I wish we had enough money to eat there!” At first my friend didn’t stop, but in a moment she backtracked to the girls who were still nearby. She asked them what they had for breakfast that morning and they told her “nothing.” With further questions, she learned it had been over a day since they last ate. At that point she herded them into the restaurant, where she handed a waiter enough cash to feed the two startled girls.

  A Christian organization I have donated to for years, screens their recipients, but no one leaves hungry. Their resources are limited, but they truly understand how to take “two fishes and five barley loaves” turning them into a meal to feed many. Their number one resource is God. Their faith of having enough comes from their strength in prayer. On a number of occasions when I have arrived with donations collected from our community or church, I have heard the words “right on time.” They knew Christ would send what was needed and I’m thankful the Lord chose me to help.

  I ran into my neighbor at the store the other day and I asked if she was going to participate again with the feeding of the hungry. She looked at me and smiled a smile which melted away any doubt. It seems in her frustration last year, she remembered to tell God about it. She went ahead and worked last Thanksgiving and again saw many who probably shouldn’t have been there for a free meal. But on her way across the crowded room, she happened by a woman and four small children. They were holding hands, bowing over their food. She heard the woman say, “Lord, thank You for every bite of food we have been given. Thank You for keeping my children and my nieces from being hungry today.” My neighbor felt the simple blessing she had overheard was God’s answer to her inquiring prayer. If only those five gained from the food provided, it was enough.

  It’s funny how in our acts of “feeding His sheep” we become “fed” as well. We are filled with a sense of peace and love for those we work to help. During this Thanksgiving, find ways to share food with both humans and critters in need. Giving is the best kind of receiving. Give thanks and praise His name!

 

  Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.

 

 

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