Updated: Aug 29, 2019
The following guest post is part of our series on Faith & Hunger contributed by Deon Parker, Senior Pastor at Life on Lexington, in High Point, North Carolina. Second Harvest’s Faith & Hunger series is looking at how we as a community should address hunger from a variety of faith perspectives.
Deon Parker is a Christian, married his wife Julie in 2001 and has five children. He is a 2004 graduate of Piedmont Baptist College (now Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, NC). Since graduating college, Deon has served as a middle school and high school teacher, a middle school and high school basketball coach, a high school and collegiate basketball team chaplain, a collegiate baseball team chaplain, a rescue mission chaplain, a sports league director, a speaker at various middle schools, high schools, college campuses, and jails, a music leader, and a pastor.
Life on Lexington is a part of Second Harvest Food Bank’s 18 county partner network.
We (the human race) are creatures of need. Prior to our conception, we were dependent on God (the Creator of humanity) to green light our existence. And from the moment of our conception, we were dependent on God, and our biological mothers to provide what we need to steadily grow in their wombs, and be birthed safely into this world. But our neediness did not end at birth…it continued. One of the things that made all of us cry out repeatedly and instinctively as infants, was hunger. Hungry infants experience temporary crises, because the only way they can be fed, is if someone has compassion for their need, and has the means to provide their need.
Thank God, for the countless crises He has averted in all of our lives, by giving us the meals we needed, when we were incapable of doing anything to meet our needs independently. We were nourished through our infant years, because someone (or several people) cared enough to advocate for our nourishment. Did you know that we will all return to some of the desperation we once experienced as infants? As infants, we all needed help getting around. And one day, we will all need that help again. As infants, we all needed someone to bathe and clothe us. And one day, we will all need that help again. As infants, we all needed someone to provide food for us. And one day, we will all need that help again.
Some of us, experience the resurgence of these needs sooner than others. Which brings me to the point that some of us have never graduated from a place of desperation when it comes to being adequately nourished. Some of us have experienced circumstances that have led to us (and our loved ones) being undernourished for an extended amount of time. This difficult circumstance is often referred to as food insecurity.
Pastor Parker and his family.
Could you imagine being in a state of breathing insecurity or seeing insecurity? There is no doubt that these insecurities would send you racing to your nearest pulmonologist (lung doctor) or optometrist (eye doctor) for help. You see, we wouldn’t just shrug our shoulders at these insecurities. We would cry out for help, with the hope of our breathing capacity, and seeing capacity improving. This is where people who are experiencing food insecurity find themselves…in need, and in search of compassionate advocacy. But are there enough people out there who are willing to be compassionate advocates? And if so, where could these people get their hands on enough food to make a difference in the lives of needy people?
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) came to earth, in part, to answer this question. In Matthew 14 (repeated in Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6) and again in Matthew 15 (repeated in Mark 8) of the Christian Bible (the words of God), we learn that Jesus was surrounded by thousands of hungry people, and He miraculously, compassionately advocated for their needs. Jesus miraculously turned a small amount of food into more than enough food for everyone to be adequately fed. So, to repeat my question above (Where could compassionate people get their hands on enough food to make a difference in the lives of needy people?), the answer is God. God provides (Philippians 4:19), because God is aware, God cares, and God is willing and able to provide for all our genuine needs.
Volunteers for Life on Lexington’s Food Distribution Ministry, here at their 2nd anniversary.
God is the ultimate advocate of all humanity’s needs. If you are skeptical about God providing food for needy people in modern times, I would like to share an example of where I have witnessed this happen, time and time again. Since September 2015, my Church family (Life on Lexington Church in High Point, NC) has partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank (of Northwest North Carolina), a partnership that was formed with the help of the Greater High Point Food Alliance (of High Point, NC). This partnership has led to over 30 weekly volunteers (from our Church and our community) distributing over $2 million worth of high-quality food to over 4,000 different needy people, from over 40 different zip codes.
How did this happen? The shortest and most accurate answer is God did it. God provided. And God is still providing. Is the God-authored provision taking place at our Church the ultimate solution to food insecurity in the world, in America, in North Carolina, in Guilford County, or in High Point, NC? Of course, not. We realize that we are just a small part of a bridge that is being built toward an ultimate solution.
We are honored to be playing a part in alleviating a portion of hardship that some people are facing. Jesus warned that there would always be needy people in our society (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7), not to encourage our apathy, but to help give us perspective. God wants humanity to prioritize our relationships with Him first (Matthew 22:37; Matthew 12:30), and then He wants us to prioritize relating well to each other (Matthew 22:38; Mark 12:31; Galatians 6:9-10). Have I and the members of my Church arrived at perfection in these areas? No. But by God’s limitless power and wisdom, we are moving in the right direction. God is on the move, all around the world, at this time in human history.
My goal is to be a faithful part of His movement, which includes interceding for needy people. What an honor it is to contribute to the betterment of humanity. It is a privilege to be a piece of God’s pie of provision on earth.