We have prioritized our comforts over the needs of the world around us, and we need to repent. ~ David Platt
Second century Christians practiced a unique and sacrificial form of charity. They would fast and give the unconsumed food and resources to the poor and hungry. This is mentioned in The Shepherd of Hermas:*
Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord.
The first time I had ever heard of such a practice was in 2008. Pastor Experito explained to me that his church fasts every Wednesday and Friday (eating NOTHING) so that they could give the food they would have eaten to those who have less than they. Wondering how many people actually did that, I asked what percentage of his church participated. The answer: 100%–unless an individual happens to be traveling or out of town. Now that’s a radical church.
I don’t have a picture of Experito’s church members, but I do have a picture the building where they meet:
I’m thinking these people don’t have much, but they know how to give.
And I got to thinking, how could I eat differently so that others might have food? These are our neighbors who live on less than $2/a day. That means at the very most, their grocery bill could be $60/ month.
What if we ate bread and water one day a week? Or what if we went even further and chopped our grocery budget in half? Would we be hungry? No. Suffer? Probably not. Be a little uncomfortable? Maybe. We have prioritized our comforts over the needs of the world around us and we need to repent. To repent is defined as: to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better. When we repent, we change. What is God asking us to change this week? Where do we need to repent? What comfort can I give up so that Daniel can have food?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
*Red Letters~ Tom Davis