By Brandon Lemons
I am currently reading through Galatians, and a few days ago I came across a verse that caught my attention. It is at the end of the apostle Paul’s account of his meeting with established Christian leaders to compare notes about the Gospel. After agreeing on Paul taking the Gospel to Gentiles, Galatians 2:10 says, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.”
The thing that struck me is how this verse feels out of place. They’re discussing serious theological matters. Then the Christian leaders tell Paul to make sure he doesn’t neglect those who are poor, and Paul affirms that this was already high on his priority list. And it’s a big enough deal that Paul felt compelled to include it in his letter to the Galatians! This practical concern for the poor can feel incongruent, especially in a letter that focuses on theology. What it shows, however, is that our relationship with God is closely connected to our relationship with people (see Matthew 22:37-40). It also continues a consistent theme throughout Scripture of caring for those who are in need (see Deuteronomy 15:11; Proverbs 22:9; Isaiah 58; Luke 4:18-19; James 2:14-17; 1 John 3:17).
Living in Ozaukee County, we probably don’t see poverty to the same degree that we might in other locales. Yet there are still people around us who have major material needs – including for food. For many years, Friedens has supported the Port Washington Food Pantry in various ways. In fact, there is always a collection bin for the Food Pantry in Friedens’ Fellowship Hall.
In recent months, the Port Washington Food Pantry has been running incredibly low on food. Perhaps you have seen photos in the newspaper of their bare shelves. The number of donations has plummeted – attributed in part to inflation. This has a detrimental impact on people in our community, and even on those in our church who are served by the food pantry. It’s an impact we can easily ignore if we have plentiful food. But if we are to be people who are not merely hearers of the Word but doers (James 1:22), it is important that when we see a need that we have the ability to help meet, that we take steps to try to meet it.
An easy way to help meet a practical need is by donating to the Food Pantry. It’s part of “seeking the welfare [shalom] of the city” where we live (Jeremiah 29:7) and “remembering the poor” (Galatians 2:10), which honors Christ.
With all of this in mind, Friedens is increasing our emphasis on donating to the Food Pantry for (at least) the next couple of months. As you’re shopping for groceries, please give strong consideration to purchasing a few extra cans of food (or even an extra bag or two of food) that you can put in the collection bin in Fellowship Hall for the Food Pantry!