The faces were not so different. And all were hungry. Stomachs were roaring as students shuffled into their seats. Information at Ozone the previous week had stated that the following club would be the World Dinner. Expecting to sample various cuisines from all over the globe, students did not eat before they left home.
They listened as statistics of wealth and poverty were shared. The World Health Organization estimate that one-third of the world’s population is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and the remaining third is starving. Billions of people struggle to live on a single dollar a day – less than three hundred sixty-five dollars a year. Flashes of hungry children flashed across the screen – hungry, barefoot children.
More statistics are rattled off and more pictures of poverty reveal the truth to the students seated in hard plastic chairs. But what does this have to do with them? They can simply walk into the kitchen as soon as their stomach begins to complain, and they are satisfied. The Burger King on the corner. Take a left on the next road to get to McDonalds. Turn right now for Taco Bell. How can mere words convince students from NWA that “we will always have the poor among us?” It is time for a little demonstration that the Ozone staff has quite literally cooked up.
Squares of paper were distributed, and defined by the color of their square, students were placed into three different economic classes. Finally, they thought, as they hungrily strolled to their different sections, separated.
Tables dressed in white cloth and crowned with rose centerpieces were a distinct difference between the dreary gray tables of the middle class, and a greater contrast still to those that sat on the floor. There was a marked distinction between the wealthy and the poor. Steaks and potatoes littered the plates of the wealthy. Cups were emptied and refilled. Fingers were licked. Many bellies were full, and some considered sharing their leftovers. One actually crossed over and fed the hungry.
|"Middle Class" Seating|
|Rice served from another location for lowest class|
Hunger became real. And only one attempted to help. As the night progressed, students became aware of the problem of hunger throughout the world. For one night they had suffered it. Jesus told his disciples to sell everything they owned and give it to the poor, and then they were to follow him. Students were presented with the stark truth, Christians must provide for the poor. And since many middle school and high school students do not have piles of cash, they were encouraged to start small: fore-go a snack in the vending machine or hamburger after school and use that money for the good of those in need.
Do not go it alone. Students were encouraged to seek an older man or woman of God to meet with them and train them in Scripture and the knowledge of Christ. Let these boys and girls be instructed by those that have gone before them so that they might become men and women who love Jesus.
Christians have been given the command:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” **Matthew 28:18-20
For after they have been discipled and grown, they too might go out and train up others. For after they have been discipled, their hearts will be steeled for the things of Christ. For after they have been discipled, they will feed the hungry.
15 million children die of hunger every year. Imagine a year in which an individual sacrificed hamburgers and fries to feed the hungry. Would 15 million less children die every year? The students of NWA are capable, but they must be willing. Perhaps students were uncomfortable using their hand to eat. Maybe they did not leave full. It’s possible they felt awkward about the idea of meeting with an older person to learn about Christ. Jesus did not try to breed comfort. Will they be willing not to have a place to rest their head? Pictures of starvation, statistics of poverty, and the encouragement of leaders cannot influence them to make drastic changes in the lives of others. Jesus must be the reason they feed the hungry. The World Dinner presented the truth with the hope of seeing students grab hold of that truth and go out into the world. Let them live the truth.