the weblog of Alan Knox

What surprises me…

Posted by on Feb 4, 2011 in personal, service | 7 comments

What surprises me…

Earlier today, I published a post called “Why are they surprised?” This post is actually a follow up to that post.

You see, not only were the people that I talked with surprised (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please click the link above and read the previous post), but there were a couple of things that surprised me as well.

First, I’ve lived in this area for over eight years. I’ve lived in this same small town for almost five years. But, until last year, I had never heard of this food pantry. Until a few months ago, I did not know the extent of the work done through this food pantry. I did not know that 300+ families came to this church building every other week looking for help.

This surprises me. Another brother who was with me said the same thing. He had never heard of this food pantry until I told him about it a few weeks ago. We talked to the lady who organizes the food pantry. We’re trying to get the word out.

But, something else surprises me – although it is somewhat related to the first thing. With over 300 families coming by this church building every other week, why are there so few Christians involved? Now, like I said above, I’m sure that many Christians in this area are like me and my friend in that they have never heard of the food pantry.

But, the church that hosts the food pantry is one of the largest churches in the Raleigh area with thousands of members. Plus, many of the members of that church attend a local seminary which boasts over 2000 students (one of the largest seminaries in the country). So, again, where are all the Christians willing to give up a few hours every other week to serve those in their community who are in need?

In fact, the food pantry makes it easy for these Christians. The needy people are coming to them!

This surprises me, too.

My friends who are organizing the food pantry have helped me with the first “surprise.” I hope that my exhortations and the example of my family and friends help alleviate the second surprise.


7 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-4-2011

    ok, not to take away from the post, but when you posted the previous “surprise” post I thought “that guy in that picture looks a lot like Alan” and then you posted a picture of yourself doing the same thing! That’s funny!

    What you said about how easy it is when the needy are actually coming you to is so true, I mean, what excuse is left?

    Dan

  2. 2-4-2011

    none, not a single excuse..

    it is so hard to find willing helpers in the body.. (most talk real good… next week, next month, ill do… but sadly these have been ummm, untrue.

    i do appreciate all that I glean from you folks here.

    be blessed
    brother frankie

  3. 2-5-2011

    Dan and Frankie,

    I don’t know what excuses is left. I’m going to be asking people that very question.

  4. 2-11-2011

    Back in 2009 when things were toughest for us financially, I went to a local food bank supported by area churches and a ministry that Stacy and I have given to in the past in both financial gifts and clothing donations for their re-sale shop, to ask for some food and they turned me away without giving me any food. I did get a lecture from an old man about the car I drove and the clothing I was wearing and that if I got my financial house in order instead of spending my money on luxuries I would not have to scam local charities for food! My car is paid for, its not financed and its 5 years old, and my clothing is not extravagant and its paid for as well, we did not live above our means to buy these items. The downturn in the economy especially in my industry saw my income all but evaporate within a four month period. Stacy and I lived on our reserves that we had put away for just such an emergency and I did not go to a food pantry until we had depleted that fund near the end of 2009-we were really in need when I finally went to the food pantry. :)

    I just thanked the man for his advice, walked away knowning that God would take care of us like He always has and completely re-thought the issue of giving and the organizations I have given to in the past. :)

    What an interesting “thing” and “religion” that Christianity has become. :)

  5. 2-12-2011

    Hutch,

    Like your experience at the food bank, it is an interesting eye opener to not shave or bathe for a few days, fast for at least the last day, and then go and eat for a day at a shelter, and hang out with the folks who are there between meals. (Most likely, one of the folks eating there will befriend you and have you join them in their rounds, or connect you with where to go between meals–or for the “best” meals.)

    I’ve done the same thing at day laborer places, preparing as above and going to a warehouse or garage at 5:30 AM and sitting there through most of the day with others looking for a few hours of work. Gives you additional insights into life at the fringe. Dress in clothes worn a few days (not dirty, just not fresh) and with several layers if it is cold. Park a few blocks away and walk there.

    You get a whole new perspective on ministry among the poor and those in need from their side of the fence.

  6. 2-12-2011

    Hi Art-

    I bet that would be an eye opening experience. Although I have done volunteer work at one of Houston’s largest homeless shelter and have “discipled” ( what I thought was discipleship at the time :) ) a few men who were coming off the streets and out of incarceration at the last institutional church that I attended, I have never lived amongst those on the streets to experience what it is like. Although I have been very poor in the past, I have never been homeless.

    The experience I had at the “food bank” and the conversation/rebuke I received from the clueless but well meaning gentleman did not harm my faith in God or relationship with Christ in the least.

    I always think of the times that I fail to love and help others and I think of when Jesus asked His disciples do you want to leave as well? I always say in my heart, where will I go? You my LORD have the words of Life!

    Christ provided for our physical need for food from another source other than the “food bank”.

    The lesson I learned was to not entrust my giving and charitable acts to others like I have in the past, like I mentioned I have given thousands of dollars to this food bank over the years and when I was in need I was turned away, I thought to myself, my God these people most likely have done this to others and I was giving to them to love others and help those in need.

    So I will never give money or food to such organizations ever again, Stacy and I set aside a certain amount of money each month in order to buy food and give it directly to those in need.

    I think the LORD was telling me that this is what I was supposed to be doing all along.

    :)

  7. 2-12-2011

    Hutch and Art,

    Thanks for the discussion and stories!

    -Alan

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