We have the incredible privilege of watching the broad stroke of life behind our home. Birds in the air and pond, animals, all making a place for themselves in our local ecosystem.
There are certain expectations of the different species that populate our yard. The ducks swim, dipping their heads under water to snack on whatever appeals to them under water. The otters catch fish and float on their backs to eat their meal. The occasional alligator–well, they eat whatever they please.
The deer typically eat the cracked corn my neighbor throws out for them, his gesture of love and compassion for these dear (pun intended) animals.
But the morning I watched a doe stand on her hind legs and eat birdseed from the feeder was a first for me.
She was hungry. The rest of the deer were eating what corn was on the ground. She’d cast around for what she could find, and then looked up.
Birdseed may not be corn, but it would satisfy her need. So she stood on her hind legs and ate what her tongue could release from the feeder.
I was impressed with her creativity.
Hunger drives all of us to do things we wouldn’t normally think of doing. Not just hunger for food, but for justice and hope. We all long for better times, where people are valued and seen as worthwhile.
Our ways of achieving such equality are quite diverse. Our differences produce tension in how we should achieve such grand goals.
The Bible speaks of such general hunger and what we should do about it.
“There WILL ALWAYS be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you, to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11-12
In context, this was part of a passage speaking of forgiving debts, giving generously with grace, and not being tightfisted with those who don’t have what we do.
It speaks of respecting others who aren’t as fortunate as we are, who don’t have the opportunities we do. We’re not to hold back generosity, no matter who is in need.
People are the ones who have made the situations in the world hard for others. We can’t blame shift to any one group of people, any one time in history. We’ve all been making mistakes, acting inhumanly toward others, since the beginning of time.
It’s not about blaming. It’s about how we as individuals will deal with the wrongs done.
We are called to be generous, loving, caring of ALL others. We are to see others as more important than ourselves.
The only way we can do that is to trust God to give us the wisdom, courage, and boldness to be able to care. We can’t muster that much compassion on our own.
Like the deer who sought sustenance in birdseed, we need to be creative in our response to those who disagree with us, whose needs are different from ours. We can’t do what we’ve always done.
We also can’t proceed with everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. We need to recognize the value God has given every person alive.
The challenge is to creatively look up and love those who are hungry for hope.