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‘High-tech gleaning’ will help beat world hunger, Nelson says

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Southern Baptists can get closer to God by ministering to people in need in even the smallest ways, a Southern Baptist hunger expert says.

“God cares about people in need. He calls His people to reach out to them. And when they do — even in the most modest way — He blesses the effort,” said Steve Nelson, director of hunger concerns for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

With more than 800 million chronically hungry people in the world, a Christian may wonder what one person can do, Nelson noted. But the Old Testament practice of gleaning shows how God can use one person’s leftovers to provide for others in need.

“The practice of gleaning was God’s way of telling His people to leave some portion of their abundance on a regular basis for people in need,” Nelson told a chapel audience at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Va. “In the same way, your little bit of spare change can make a difference too.”

He recalled a project in Uganda where Southern Baptist missionaries were able to feed thousands of refugees at a cost of 12 cents per meal.

“That’s not a lot of money, but it is a lot of people,” he said.

In fact, if 1 million Southern Baptists gave just $20 a month through the ERLC’s direct-debit giving program, gifts to the World Hunger Fund would be multiplied 25 times, Nelson said.

“That’s not talking about a big offering. It’s just doing something small on a regular basis and letting God multiply the loaves and fishes.

“Debit gifts are a great way to support the World Hunger Fund and hundreds of Southern Baptists do so each month,” Nelson added. “It is easy and quick. We call it ‘high-tech gleaning’.”

Southern Baptists gave $9.6 million to world hunger and relief in 2000, Nelson said. The Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund is the only hunger ministry known to use 100 percent of every dollar donated to minister to hungry people.

In both the United States and overseas, Southern Baptist workers are able to minister to hungry people and share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ because of the World Hunger Fund, Nelson said. When His people reach
out, God blesses their efforts.

In southern Asia, 600 churches have grown out of an agricultural development program in just seven years, he said. In Little Rock, Ark., a new church that used hunger funds for after-school snack and holiday food basket programs has grown to 300 in attendance and baptized 220 people in three years.

“If our people will just give their small change and make it available to the poor through the World Hunger Fund, God will use it in their lives,” he said.

“Do you want to get close to God? Do you want to experience revival? Then, in the name of Jesus, minister to ‘the least of these.’ God will honor it.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: BREAD OF LIFE and HUNGRY SOULS.

— For information on the World Hunger Fund and direct-debit giving, e-mail [email protected].

— BEAT Hunger: http://www.erlc.com/beathunger.htm

— More photos of famine relief: http://www.imb.org/Media/PhotoDownloads/famine_cutlines.htm

    About the Author

  • Mark Kelly