Kolar: Truly a generous community

"The poor will always be with us, so we will always be responsible for defending their cause if we truly know the heart of our Lord," writes Janel Kolar.

Rev. Janel F. Kolar is the pastor at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Dickinson, North Dakota.
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Jeremiah 22:16 — New International Version: “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.

Last week, a call went out on Facebook from the AMEN Food Pantry asking for help in filling their shelves. The picture of empty shelves they included was heartbreaking. It’s humbling to find yourself in a position where you have no choice but to ask for help, and that must be even harder when organizations like AMEN don’t have enough resources to be as helpful as they’d like to be.

I was so happy to read that the call for help was quickly heeded. We are truly a generous community. But I am beginning to understand more and more what Jesus meant when he said “you will always have the poor with you.” I think he knew that the cause of the poor is a never-ending theme for humankind. And so should our response be.

I applaud the quick response to the call for help but defending the causes of the poor and needy shouldn’t be sporadic and based on desperate requests. The food pantry operates year-round and there is never really “enough.” The poor will always be with us, so we will always be responsible for defending their cause if we truly know the heart of our Lord.

Instead of making a grand effort a few times a year when the need becomes desperate, perhaps we might all think about changing our grocery habits so that every time we go, we buy a little extra for the food pantry? And if it is inconvenient to get items to the pantry, simply put a few dry items into one of the little free pantries located around town where food is made available to anyone who needs it any time. If that is still too much, one can always make a regular monetary gift, either through your church home or directly to the AMEN Food Pantry. They use those monetary gifts to stock their shelves and refrigerators when the need arises and opportunity is best. The key is, we need to work on supporting the poor among us as a regular practice to avoid situations where the shelves at the AMEN Food Pantry get critically empty.


When we are blessed with all that we need and the ability to share some of that, we need to make an effort so that, “As it is written: The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” 2 Corinthians 8:16

Related Topics: FAITH
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