Footsteps to Follow: We walk because food is not an option — it is a necessity

Do we use the eyes and heart God has given to us to see and to respond compassionately to the needs of those who are facing hunger? Jesus tells the story in Luke 16:19-31 of “The Rich Man And Lazarus.”

In this story, though Lazarus is just outside the rich man’s door, the rich man ignores him. Though he had more than enough to reach out and help Lazarus, he chose simply to step around him as if he didn’t even exist. We know that the rich man knew who Lazarus was because, upon dying and finding himself in Hades, he asks that Lazarus be sent to give him a drink of water-something the rich man had never been willing to do when he and Lazarus were alive.

Tomorrow we will be holding our 42nd Annual CROP Walk for Hunger here in Lycoming County. Four walks will be happening, all at 1pm: Williamsport Walk at St. Mark’s Lutheran and the River Walk, Quiggleville at St. Michael’s Lutheran, Hughesville at Lime Bluff Park, and Trout Run at Trout Run Park. Each walk will raise money and awareness of the hunger needs in our area, our nation, and our world. Your support would be greatly appreciated as we strive to see and respond to these hunger needs, not like the rich man in Jesus’ story but like Jesus himself.

The number of hungry men, women, and children in our area and the world has increased during this season of pandemic. Local food banks and pantries have seen their number of clients rise dramatically. Worldwide has seen similar increases. Children are especially vulnerable. But we can and, in the name of Jesus, need to help make a difference.

One way to do that is to raise awareness through our participation in the CROP Walk. Because of COVID-19, this is more challenging than in the past 41 years of the Walk. However, since all Walks are outside and social distancing will be encouraged, walkers should be safe. And your appearance will let others know of the great hunger needs that exist.

Twenty-five percent of the funds raised through this Walk will go to the New Love Center, Jersey Shore; Sonlight House, Muncy; United Churches Food Pantry, Williamsport; and West End Christian Community Center, Newberry. These agencies, along with others in our area, are on the frontline of reaching out in the name of Jesus so that every “Lazarus” of this area is not ignored but is helped and fed during this difficult time.

The other seventy-five percent of the funds will go to hunger programs sponsored by Church World Service. These programs are located in the United States and throughout the World. Previously, I have been privileged to see some of these programs in action. In some, the food is prepared and served to those in great need. In others, bags of rice or other staples, along with water, are given to provide for the basic needs of those suffering so greatly. I watched people come to these mission ministries with deep concern and pain upon their faces. Though the food itself did not resolve their entire situation, it gave them hope. Hope is what you can give tomorrow by reaching out to each “Lazarus” in our community and world by participating in the 42nd Annual CROP Walk. Hope to see you there-with proper social distancing.

In addition to the Lazarus Parable, Jesus stated, “Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40 KJV).

Pastor Bob Wallace, retired United Methodist minister


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