The Hunger Games is a popular series of novels that has been made into a movie series. I personally have not read the books nor watched the movies, so I turned to Wikipedia for information. Hunger Games fans, blame Wiki if I get any facts wrong.
The scene is a fictional future country consisting of the wealthy Capitol and 12 poorer districts. As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol, one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts, between the ages of 12 and 18, are selected by lottery to compete in the Hunger Games on an annual basis. The Games are a televised event in which the participants, called “tributes”, are forced to fight to the death in a dangerous public arena. The winning tribute and his/her home district are then rewarded with food, supplies, and riches. The purposes of the Hunger Games are to provide entertainment for the Capitol and to remind the districts of the Capitol’s power.
Quite a sombre storyline. Now while the Hunger Games is fiction, there is real hunger in our world today and it is not a game. 793 million. 793 million what? 793 million people suffer from chronic hunger in our world today. At the same time, there’s an estimated 500 million people in the world who are obese. That’s both bad news as well as good news. What this means is that there is enough resources in the world to eliminate hunger but there is great disparity in the distribution of resources. Great food wastage alongside great hunger.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about it.” And Jesus’ disciples probably felt the same way too. That story is found in Matthew 14:13-21. I’ll summarize it for you. Jesus was ministering to a great multitude of people. 5,000 men, not including women and children. Evening came and Jesus’ disciples said to Him, “Please send the people away so that they can get food for themselves.” Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
Jesus’ disciples… stunned like vegetable. “We only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish”, they said. Jesus told them, “Bring it to me”. Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Jesus miraculously provided for the crowds, but He did it using 5 loaves and 2 fish.
Here’s the spiritual principle: if we honour God and give our limited resources to God, He will multiply it to bless people. You may not be familiar with Chick Fil A. It’s an American chicken restaurant chain (KFC’s competitor, if you like). The owner is a committed Christian and one of the astounding things he does is all the restaurants close on Sundays, the Christian Sabbath rest. It makes no sense business-wise because Sundays are the busiest and best days for business.
And God has blessed his decision. In 2014, Chick Fil A earned more money per restaurant than McDonalds (even though McD opens 7 days a week). Chick Fil A earned more profit than KFC despite having fewer than half the restaurants KFC has.
But you see, it’s not about the blessing. Chick Fil A’s ethos is about being a blessing to others. In 2014, when a sudden snowstorm hit Alabama and motorists were stranded on a highway, the owner and employees of a Chick Fil A restaurant along that highway cooked up several hundred sandwiches and trudged along the highway in the snow to feed the astonished motorists. This made the news and manager Audrey Pitt told reporters, “Our company is based on taking care of people and loving people before we’re worried about money or profit.”
Young people, God has blessed you. Go be a blessing. I want to end with one last thought. Even though I prepared this devotion last week, this morning, God placed this burden upon my heart to share with you.
We talked about physical hunger this morning. But there is a deeper hunger in each of us, it is a spiritual hunger. You may not even realize it. But all of us try to fill this hunger in hearts. Some try to fill it with relationships (having a boyfriend or girlfriend). Some try achievements: studies or sports or CCAs. Some try pleasure, smoking or alcohol. But none of these work. They do not satisfy us.
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.”
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” It is only in Jesus, in having a friendship with Jesus, can we be truly satisfied. This is His invitation to you this morning. Come to Jesus. Let Him fill your heart with His love, that your soul may be satisfied.
ps: I didn’t plan it, but after giving the assembly devotion, two students took the mic to talk about the dangers of smoking. God speaks.