You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them.For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (NLT)
There was a saying that my family would always say to my brother or I when we didn’t want to eat something. For me, I typically heard it whenever we would have shepherd’s pie. It was something along the lines of, “There are hungry people” somewhere else that would like to have what I was eating.
Of course, it was an idle threat meant to get me to finish my plate, but how true are those words. There are hungry people all across the world. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger. The United Nations estimates that there are 842 million people globally who are starving. That is about 11 percent of the world’s 7.1 billion population.
There are people who are hungry all around us and we are ignoring them. We ignore them when we throw out expired food, buy more than we could ever consume, or limit the ability of sharing with others. As the prophet Amos writes, when we keep to ourselves food and other necessities from those who need them we are trampling on the poor and hungry.
Amos goes even further. He says if you keep more than what you need to survive that you are stealing from those who need more. Like you, I’m sure you would never consider yourself a thief. However, one has to wonder with these words from Amos if the way we treat food and other necessities if we are just that in how we prevent the poor access to them.
All of us have more than we could ever need. What if we took from our excess and gave to those who have a need, so that they may feel whole, loved, and cared for? What if we no longer trampled on the poor, but showed them hope, love, and generosity?