Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food For Thought: Good Food for a Good Cause

Food For Thought is a small store beside Royal at Queens hotel in Singapore. I was only able to discover this hidden treasure when my friend brought me there 30 minutes before our (hotel) check out time. I was supposed to be up in my room packing. But I decided to go with her since I didn't know when I'd be back again.

Food For Thought not only provides 'good food for a good cause', but it also advocates NGO causes that include conservation of the environment, fight against hunger, helping the poor children, etc.

I particularly love the shabby chic ambiance of the store. It has a pleasant country style with quirky twists. If you would look at their ceiling, they decorated it with recycled old vases and orchids. They also used glass cups for the lighting, probably to add shimmer and lessen the use of electricity.

On their walls and table tops were printed statements that speak of the causes they believe in. For example the one below is "Make Poverty History. 'Cause we wait for the day when the last shall be first." Wonderful isn't it?

Learning from the vision of the future (read Matthew 25), as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goat, so will God separate the righteous from the unrighteous on the day of judgment. And if you would look closely, God will not ask, "Why will I allow you to enter my Kingdom?" and expect a simple answer of "because I believe in You."

On the judgment day, it is definitely easy to just say, "I believe in Jesus, so please let me enter Heaven's gates." But God will hold you accountable (responsible, liable) for every blessing (gift, time, wealth and other provisions you receive). Were you able to use them well? Did you use them to help the least of His brothers? Did you feed the hungry and the thirsty, clothe the needy and heal the sick? Or are you using them selfishly?

I don't mean that God looks only at your good works. By all means, no. When you are helping the poor, you are doing it for Jesus! And this is faith in action. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

I say faith in action because it is still by faith that we are saved - a gift of God, and not by good works. But faith is not static. It moves people to action. Wasn't it faith that let Noah build an ark of cypress wood when all men were rejoicing and corrupting? Wasn't it faith that let David muster up the courage to fight against Goliath when he had no experience in fighting a giant? Wasn't it faith that let Mary, the sister of Lazarus, pour a pint of pure nard (a very expensive perfume worth a year's wage!) on Jesus' feet? Wouldn't it be faith to offer the same or even more to the "least" of our family because this equates to doing it for Jesus?

I was really moved while I was inside. I saw various social enterprises helping the poor in different Asian countries (i.e. Cambodia, Vietnam). I know it is more profitable to establish ordinary single-bottom-line (for profit only) businesses compared to social and ecological enterprises. However, these establishments have decided to share their profits and tighten the gap between the rich and the poor. I hope more social entrepreneurs and advocates will rise up. It's funny how one of the shirts in the store has put my sentiments in a lyric form, "'cause apathy is so last millennium."

I believe that this is a new season for us Christians to not simply be good boys and girls in the workplace. It is time to act upon our faith, to be proactive, to focus on people OUTSIDE the church (to help the street children for instance). It is time to move one step up from learning (and even teaching)... to doing.

Someone told me, many of us are afraid to advocate social causes because we don't want to be like the other sects and denominations who only "do good works." Please. Let's stop making excuses.

Faith is not static, it moves people to action.

Faith without works is dead (James 2:17)

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