As a family, we have been volunteering for a group who distribute food across Adelaide for about 6 months now. About 60–80 volunteers regularly donate their time to do food collections from the likes of department stores and bakeries, drive the distribution light trucks, and operate the food distribution hubs.
There are a lot of areas you can help in; we mostly choose to go to the fresh produce markets and collect any food at the end of the day which sellers choose to donate.
The charity does not get any government grants or funding as they do not choose who they will help. I didn’t know this before hand, but in order to access food banks, you need to be eligible. If you’re going through a rough patch with say, trying to pay off excess medical bills – too bad.
That’s why we like this charity – they don’t care who you are, they will give you assistance.
So as I said, we have been with these guys for about 6 months now and I realised something after the last shift I did, driving and setting up a shower truck in the heart of the city.
Now I never hide the fact I am Christian and I let people know when it comes up, and I realised that there are no other Christians at the charity. None.
They are mostly a variety of people, from all ages and notably, a few people of the Sikh faith.
Everyone is very nice and working to a common goal without expecting anything for themselves.
I can’t help but ask, where are my brothers and sisters in Christ?
This charity regularly advertises on Facebook and volunteering pages and is struggling to grow as there are just not enough volunteers.
I hate to say it, but I can’t shake the feeling, that many Christians in my area are leaning towards materialism and lifestyle in the form of church groups.
Two of the three churches we have visited in the last year, mentioned what I have become aware is called the ‘prosperity gospel’. Preaching about give and you will receive more, followed by two collections.
This doctrine has never sat comfortably with me. I feel it creates the wrong motive for giving – giving on the pretense that you will get more.
More money, more stuff
And I question what that money given is used for. More sound gear? The sound and light show potentially becomes more centre stage than the worship of our Saviour.
And the church groups
Come to the church after hours, complete with café, for various groups. While the bible does say not to forsake the gathering of the saints, and bible studies are beneficial, it just seems to be promoting a time-consuming lifestyle, almost like a club.
So what about giving? There are so many bible verses about charity.
Hebrews 13:16 ‘Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.’
1 John 3:17 ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?’
A lot more is mentioned about personal sacrifice to others and charity than giving purely to receive more in return.
While I know there are Christians who are involved in outreach and charity work, the snapshot I see is that a lot of us may be distracted and snared by worldly desires, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I encourage you, if you feel like something is missing in your life even though you have everything, and you perhaps realised you have been a little focused on yourself, to step out and get involved in community charity work, sharing God’s love.
Just start small and go from there.
Michael Dahlenburg is an electronics technician. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and three children in God’s own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.Michael Dahlenburg’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html