A nursery rhyme goes:
Some have food, they cannot eat;
Some can eat, but have no food;
We have food and we can eat:
Glory be to God. Amen.
Having sufficient food to eat can very much be taken for granted; more so where there is so much abundance and so much variety.
For the one who has nothing to put on the table, this cannot be taken for granted. Since some people have so much food to eat all the time or at least can eat food whenever they want, it is very easy to forget that there are actually persons for whom this remains a big wish.
While you eat in abundance and in peace, there is someone in your neighborhood, in your community, in your family, and possible right under your roof, for whom getting food to eat is such a big deal. This is very real. This is a situation people live in everyday; it is real; not imagined.
Every human being needs basic nutrition for survival. For many, this basic survival can be likened to an uphill task every day. Many sleep with empty stomachs and have no idea if there will be a breakfast or where it will possibly come from. In situations where children are present, they become the first victims of these pangs of hunger.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” In a world where some have so much and others have little or none, SHARING becomes a real necessity. The experience of continuous lack and situations of abject poverty are such that they reduce the individual to a state below his/her human dignity. What s/he needs for basic survival is usually not so much. As a person who is blessed with more, what you pass on to the other person would really not take too much from you.
“That ‘You have food and you can eat’ obliges you to seek out
those who have none to eat, to share with them.”
Interestingly, we also live in a world of individual greed and struggle to amass wealth, wealth that can last generations to come. One can arguably say that greed is highest among those who already have so much than those who just seek resources just for basic survival. The theory seems to be: the more you have, the more you hunger for more. Hence, the rich struggle to get richer, while the poor linger in poverty. So when will this change such that everyone is basically able to put food on the table daily?
With what is going on in our society in this regard, it is clear that the conscience of some persons have been laid to rest; they no longer feel any moral obligations over their actions.
The spirit of greed is completely in charge of their lives such that the only thing that is genuinely important to them is how to get more money and amass more wealth. At this point, it does not matter who is duped, who is defrauded. It does not matter if public funds are tampered with, it doesn’t matter if the contract is not carried out properly or even done at all, it does not matter who has to be gotten out of the way violently, it does not matter if I earn more than I really deserve, or even earn the income of a ghost worker.
“Where your greed stops, there begins my basic survival!”
It does not matter if I pay persons so as to win a case illegally to avoid paying compensations for losses/damages I have caused. It does not even matter if an innocent person has to be thrown into prison just to cover my tracks to money stolen. It just does not matter!
All that matters to these greedy persons is: “I need more money; and I will get it at any cost.” “I need more power; I would do whatever it takes to get it.” “I need more wealth; no person, bureaucracy or policy can block my way – I will get around it by all means.” While this goes on through the actions and choices of an individual and indeed persons of the same cabal, more and more abject poverty is created in families, and in society.
But, come to think of it, how much wealth can you amass, power can you wield, money can you hideaway such that it keeps you from going six feet below the soil (in a coffin or just tied up), accidentally or as at when due? It becomes a case of “seven plus seven equal to zero”. “Seven” is generally regarded as wholeness; here you are blessed with the good things of life, either by way of education, inheritance, and/or position.
However, the number “seven” is also associated with the “seven deadly sins”. These sins include Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony. When a person goes beyond what is morally his/hers, then the “seven for wholeness” turns into a “deadly seven” through Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony. In this way, pride, greed, bribery and corruption, fraud, money laundering, oppression of the poor and less privileged, injustice, nepotism, sponsoring violent attacks, misusing the youth, violence towards girls and women, becomes a normal way of life.
The reality is that it is a whole circle. Where your greed stops (if it stops), there begins my basic survival. So if you go on with your greed, my basic survival is further threatened.
When a person in a position of power and authority goes beyond what his/her position earns him/her and begins to manipulate public funds, enter into the coffers meant for some form of development, economic empowerment of some women or youth, funds for infrastructure, and the like, such a person is directly creating more poverty and hunger in families.
That ‘You have food and you can eat’ obliges you to seek out those who have none to eat to share with them. One way of sharing which can have a far-reaching effect is for you to keep only that which you earn by merit so that the rest can be earned by others, hopefully by merit too. This may indeed all sound utopian, however, as an individual you know you can make a change. You really can!
While you give glory to God that “you have food and you can eat”, make that difference today by keeping only what you are morally due; and sharing that which you have with a less privileged neighbor.
- Linda Ellah