Hungry? Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines hunger as “a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient; b: an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food; c: a weakened condition brought about by prolonged lack of food.”

For most of us, hunger is something we experience when our dinner is a little late. The thought of going to bed without a meal never crosses our mind. Analysis of statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that missing a few meals might be a good idea for at least 30 percent of the Unites States’ adult population. According to the CDC, about 60 million American adults are obese.

Being fat isn’t cheap. The direct cost for obesity in the United States was estimated at $75 billion in 2003. Perhaps the saddest news of all is that the two primary behavioral causes of obesity, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet, are preventable.

According to America’s Second Harvest, 96 billion pounds of food are wasted each year in the United States. While many of us stuff our faces with fast food and scrape our leftovers into the garbage, the Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 852 million people worldwide are experiencing chronic hunger, and that 5 million children die each year from malnourishment and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

More than 35 million Americans are food insecure, hungry, or at risk of hunger. One in four people in a soup kitchen line is a child. An estimated 31 percent of poor families must choose between paying for food and paying for medication or medical care.

Matthew 22:37-4 says, “He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”‘

How can we claim to love our neighbor when 60 million of us are obese, and another 35 million of us are going hungry right here in America? Not to mention the 852 million chronically hungry people who live around the world!

It is time we take a good look in the mirror and determine to put down the fork and start practicing what we preach. How can we say we love our neighbor when we waste 96 billion pounds of food every year?

There are many ways we can take action in the elimination of world hunger. One sure way is to repent of our selfish gluttony and take full responsibility for our unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. We can also support the World Hunger Fund of the Southern Baptist Convention. Every dollar donated goes exclusively to feed the hungry. Hunger funds are not used to cover any administrative costs. The World Hunger Fund ministers to millions around the world through food distribution, agriculture training, vocational skills, water and medical clinics.

To donate, make checks payable to the BGCO, and be sure to write World Hunger on the memo line of the check. Mail the check to: Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, 3800 N. May Avenue, Oklahoma City 73112.