Bare Cupboards

Sunday, September 18, 2022
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John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (NIV)

At one time, brightly coloured classroom bulletin boards displayed nursery rhymes that were used in primary and elementary schools to teach children the sounds, patterns, rhythm, and rhyme of reading. The following rhyme represented a concept that we children understood.

    Old Mother Hubbard
    Went to the cupboard,
    To get her poor dog a bone;
    But when she got there
    The cupboard was bare,
    And so the poor doggy had none.

As children listened to that rhyme, they could relate, for sometimes their own cupboards were bare and they didn't have food to eat.

My dad owned a small lumber company, and our family lived there, as well as the workers and their families. One friend's cupboards were often bare. Sometimes, I felt sad when I would hear her say, "Karen's daddy didn't pay my daddy, so Mommy couldn't buy groceries."

I learned that the accusation was never true, but some dads used that excuse when they spent their paycheck in less important ways. Their choices brought hunger and other hardships to their families. My mother faithfully took her largest cookpot filled with soup, stew, or beans to any family in need. In this way, she could show God's love, momentarily ease the mother's mind, and bring comfort to the children's hungry tummies.

Currently, a world food crisis is foretold. Famine is not a new concept, as many countries have suffered food shortages throughout history. It is heart-rending to see the despair brought through hunger. Out of frustration, people get angry at God, and shake their fists at Him, but He is not at fault.

Many families suffer temporary or long-term bare cupboards through no fault of their own; others go without because of poor decision-making and planning. Kindnesses from neighbours, churches, and organizations throughout the world bring God's provision to those in need.

Acts 11:28-29 – Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. (NKJV)

As individuals, we can feed the poor and hungry by following the example set by the disciples in Acts, giving out of the abundance that God has given us. While acting on the call to feed those who are hungry, let's show people the gentle love and care of Jesus through our actions, so that they can see that God is providing food in times of need.

Prayer: Dear Father, when we know that people are in need of food, prepare us with giving hearts to provide and to show them Your grace, so that they will see Your goodness and be grateful. Amen.

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About the author:

Karen Milam <>
Penn Valley, California, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Karen.

    Amen, Karen. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Karen, I love how you use stories from your childhood to illustrate the gospel.

    Absolutely! Amen! Thanks for sharing this encouraging devotional with us!

    Amen Karen. With the huge increase in food prices l can certainly see that there will be those going hungry in our area this winter. And l expect it is only the beginning.
    May we all be willing to share as we are able.

    Thanks, Karen, for another of your special and very mindful devotionals. Yes, there certainly is a need these days to help many who are suffering from food shortages and other necessities. Our town here has several outlets that we can donate to, for those in need, and they are much appreciated. Sharing gives one a good feeling and is a true symbol of God’s love and care. Blessings for your writings.

    For many months, I have been touched by your words.
    Today was especially moving, as hunger has always been a mission for me.
    There’s no reason that anyone should go to bed hungry, and yet we live in a land of wasteful habits.
    Thank you for reminding us to take the time to fill the cupboards and reaching out to those in need.

    Julie, thank-you for this important reminder about shining God’s light into every compartment of our lives. My wife and I volunteer at our church in the young adult ministry and your devotional sparked a key lesson I will prepare. Thanks for the inspiration!! May God continue to use you in ways that are greater than you can think or imagine.

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