Genesis 41:46-49, 53-57
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plenteous years the earth produced abundantly. He gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it. So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—that he stopped measuring it; it was beyond measure.
The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.” And since the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine became severe throughout the world.
Reflection: My time working at Knox College has been educational for me in many ways. I’ve been there for 18 years and some changes have happened in the past few years for our student population. Many work more than one job to continue to attend Knox. Some of our students experience food insecurity – that is, some of them cannot afford to pay for their room and board, so they live off campus and make do with whatever food they are able to get. They may not be able to get assistance from family and are doing whatever they can do to get through school.
Once the Knox community heard about these issues, some steps were taken to assist the students and a food pantry was created for any student to use, no questions asked. Our multicultural and spiritual life center regularly provides simple meals and snacks for students who use their facilities.
The problem will not go away soon, but I have seen some reasons for hope. The same students who have received assistance also pay it forward and help each week with Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides meals each weekend to children in Galesburg so they have food over the weekends when school is closed. If they did not do this, many children in Galesburg could be going hungry each weekend.
It’s tough to see these things going on right in the community of people with whom I work every day. Like Joseph, maybe we can find ways to anticipate the needs of others and come up with creative and effective ways to help with solutions. If we are able to gather together and share our abundance, maybe someday soon we can provide enough sustenance for all.
Prayer: Lord, help us to open our eyes and see what is happening around us. So many people need you. Help us to show compassion and take action to assist others. With your help, we can make a difference in other’s lives. Amen.