"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead," reads James 2:15-17.
In Texas, 4.2 million people experience hunger daily, meaning almost 20 percent of all of its residents are hungry or food insecure, Olson writes.
These verses can serve as a great reminder of our call to actively live out faith in many aspects of our lives, beyond simply feeding and clothing our brothers and sisters.
However, we too must recognize that ensuring our neighbor has enough to eat is not an act unique to the day of James, and we too are called to be a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1) in feeding those in our community.
Today, Texas is the 2nd hungriest state in the nation.
In Texas, 4.2 million people experience hunger daily, meaning almost 20 percent of all of its residents are hungry or food insecure.
This means that at some point in the prior year, they have either experienced hunger outright, or altered their consumption patterns to avoid hunger.
For some families, this may have meant buying less healthy but more filling food, or skipping meals. For others, the choice may have been between buying food and paying for rent, utilities, car payments or medical bills.
Many food insecure Texans live in what are called "food deserts," or low-income neighborhoods with low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. (To view food deserts in your state, click here.)
Often, these families do not have the means for transportation to get to a grocery store, and therefore may shop in convenience stores nearby. For some, this process leads to obesity, a health epidemic in Texas.
Thankfully, churches and other faith-based ministries have dedicated their time and resources to become a part of the solution.
Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, is successfully growing programs in their church to help feed hungry children in their community during the summertime.
World Hunger Relief Farm in Waco, Texas, hosts urban and community garden programs as a way to develop healthy and sustainable communities, while decreasing obesity and diseases like diabetes.
I encourage you to take a moment to look at a map in your community to find where there is a need, and help to feed our neighbors, just as we feed ourselves.
Imagine the powerful message Texas Baptists – and others of faith – could send to living out our faith through action – just as James so wrote and Jesus so desired and taught.
Anne Olson is a public policy specialist with Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. This column first appeared in the CLC's May e-newsletter and is adapted with permission.