Help one person at a time, starting with the one next to you.— Mother Teresa

The person next to you could be a family member, a neighbor, someone at the grocery store, or someone you happen to drive past. Mother Teresa’s words encourage us to spread the spirit of compassion that reflects God’s love to our neighbors both near and far.

We live in a beautiful area where people come to vacation from all over the world, but there is a Panama City that many of us have not seen. It’s the Panama City where people not only struggle to make ends meet but cannot meet their most basic human needs of putting food on the table. We want to help. The Northstar Feed 5,000 initiative is designed to provide two weeks of groceries and a Thanksgiving meal for 5,000 people.

But this initiative is not about size. Or scope. Or numbers. Or logistics. It is all about people. Because in God’s world, everyone is important. He cares about them all. That’s how God thinks and operates. Jesus tells us the first will be last and the last will be first. By serving meals to every one of 5,000 people, we show love and accurately portray an image of God stated so clearly in 1 John 4:8: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

It is not difficult to look around–wherever you are–and see people in need. There are young parents who cannot put regular meals on the table because of bills. There is an elderly widower who can’t make ends meet on a fixed income. There are children, even babies that don’t have enough to eat. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to neighbors to ensure basic needs are met, like the need to eat. This is not a long-term answer, but every little bit helps.

In Matthew 25:40 tells us, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ We, as a church, can make a major difference when we purpose to love even just a little. Love is the most important thing we can do and when it is our purpose to love as Jesus did, He seems to entrust us with more loving to do. Your contributions to Bold Love show love and share God’s love to all He brings to us.

The people that we serve and the stories they share inspire us to do our work each day; to continue to provide our spiritual environments and to find new and better ways to share God’s love in our communities.

I am grateful to each person who has worked on or volunteered for this initiative.  A lot of hard work has already gone into this event and there will be more work to come.  In the end, however, there are 5,000 reasons for doing what we are doing.

Thank you Northstar for all you do to further God’s kingdom on earth.