Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. Genesis 1:29-30 (NIV)
We are not even through the first chapter, barely 700 words into the story of creation, when God gave us food. Adam and Eve haven’t been named, and already, the table is being set. Providing for our basic needs was part of the plan, and there are no conditions, no expectations. A simple, elegant idea: all the beasts, birds–everything that has breath–can find food plentiful and available in the Garden of Eden.
For some of us, food seems to be everywhere. Coworkers bring treats, television ads tantalize us with goodies, and recipes abound on our computers. We could debate, of course, whether Oreos fit with God’s vision of healthy abundance a la Eden, but regardless, for many in our society, cupboards overflow and refrigerator shelves are stacked high. For those of us who are surrounded by food, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what it feels like when the cupboard is bare and the ingredients for even a small meal aren’t to be found in the refrigerator—and that’s assuming you have one and it works well.
The people who volunteer at CUP hear the stories of people who can’t take for granted the abundance that some of us take for granted. That’s the sort of platitude that people say, or preach from a pulpit, or post in a Facebook image. But there’s an important point that is easily glossed over as we rush from “In the beginning” to Adam and Eve: God intends for us to have our basic needs met. God’s grace began in the garden. By working and donating to CUP—or to any of the myriad ministries in the area that strive to feed, clothe, and house our brothers and sisters, we are simply following the model set in the Garden.