Hard Christian Truths

The Umbrella Principle

How to have a realistic impact when you are surrounded by needs

j taliaferro
6 min readJun 26, 2021


Photo by J W on Unsplash

Ngole’s eyes rolled back, and his body slapped the ground as he fell from the wooden stool and onto the cold concrete. We rushed to care for him thinking he had some medical issue. When he regained consciousness, we began asking him questions to determine the cause of his fainting spell. Upon further investigation, we learned that Ngole, our language teacher, had not eaten in 3 days. He had passed out due to hunger.

We had never experienced suffering on this level in our previous assignment. In the amazon, food literally falls off of trees. But in Karamoja, food insecurity is a constant concern, especially during the dry season. In most cases (like Ngole), the uninitiated would never recognize the need. They do not look like the starving children you see on TV. But once we identified the signs, we were overwhelmed by the fact that the majority of the 330,000 people living around us slept hungry.

These were real problems. They were real people — my friends.

Every year people died of malnutrition and starvation, but our resources could not match the need around us. That reality filled us with frustration and guilt. We had seen missionaries leave the field because they could not come to terms with the massive needs outside their door. We did not want to become the next ones to pack our bags.

In the midst of these looming questions, I saw a pattern in the life of Christ that gave me hope. I am optimistic that this breakthrough can help you too.

Even though Jesus was able physically to meet all of the needs around him, he did not. He prioritized.

Jesus discerned a difference between his disciples and the masses. They were not the same, and Jesus’ investment in each group was noticeably different.

During his prayer in John 17, Jesus refers to his disciples numerous times as the ones God “gave to him.” He recognized that his responsibilities with the 12 were different than his obligation to the masses.

For example, Jesus taught the masses with parables; but He explained the deeper meaning of the parables to His disciples. He…



j taliaferro

Storyteller, Author & Disciple of Jesus Christ. Lover of family, sushi & world travel. I hate cotton candy, bats and the Kansas City Chiefs.