Which came first, feeding the poor or proclaiming the Gospel? I often wonder about this in our Church today. Many are very committed to the caring of the poor, yet find the doctrines and dogmas of the Church annoying at times or, in some cases, repulsive. I certainly believe that the teachings of the Church are exactly what leads the individual believer to go deeper and to care for the poor. It's a command of our Lord to care for the widow and orphan as well as all in need of a helping hand.
But this does not come about fully without understanding that Jesus Christ did not come to make sure we are feeding the poor. He came to save us from our sins. No amount of charitable works can earn this salvation, and so since it cannot be earned, it must be accepted as the primary mission of Jesus Christ.
Good works are what we do when we have had an intimate and life-changing encounter with the Triune God. The good we do should point the way for others to know God in the way that we have come to know Him. It's a beautiful cycle: belief to works to example for others to belief...
But none of it happens without Christ's proclamation of salvation for the sinner in the Blood of the Risen Lord. Salvation comes first, and this is a message that needs to be preached today more than ever.