Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are We Willing?

In just the past week, I have been bombarded with need.

I received a letter from Compassion International which described the great drought and famine occurring in Africa, an email from Gospel for Asia which brought to my attention to the recent and devastating flooding in India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, a letter from Covenant House requesting funds for their van outreach where they pick up broken youth on the streets and give them shelter and hope, and an urgent request from the World Food Program for funds after telling me that their recent shipment of 800 metric tons of food that they recently sent to Somalia will feed 1.6 million hungry people for only 1 day.

Photo courtesy of the World Food Program

Oh, Lord God.

There is so much need right now.  Across the globe and in our own country as friends and neighbors lose their homes and jobs. Some needs seem more urgent than others, but all are real needs of real people.  Real people like you and me.

It's so easy in the midst of all this need to become so overwhelmed that we let that little voice take control and entice us to look away and think that our measly funds won't make a difference.  You know whose voice that is, right?


 
Photo courtesy of the World Food Program

Many of us would prefer that goods and services were more evenly distributed among the people in this world.  We would all agree that it would be better for all children to have safe, clean shelters instead of some of them sleeping in luxury while others sleep in landfills, correct?

When we consider giving, how many of us look at what we have leftover each month and consider giving from that?  You know, that "extra" that some months doesn't exist because of the spending choices we make.   

What if, we made good on our ideals and change the way we're living?  What if we were willing to lower our standard of living to raise others'?  Then we would find those funds that others so desperately need.

Woman who lost her home to flooding.  Photo courtesy of Gospel for Asia.

Are we willing?  We must be.  For some of us, our circumstance might not allow it, but do not let that voice tell you that you are one of them if you're not.  We all know deep down whether we're able to give or not.  Let's be honest with ourselves before God.  Jesus said,

“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."  Matthew 5:42
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8 comments:

  1. I love that you bring attention to this! There are very real needs that are not being met around the world. We are so blessed here in the US. Everyone who lives in the US is rich in the eyes of many. We personally live under the poverty level in the US, but I know that we are RICH! We are very privileged. 2 bedroom apartment for 2 adults and 3 kids soon to be 4 might make some cringe, but it's so much bigger and luxurious than the one room shacks (if they are lucky enough to have a shack) most people in this world live in. We can all stand to give something. Even if it's $1.

    Katie
    www.glutenfreefoodstorage.net

    ReplyDelete
  2. MY PRAYERS ARE GLADLY OFFERED BUT i AM STRUGGLING TO KEEP ROOFS OVER OUR HEADS MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE HOMELESS MY DAUGHTER DOES AND THAT IS WHY I HAVE HER 2 TEENS LIVING WITH ME IF I COULD GIVE MORE I WOULD THESE ARE NOT GOOD TIMES RIGHT NOW

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  3. It all seems so overwhelming at times, doesn't it? To think that all of that food is only enough for ONE DAY? Mind boggling...

    When it gets overwhelming...or sickening...I remind myself of the story of the starfish. Then I am reminded that although it may not be much, it is a world of difference to that "one".

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post and great challenge. It is so tough to give in a culture of gain, gain, gain.

    I recommend reading "Radical" by David Platt.

    It gives a new perspective on one of Christ's parables on riches/the poor, often looked over as simply a minor part of his overall message here on Earth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post reminded me of a quote I found years ago that I copied down and kept close at hand. It goes like this....

    "When someone steals a man's clothes we call him a thief.

    Should we not give the same name to one who could cloth the naked and does not?

    The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man,

    the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it,

    the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes,

    the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor."

    - Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, c.365 AD

    Thank your for this reminder Jane. I've also been challenged lately to give first & not just from what is left over.

    ReplyDelete
  6. hi there. i have worked with child prostitutes around the world. i LOVE the poor and i think our family lives with less to give more. AND i think there can be false guilt in thinking we can/ 'should' meet every need. i found this article this last week to be GREAT on the topic.
    love your blog!
    renee

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2009/08/25/on-mission-changing-world-and-not-being/
    thegospelcoalition.org

    quotes i liked:

    "We may all have reason to repent after every sermon. But we don’t have to repent for every issue brought up in a sermon. Sometimes, by God's grace, we do get it right. The problem with “do more” Christianity is that no one is ever allowed to get it right. And the problem, ironically enough, with never allowing anyone to get it right, is that fewer people feel like getting it right really matters.

    "Is the goal of Christianity really to leave everyone feeling like terrible a parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor all the time?"


    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2009/08/25/on-mission-changing-world-and-not-being/
    thegospelcoalition.org

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  7. Like many families we've had to tighten our belt in the last few years. Our children are grown and my husband and I are both fortunate to have jobs. We have so much more than most of the world and are intentional givers. Today I did what I occasionally do after work when I know my husband won't be home until late, I stopped at McDonalds and got a my favorite mango pineapple smoothie. Would $2.79 make a difference to someone? I'm sure it would! What's more, if I take that amount and times it by 3 or 4 times a month it could make more of a difference. Mmmmnn....what would make a huge difference to somebody else cost me only a fruit smoothie. THANK YOU FOR THE CHALLENGE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is a topic that has been tugging on my heart lately also. I think buying school clothes/supplies, paying football fees, and birthday presents leaves me feeling like we are spending so much money on earthly things when so many out there have nothing. I am so thankful to God for our provisions and the opportunities my children have. But deep down I wonder how many children could benefit from the money I just spent on spiral folders and football cleats!

    praying for God's guidance in how to use our funds and resources to advance His kingdom here on earth.

    ReplyDelete

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