I was going to write down my own thoughts on how it feels to have seen the poorest of the poor, hugged the poorest of the poor and danced with the poorest of the poor and then come...home.
When we think of the rich, we are usually not thinking of ourselves, but the statistics tell us that if we more than $10,000 a year, we are in the top 13% of wage earners in the world. More than $20,000--top 5%.
People...FYI. you are RICH.
Here are just some random thoughts:
I remember driving out of NYC with the twins after we
just landed and was amazed at how CLEAN everything was!! The highways looked all sparkly but what was even more noticeable was the lack of people living on those highways...it just seemed vast and empty w/out the crowds...I litteraly thought, 'wow, if only those homeless people in Addis could see these nice highway mediums.' (sad- I know...)
When Mike and I first walked into our house with the girls (after living in a hotel for a week)
I recall thinking- wow- this is BIG...
We started showing them around: bedroom'S', 'play' room, 'school' room, next bathroom...on and on...when Mike reached for the door that leads down to his office I whispered, 'We need to stop.' This just wasnt fun. It was sad.
The girls were not gaily tromping through the house with shimmering eyes thinking about what they will play with first. They looked stoic and shocked.
We cut the tour short and I immediately felt embarressed.
To this day I still have those feelings come to the surface and I actually feel bad for having all this nice stuff when their birth-mother and their friends are in a cold dirt hut wondering where their next meal will come from. I often wonder what they are thinking when they see how Americans live.
I know nice things are not bad...I know that God wants us to prosper and enjoy the blessings that come with that...and maybe my guilt is out of place but I believe a blogger friend of mine named Jessica nailed it when she said this,
"We are the rich ones and yet the "machine of excess" has made us poor.
Not only that, it has often times resulted in the needy remaining needy, the remaining lonely, the orphans remaining orphans, the sick remaining sick, the hopeless remaining hopeless.....
So many times, our "need" to keep up with our stuff outweighs the true needs of the world around us.
We don't have time or money to help others we tell ourselves. We are too busy or overextended as it is. We have to work a lot to pay for all our stuff after all. Not to mention all the time we spend cleaning our stuff, buying new stuff, organizing our stuff.....
I'm as guilty as anyone
I feel it EVERY time I go to
Africa. You look around and
the needs are so great. NEEDS--actual needs like food and clean water, basic
clothing and shelter, medical care and families.
Things have got to change. If we are to be called followers of Jesus, our lives need to reflect the life he lived.
Excess was not a part of it.
His commands are simple--love God and love people as yourself.
There is no way we would think it is ok for ourselves to be without food, water, clothing, shelter, or the love of a family.
It's just not ok.
I love this quote from Martin Luther King Jr:
"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But the good Samaritan reversed the question, "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
What would happen if we stopped asking, "what would happen to me" and started asking, "what would happen to them?"
There are so many ways to get involved--local shelters, feeding the homeless, neighbors who just need some encouragement, praying for those in need, visiting the orphans and widows in distress, sponsorship, foster care......"
I am just as guilty, and it is soooooooooooooo HARD to change my way of thinking and turn it into Action. And what does that even look like for us?
I will agree with what Jessica has just voiced and I feel it in my bones and yet...it's just too easy to pull back into easy street and forget about the masses starving, snap open a Coke and sing, 'Im proud to be an American,' as I am a country music fan.
I see it as THE biggest spiritual attack Christians face - 'we all know but...'
But it Wont end there...
I Am thankful I was born in this beautiful and blessed country.
I Am thankful for my beautiful home.
I Am thankful that my family is not hungry and that we have access to clean water.
I am thankful that we serve a God who hears our prayers and when we ask him to show us what we should be doing, how we should be living, what we should be giving, and where we should be going....I am thankful that He will answer us...'ask and you shall recieve.'
I choose not to be discouraged and depressed about the plight of the orphan, hungry and lost.
He calls Christians, 'The Body' and when 'the body' is actually working together then that body becomes the largest living organism on Earth.
I saw it at work this past year- How else can you explain us adopting 2 children at the same time and flying to Africa two times in a matter of 2 months without having the finances...the Body was working.
No more inactivity.
Then follow this passage, it speaks for itself on what we are to do:
17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in
Now, I'm no Bible scholar and I dont have vineyards and olive tree's but Im pretty sure it means that I can take my check book and pay for my needs and I can enjoy the fruit of my labor. But before I use up the last of the $ for (you fill in the blank!) I give that money to the poor, lonely, widow or orphan...."so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
So since coming home and dealing with my post-Africa blues I have come to the conclusion that wealth is good because they are counting on us for help! I will no longer see it as something I have to do or should do but as something that I am privlidged in helping fulfil God's commands and to be part of the Body of Christ working together to make a difference and shine His name.
And it just so happens that I just recieved the link to give straight into these very children's live's in Korah.
1) Go to www.hopechest.org/give
2) Select “Designated/Sponsorship: One Time Gift”
3) Put “ET3008000″ in the Reference Number Field (IMPORTANT)