I have been in the United States for almost four weeks now. Although I am enjoying myself and getting some work done, I also find myself contemplating the unjustness. Today, this image was in my newsfeed on Facebook. It depicts what I’m feeling. We have the resources needed to feed the world, to raise people out of the depths of poverty, but we only make surface attempts to help, using only what we decide we can afford to give up.
We have children growing up in orphanages because there aren’t enough people in the body of Christ who are willing to adopt orphans. We have millions of families living on $1 USD a day because we won’t spend the time or money required to investigate the true causes of poverty in a location and work with the local population to develop sustainable programs that will eliminate those causes. We won’t give up our second, third, or fourth car so that we can send an impoverished child to school. We won’t sell our luxurious houses and live in a modest house so that we can provide funds to build houses for those whose houses are literally falling down around them or whose family lives with five other families in a single 16-foot by 20-foot room with a leaking roof. The causes of poverty are many and complex, but God has given His people all the resources required to eliminate poverty in our lifetime. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that most professing Christians act as if they believe that God has blessed them so they can live a happy, carefree, luxurious life, not so that they can be a blessing to others.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” -Zechariah 7:9 (NIV)
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8 (NIV)
What would Jesus do? I think He would cry. I think He would cry over the injustice and poverty in this world and the lack of a concentrated, united effort among the people who profess to follow Him to resolve a problem for which the Creator of the Universe has given them all the resources required. Then, He would take action. I think He would go to the poorest person He could find and spend time with him, getting to know him and finding out why the person is living in poverty. Then, I think He would give the person a hand up until he reaches the point at which he is able to support himself and his family. Then, He would find another poor person and do it again. He would use all the resources at His disposal, not just what He can “spare”.
Why is it that we don’t raise a finger to prevent 19 people from dying from diseases caused by poor sanitation every five minutes? Why don’t we work together to prevent the deaths from malnutrition of 88 people every five minutes of every day? Why is it that people in the United States will consume 12,842 pounds of food every five minutes, while 760 million people will not have even one meal today, one billion people will only have one meal today, and another 1.1 billion will only have two meals? Why is it that every five minutes, Americans will spend $459,000 on humanitarian aid to other countries and $785,000 at Walmart? As a society, we are swimming in plenty, while the rest of the world drowns in poverty. Oh, how this must break the heart of God.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. -Mark 16:16 (NIV)
What breaks the heart of God even more? His eternal separation from the people who die in their sins every day. There are approximately 2.2 billion people in the world who profess to be Christians, out of a world population of about seven billion. If we assume that those who say they are Christians truly are, that means there are about 4.8 billion people in the world who are lost and on the road to hell. They are dying at the rate of approximately 96,850 people per day. Why? Because many of us who say we are Christians have stopped following Jesus. We’re on the path; we’re just not moving forward. I believe that breaks God’s heart all over again.
What are we, God’s adopted children, going to do about that? What will we do to bring those lost people into God’s family?
God, help me, please. Help me to do all that You want me to do, not just some of what You want me to do. Help me to be who You want me to be. Show me the next step and, by Your grace and Your strength, I will take it. Amen.