Upgrade Your Value Meal? Or Change Someone’s World? It’s Your Choice…
The problem is not that we are selfish. I don’t believe that. If anything, 20 years as a missionary/pastor has taught me just the opposite. The world is full of people who are kind, compassionate, and generous. Over the years I have met so many, many people who loved to help, to give, and to sacrifice for the benefit of others. We are more than ready to share. We are willing to do without so someone else can survive, make it one more night, and live to see the dawn of a new day. So, no. Selfishness is not the problem.
The problem is not that we are indifferent. I don’t believe that either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We care. We are concerned. We are compassionate. We want to be a part of the solution. We are not the ones who pass by without a second glance. That’s not us. No, the problem is not that we indifferent. We are simply inundated. Hardly a day goes by that we are not confronted with a new need, a new disaster, or a new situation demanding our attention and assistance. And in the end, we just can’t do everything. Because of our limited resources, we have to choose carefully and, unfortunately, that means that in order to say “yes” to some we have to say “no” to others. So, no. Indifference is not the problem.
The problem is not that we are ignorant. That’s not true. People understand that their choices have consequences. Most of us have actually learned that the hard way through years of trial and error. We know that life is hard. We know that life can be incredibly difficult. And we know that life is not always fair. We know that there are multitudes of people who would gladly changes place with us. We know we are blessed beyond measure. And we know that there are some people out there right now who are suffering way beyond anything we will ever experience in this lifetime. We are aware. And more than that, we are touched and moved with the depth of their pain. But sometimes it just all seems so overwhelming, so beyond our ability to do anything about it. So, no. Ignorance is not the problem.
The problem is not that we are helpless. Sure, some of life’s problems seem beyond our scope of influence. Genocide? World hunger? Human trafficking? Inequality? Racial injustice? Hated? Wars? I can only speak for myself but I don’t have an answer. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up or give in. I won’t apologize for believing all the “hype.” I refuse to accept that my contributions are insignificant, that I am just one small voice that is lost in the cacophony of humanity’s screams for help and justice. I can make a difference. I will make a difference. More importantly… I don’t believe for one single instant that I am the only person in this world who believes that to be true. And together we
can will make a difference. So,no. We are NOT helpless.
So… what is the problem?
Hmmm… I’m not real sure. But let me tell you about two things that cause me to struggle and stumble. Sometimes I lose perspective. And sometimes I just get tired.
It’s easy for me to get so caught up in my own world that I forget about others. I forget that while I’m trying to decided if I want to upgrade my value meal, there are people in my city who will go to bed hungry tonight. I forget that my closet full of shirts could clothe entire families for a year. I forget that I have more cars in my driveway than most people will ever own in their entire lifetime. I forget that my everyday choices could have much more impact if I would just think first. What if I just gave up that one value meal, said “no” to that new shirt, or figured out I don’t really need a “second” vehicle? Maybe I could feed a family. Maybe I could provide clothing for someone in need. Maybe I could change someone’s life… maybe even change their entire world. So, yes. Sometimes I just lose perspective.
I also want to make a very public confession. When I left Miami 5 years ago I was tired. No, scratch that. I was beyond tired. I was a bank account overdrawn. I was a gas tank sitting on empty. I was broken, bankrupt, and bereft of any concern for others. I was completely drained. I was drier than a desert. I was filled with disappointment, despair, and disgust over my own weaknesses. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually… it didn’t matter because I had absolutely nothing left to give to anyone. Nothing. As a result, I have spent the better part of the past 5 years in a recovery process. I shut the door to my heart, put up walls, and told the world “to just leave me the hell alone.” So, yes. Sometimes I just get tired.
Today? Today I am reminded that it’s never really over for the child of God. He doesn’t break the bruised reed. He doesn’t extinguish the flickering embers. Our God is all about restoration. Our God is all about renewal, revival, and refreshing. What was lost can be found. What was diseased can be healed. What was broken can once again be made whole. In the past few months I have felt alive again in way that had escaped me during these past 5 years. And it’s all because of Him. There’s really nothing else I can point to as a catalyzing factor. I did nothing. I contributed nothing. It was all Him.
So… Just wanted to tell you why I’ll be passing on that upgrade again. I will change the world.
“I can do ALL things THROUGH HIM who strengthens me.”