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Thursday, September 24, 2009

I know. It's easier to just ignore them.

I know. It's easier to just ignore them. But Jesus didn't give us that option. And no matter how we try to justify it or excuse it or look over it, they are still there. They are in our mail, on our TV and pasted all over the edges of our web browser. I'm talking about the "ones" that most of us choose to ignore...the "ones" that Jesus cared the most about.

In our family quiet time last night, Lisa shared a blog with us written by a young lady who has given up all she knew in the comfort of middle Tennessee and has moved to Uganda to care for the "ones." This young lady lives in a land where these little "ones" go hungry yet the cost of a stamp could provide three meals. One family she writes about lives in a cardboard (that's right, like the boxes we throw away and recycle) home--more like a room. They have no bed, no chairs, no change of clothes. Lisa shared this just hours after talking with a young couple who is trying to decide between an apartment and a home BEFORE they even get married and talking with another guy who was showing me his brand new car.

Don't get me wrong. I don't fault any of them. I fault ALL of them...ALL of us. How can we choose to ignore the reality that we live in a land of waste and opulence while we literally have the potential to change lives. I'll let Katie's words tell you more (hope she doesn't mind):

I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful, the Body of Christ is failing. And its not just me who thinks this. When I'm angry, I like to research so that I can at least feel a bit justified in my rage ;) According to several different resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress Jane wore today...) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.

That is 168.8 million needy children like Michael and Patricia. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel livers. And if only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.

Are you listening yet? Are you understanding my pain? Are you feeling the frustration of Katie and thousands more like her who understand what the Kingdom of God is REALLY all about? More importantly, are you feeling the pain of Christ as He hurts for each of these?

My family has committed to making some changes. No, we will not get it right. There will be times when our selfish Western attitude will kick in and Jesus will lose. (You see, I'm finally beginning to understand that when I win, He loses but when He wins, I win big.) I pray that He keeps our failures to a minimum and that His grace covers us when we choose not to obey. I pray that Ermias and John (our two Compassion international kids) feel the love that God has for them through the things we provide. I pray that you and I--the Jesus followers--will understand the seriousness of God's Word when James writes:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV

Here's a link to Katie's blog if you are interested in reading more:


Beth Clark said...

Ridley: I've been following katie's blog for a while now and am in such a place of brokenness for the orphans and impoverished. I know that our family is embracing this reality as we'll be serving so many in this category soon-but until we're in Bangkok, I'm no longer OK with just sitting back and feeling sad for "the least of these". Thank you for posting a blog that will hopefully spark the urgency in so many to start doing something. There's so much we can be doing as a if each family started bring what would be their weekly starbucks spending money-into church..we could probably sponsor several more children!!! Just a thought!

Traci Jenkins said...

YES YES YES!!!!! we are doing a CrazyLove campaign right now to build an orphange in Haiti. Little more involved than that but SO TRUE. Michael and I decided this past month to take money each month to set aside in a separate saving account for the child (or more) that we plan to adopt soon. Why wait until we're ready to start sacrificing when we already know God has called us to do this and we can sacrifice TODAY?? It's overwhelming when you see the need out there but every small bit matters. Living out sacrifice is the true challenge - evaluating how much STUFF we have that we can GIVE UP to simplify and pour into to another's live has to be daily, weekly, and monthly! will be praying for you guys - always do :) you're still on the fridge :)