The book I'm currently reading, "The Hole in our Gospel" has been quite sobering. And eye-opening. The author basically describes poverty as a lack of not only material goods--but also a lack of options. The truly oppressed have little opportunity for choices.
Think about all the choices I've made today--and I've not yet crawled out of my warm bed to dress and start the day. I chose what time Greg would bring me my morning latte. I chose to take an aspirin to relieve my headache. I chose to use indoor plumbing to access drinking water (and take care of other needs).
I chose to put on my (very expensive) glasses so I could check all the emails and other messages that came in during the night. I chose to read several Bible passages online and then share my insights with my online bible bus stop buddies. I chose to turn on the heater to take the chill off the room and put on my fuzzy robe while I sit in my cozy, dry room and listen to the rain falling outside . . .
Shortly, I will get up and choose which outfit to wear to the garden and then Home Depot today. I will choose what to eat for breakfast from a well-stocked pantry. I will choose to drive my miata to the store of my choice to get more grub . . . all these choices will happen before lunchtime today.
Over 26,000 children will die today because of their lack of choices. The basic necessities of life that we take for granted are not an option for these kids. Clean water doesn't exist; nor does food, shelter, safety or medicine. Even if the kids survive, there's no job options or education.
My dog has more choices than these children do . . . and will most likely be alive at the end of the day.
I know that many of us have "compassion fatigue"--the numbness that shrouds the heart in our affluent, choice-laden culture. We are so bombarded with statistics and images of the dead and dying around the planet that we feel impotent--and very distant--from each day's new disaster.
So we make the choice to just look the other way . . .
Our recent trip to Africa put faces to the statistics and I can no longer look away. I recently made the choice to sponsor a little girl with AIDs, and my small investment will help Kevin choose a better future--and God willing, a longer life.
You can choose, too. If you don't know where to start, I know a lot of precious children at the Uganda Jesus Village in Kampala. Make Way Partners is another ministry I support--this organization helps to rescue women and children from unspeakable abuse in the Congo and other regions.
Our choice to get involved will enable others to choose life. We can choose to make a difference.
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?