Friday, October 5, 2007

Knowing is half the battle? What's the other half?

As a church, we are doing "40 Days to a More Generous Life" which is VERY convicting! Then, this morning, I went to Katy's blog and read her post about poverty in Africa. I know, I know, you guys think I'm a "one note johnny" (as the phrase goes!).

So, let's start with knowledge. They say that "knowing is half the battle". "Knowledge breeds responsibility". "Once you know. . ."

One report from the World Bank, stated 80% of people living in extreme poverty live on the continent of Africa. 16, 000 children die EVERY DAY of hunger related causes... that's one child every 3 seconds.

I know what you're thinking, "what is this? A save the children infomercial?" Well, to bring it a bit closer to home. . .

This is my friend, Amy's, little girl, Ruby. This was taken in march of THIS YEAR! She is now home with her family, growing and thriving. She is alive b/c Amy and her family acted on the knowledge they heard. . .one step closer. . .

This is MY SON, Davis. Donna told me that when his birth mother brought him to the orphanage, she said "I can't feed him, can you find someone who can?"

God's Word says, in Matthew 25:31-45. . .(I quoted the whole thing, b/c I knew the first half. It's a commonly quoted passage. However, as harsh as it may sound, the last half is what really put me in my place)
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

So, if KNOWLEDGE is half the battle. . .maybe ACTION is the other half. If you are a believer, change Action to OBEDIENCE. God's call to feed the hungry is pretty clear. Yet, we are failing. Katy wrote that "Islam is spreading through Africa, providing clean, free water, schools, education, and food. Meanwhile the number of Christians missionaries to Africa is decreasing each year and the gospel that rooted in the hearts of many tribal groups has long been forgotten and is no longer preached.". Oh, that breaks my heart. Lord, what are you calling me to? Here I am, if it is your will, send me! WE are the ones who have seen the ultimate generosity. WE are the ones who experience Peace, Joy and Fullness of Life b/c of your generosity. Yet, we are not known to be a generous people. Waitresses don't even want to work on Sunday's because the tips are so bad. If we can't be generous with $2, how will you ever awaken our hearts to what is happening halfway across the world. Lord, change us! "Let our lights so shine before men THAT they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven" (Matt. 5:16)

Today in our study, we read James 2:15-16 "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" I think this can be likened to "Oh, that's so awful, but I don't have the kind of money that can make a difference. . .now, what's for dinner tonight? Honey, do we have weekend plans?"

Do I think we can eradicate poverty? NO. Jesus stated that "the poor we will always have with us". Do we have to have tons of money? NO. In fact, Acres of Hope, for example can feed a child for a year for $10. They can send a child to school (with lunch) for $50 a year. But, this isn't about what we can do. It's not even about ending world hunger. Giving to the poor, feeding the hungry, is about OUR hearts. It's about our obedience. It's about being a light to a dying world (both literally and figuratively) so that they may see Jesus.

Now that you know. . .the questions lies, what are you going to do about it?

hint: expect a post within a couple of days with some suggestions of things the Lord is laying on my heart to do. . .that is, if you want ideas. . .


blessedmommy said...

Wow . . . I'm in tears. Your post really says it all. I know that most people just don't get it, including Christians. Thank you for being a voice for the "very least of these".
In Christ,
Melissa Arnold (AOH family)

Scott and Katy said...

AMEN, my sister!

Love ya,

Mom of 3 said...

I'm in tears. :( No child should have to be alone like that. What you are doing is amazing. truly amazing.

GUNNY said...

A powerful post indeed.

Thanks for sharing.

Soli Deo gloria,