Americans, and specifically American Christians, are greatly blessed to live in a country founded on God and blessed by God.
Well, we’re blessed… so far…
Consider a few facts*:
- One-fourth of the world’s people live on an income of less than $1 a day—most of them in Asia. The gross national income per person in South Asia is only $460 a year. Americans earn an average of 77 times more—and Christian Americans, because we tend to live in the upper half of the economy, earn even more. While much of the world is concerned mainly about where its next meal is coming from, affluent North Americans spend most of our wages and waking moments planning unnecessary purchases.
- We have freedom of choice. Political freedoms of speech, press and assembly, freedom to worship and organize religious ministries, freedom to choose where and how to live, and freedom to organize ourselves to correct injustices and problems both domestically and abroad are accepted as normal.
- Leisure time and disposable income, although not written into law, free citizens of the Western world from the basic wants that make living so difficult in many other parts of the world.
- A large number of service networks in communications, education, finance, mass media and transportation are available that make it easy to effect change. Not having these services available is an enormous handicap to people in most other parts of the world.
- Finally, few domestic needs exist [in North America]. Although unemployment is a serious problem in some areas, it is many times higher in nearly every country in the Two-Thirds World. How many of us can comprehend the suffering of the millions of the homeless and starving people in nations like Bangladesh? Overseas the problems are on a grand scale.
What does God require of His people? We know all of the commandments are summed up into two: “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and “Love others as yourself.” We know that Jesus spoke A LOT about taking care of the poor: “When you’ve done it [fed, clothed, visited] one of these [hungry, naked, imprisoned], you’ve done it to Me.” And we know He has commanded us to “go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
How do I do this from where I sit, on my comfy couch typing on my nifty laptop? And if I don’t love, care and share, what is my fate? “’I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
So again: How do I help from where I sit?
Here are some options to consider:
Pray! But don’t stop there!
- Sponsor a child.
- Sponsor a national missionary in the Two-Thirds World.
- Finance an orphan’s adoption.
- Support a foster care agency.
- Join a prison ministry.
- Commit part of your finances to any Christian organization that has feet on the ground successfully carrying out God’s mandate.
- Invest in others: Make a micro-loan.
And if you have time you can spend, consider volunteering at a local:
- Soup kitchen or homeless shelter
- Elder care facility
An authority on this subject, K.P. Yohannan* says, “If the Apostle Paul had not brought the Gospel to Europe, foundational principles such as freedom and human dignity would not be part of the American heritage. Because the Holy Spirit instructed him to turn away from Asia and go West, America has been blessed with its systems of law and economics—the principles that made it rich and free. . . . . But along with privilege comes a responsibility. The Christian must ask not only why, but also what he should do with these unearned favors. Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: Sharing. God gives some people more than they need so that they can be channels of blessing to others.”
I would like to explore these areas deeper in the coming weeks.
What do you do to share? What should you do? What can you do?
Let me know.