In my last post, I asked you to think about what you were thankful for besides the normally-cited things like God, family, friends, health, job, house, and car.
Did you think of some things?
Know that you are lucky to be able to give thanks for those things. There are millions, perhaps billions, of people in the world without them.
I try not to talk about religion on my blog too often because I know I have several readers who do not share my beliefs, and I do not want to alienate anyone. But the truth is, those beliefs are a big part of who I am and are my motivation behind a lot of my actions. It’s impossible for me to leave religion totally out of here, so bear with me if you’re not the religious type.
I often hear people wonder how an all-loving God can rule over a world where 23,000+ children die every day of starvation and other causes traced back to preventable poverty. How God can play any part in a world where women are raped and abused, where governments smother their citizens, where the senseless and cruel seem to have the upper hand a little too often.
I do not know. I can’t attempt to explain the answers.
But I do know that this world is a whole lot more interconnected than we often think. I do know that there are enough resources in the world to meet every need. I do believe that when we ask for things in prayer, we don’t always get what we want. And sometimes when we expect God to show up in a mighty way, He doesn’t. But sometimes He sends His people who do.
Sometimes a teenager will be thinking about taking his life and will get a knock on the door at just the right time. Sometimes a woman will show up to work with bruises on her neck and a concerned coworker will ask just the right questions. Sometimes we rich Americans will send a few dollars overseas, where our spare change can save lives.
What were you thankful for? Clean water? Find a way to help those who don’t have it. A stable upbringing? Find a way to mentor a youth who isn’t so lucky, or start praying if foster care or adoption is something you’re supposed to be doing. A stable government? Think of ways you can support a military family or three. Your beloved pets? There are millions in shelters that need love and donations. The ability to see, hear, and speak? Find a way to get involved with someone who can’t. Shoes and coats and mittens to keep warm? Have a drive and see how many you can donate. The rights we have in this country? Help a new refugee learn about them.
The options are unlimited. So often we don’t really think about what we have. When we do think about what we have, we might say a quick thank you and then move on with our lives. We fail to see the truth in Luke’s words “When someone has been given much, much more will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Really, haven’t we all been given a LOT? Isn’t it our duty, our responsibility, to give some of that back in whatever way we can? Not just a $5 in the offering plate or running a charity race or the donation of our old clothes that no longer fit, but to really give back in a way that makes a real difference? There are soooo many areas of need. Pick one that speaks to your heart and make it a 2012 goal to get more involved.
And no excuses about how you don’t have enough time, or enough money, or how it is uncomfortable. Where are your priorities? Is there an hour of The Real Housewives you can cut out? How about that lunch out every week, how much will you have to give if you bring left overs instead? Little changes can have a significant impact. I don’t want anyone feeling guilty for not being able to help in the ways they want to (I’d LOVE to do more than I am currently doing), but I also want everyone to take an honest look at how they spend their time and money. Are you giving your left over time and money, or are you making giving a priority?
So how will you get involved?
Set clear goals for yourself. Make it a part of your resolution this year. Make it a way of life.
A passion of mine, if you haven’t already figured it out, is world poverty overall, and specifically orphan care. We currently give money here and there to organizations that share those concerns, but I want to do more. There is at least one local nonprofit that I want to learn more about. I want to spend time helping these causes. I want to make a difference. My personal goals include researching the best ways to get involved over the next month or so, and I want to be taking action by February. I’m not quite sure yet how that will look, but I’ll keep you posted. Please keep me accountable.
The truth is, YOU might be the answer to someone’s prayer. You just have to act.