I have always known that as Christians we are supposed to care for people who are hungry, poor, sick, widowed.... but until recently that knowledge didn't have much effect on my life. I had this idea that I only had to help if someone crossed my path. I'm not that likely to encounter those struggling with poverty, persecution, untreated illness, hunger, or war - so thinking this way, even subconsciously, was a pretty easy way out. However, Jesus says:
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." (Matthew 25:34-36)
|Photo from Compassion Intl.|
- 26, 575 children die EVERY DAY of largely preventable causes related to their poverty.
- 9 MILLION people die each year due to hunger or related causes.
- Many underdeveloped countries have unemployment rates as high as 75%!
- Approx 2 million CHILDREN are part of the growing commercial sex trade.
- In 2010 there were 42 different conflicts being waged around the world.
(All references from The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, 2010)
First things first - get past the idea that just because you are one person you can't do anything. One of the best things about the book The Hole in Our Gospel was reading about all the different people who made a difference simply by doing SOMETHING. Don't let the scope of the problem paralyze you.
Secondly, consider what resources you have to give in these three areas: Time, Talent, and Treasure. Don't just think of talent as something like "writing" or "singing", but all the life experiences that make up you - where you live, struggles you've gone through in the past, passions you have - those are all things that you can use in the fight against poverty.
|Photo from Compassion Intl.|
- Get the word out in your social circle:
- Write a blog post about the issues of poverty, health, or injustice.
- Share a post someone else has written. (Like this one!)
- Start a "Simple Club" of friends to encourage and swap ideas about how to cut costs in your own life to help in the lives of others.
- Hang a world map up in your living room.
- Mark on the map where Christians are imprisoned. Learn about the countries they are in and the laws which led to their persecution. Pray for them.
- When you hear about a natural disaster, look up where the country/city is on the map. Pray for the people in that area.
- If you sponsor a child, mark down on the map where they are from. Learn about their country, including the challenges their nation faces. Write them letters and tell them about what you're doing.
- Live more simply:
- Eat rice and beans for a week for dinner. Talk as a family about what it was like. Donate the money you save to an organization that helps those in poverty.
- Set aside a certain percentage of your income to give to a charitable organization each month.
- Sponsor a child through World Vision, Compassion, or another reputable organization.