Reading stories about hurting people in many countries makes me pause to give thanks for what I enjoy. Thousands of people in all age groups try to escape crime and starvation by entering another country – often facing new challenges of lack of employment, housing and education.
I am impressed by the efforts of churches to offer help to as many people as possible. It must cause daily heartbreak to try to assist while realizing that the majority continue to go without help. It hurts to think about children going to bed hungry and missing the opportunity to attend school.
As I pondered this reality, I began to list the many privileges I enjoy and the easy life I have as a pastor. I live with Carol in a lovely home surrounded by neighbors who look out for each other. If anyone is going to bed hungry in our neighborhood, it is because they lack the initiative to find employment or to pursue the help that is available.
Many churches coordinate with other helping agencies to provide food boxes and assist with other emergencies. People offer help to students with their education. Others provide career guidance. There now appears to be employment available for anyone who is willing and able to work. And there are facilities to care for people who cannot provide for themselves.While there are pockets of poverty in our country, the majority of Americans are living in luxury compared to much of the world. We discard more food than some people have for survival. We have freedom of worship and seldom feel persecuted for what we believe. We have advocates when accused falsely. When we get lost or face medical emergencies, immediate care and assistance are available.
We have an amazing educational system as well as apprentice programs. It is difficult to imagine a comparable place on Planet Earth where dreams can be pursued with confidence of reaching their fulfillment. And while there is a lot of brokenness in our judicial system, one can still face false accusations with reasonable confidence of a fair trial and vindication. That is not true in many parts of the world.
My mind travels to what I read about a pastor and his wife in Colombia who share their very limited resources with people who have come to their area for a better life. They provide meals, tutor children who cannot attend school, and lead Bible studies where people can find answers to prepare them for eternity. Their example motivates me to make better use of what I have and to pray for their safety and health to do what God has entrusted to them.
I have no explanation for why I get to enjoy so much when so many people have so little. I did not earn this and I do not deserve it. But I am continually grateful.