We went to a Christian music festival last week. During the breaks, in between bands, speakers for certain organizations came up and told us about their causes. This was my either year there, but for some reason, what they said really struck me this time.
One man told of a time when he went to a poor country in Africa. He was in a garbage dump and this little boy in rags was digging around in the trash. The boy found something, picked it up, shook it, and then put it in his mouth. The man was shocked. This young boy had just eaten something that wasn't even recognizable.
So, there I sat tonight at a restaurant, looking at my pizza, thinking that this boy would probably get a week's, if not a month's, worth of food out of it. What the five of us ate for dinner could have fed fifty young children in a Third World country. And I can almost guarantee they would have been more grateful than us.
At the music festival, World Vision had this "challenge" for us. They wanted a whole village of children in Mozambique to be sponsored by the festival attendants. There are at least ten thousand people there every year. Last year about 500 children were sponsored. That's five percent. This year they were hoping for us to sponsor the remaining 1200+.
Now, let's put this into perspective. It costs $35 dollars a month, which provides these children with schooling, clothes, medical care, food and other necessities. What does it cost us? One less shirt. Two fewer CDs. No cell phone. Cable downgrade. Skipping eating out three or four times. What do we lose? Almost nothing. And what do they gain?
But how many people realized this? Only five percent. Tickets to the festival cost $120 and that doesn't include the accommodations for four days there. I'm willing to guess that all the food thrown away and wasted by us all at the festival could have given the whole village food for a couple days. Last year, I'm ashamed to say, I bought a sweatshirt for $45. That could have supplied a poverty stricken preschooler's vital needs for over a month.
We are so spoiled in this culture.
There was a torrential downpour the last night of the concerts, canceling and delaying some of the bands. I prayed all day that it wouldn't rain, and when it started, that it would stop. But it didn't. Selfishly, I asked God, why. Why did it have to rain on the day when almost everyone there was praying that it wouldn't? Couldn't it just rain the next day?
Later though, I was appalled by this way of thinking. Several girls carried around signs all day that said, Pray For No Rain. It seemed so right, so spiritual, but did it really matter? What if people carried around signs that said, Prayerfully Consider Sponsoring A Child. Imagine the difference. One of the speakers rightfully pointed out that most of us will eat ice cream cones without praying about it. We'll eat something unhealthy, that's making us fat, without asking God, but when it comes to giving a child a total different life, we stall and spit the lines we've been taught.
This is just one small example of the gross standard of living that our country operates under. It's the accepted. It's the expected. It is the norm. Something has to change. This is not the life we are to live, in Christ. Jesus told us the story of the good Samaritan. Are we going to keep walking along like the temple worker? Or are we going to stop and see the need, and love our neighbor as ourselves? After all, this is the second commandment.
We can make a difference and a change. Let's start with me. Next is you.
Here are some ways you can sacrifice and be involved:
-Instead of buying CD and hats for birthday and Christmas, buy a gift from the Samaritan's purse catalog in someone's honor.
-Take the money you would spend on soda, coffee and other beverages for a month and give it to Blood:Water Mission. $1 will give an African water for a whole year.
-Downsize your clothing or entertainment spending and sponsor a child from World Vision or Compassion International. You can even write letters back and forth with your child.
The best thing about these causes is that they spread the gospel too, which is the living water and the bread of life.
There are so many other things you can do. There are so many things we can sacrifice. There is an abundance of worthy causes to give to. Please consider making a change in your life, to help others.