“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa
I’d like to share a few things with you this week on poverty. If you are anything like me, I find myself ignoring the fact that there are hungry people in this world because it seems much easier than feeling guilty about it. I often times wonder … “Can I make a difference?” What I do know is that poverty in many parts of the world is far worse than most Americans (including me) understand. Here are a few statistics …
- Only 10% of the people in the world can afford a car … (so I shouldn’t be griping about gas prices).
- Over 3 billion people, about half the world’s population, live on less than $2.50 a day. 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. The average American (.3 billion) lives on $105 a day.
- According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty.
- My 8 year-old son, Cooper, never goes to bed hungry unless he refuses to eat something he doesn’t like. In developing countries, approximately 850 million people go to bed hungry every night and search for creative ways to ignore their discomfort, like the little boy who grew up in India who remembered his mother telling him to sleep on his stomach because it helped quell the hunger pains.
- Twenty percent of the world has no access to clean water. Millions more walk long distances to carry every drop of water to their homes.
Here are some things to think about …
- You and I spent 15 billion dollars on bottled water last year, despite the clean water we have that flows from the faucet in our sinks.
- You and I spent 12 billion dollars on storage facilities last year to store our extra worldly possessions that we don’t have room for in our homes.
- Economists said last year’s Christmas season was a downer. Yet we somehow still spent 470.4 billion dollars. Now understand that is 11 million dollars a minute that we spent between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I’m not trying to make you feel guilty … but compared to everyone else, we’re rich! Chan was right when he said in his book Crazy Love, “It’s ridiculous that on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves “broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things. We are filthy rich.”
Here are a few things the Bible says about money …
- “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2:15-16
- “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
- “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18,
- “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Luke 3:11
So what can we do? What’s being done? What’s the church’s responsibility? Glad you asked …
Tuesday & Wednesday, I’m going to share with you two inspirational stories of what kids are doing to feed and help hungry people. They are inspirations to me.
Thursday, I’m going to suggest some things you might do to help, and you can share with me some ways you know to help.
You’re going to love tomorrow’s story. And if you are interested, here’s my sermon from yesterday on the same topic.