Sometimes I feel sick to my stomach when I hear stories about how little it takes to help someone, and yet they remain unhelped. Rob Bell tells a story about this women who got a small business loan and how it transformed her life and her families life and was able to provide for the people under her care and it was all because of this loan. The loan’s worth; $75. I then think about all the seventy-five dollar purchases I’ve made in my life and feel sick about how brutally I’ve spent it. Here are some of the things I’ve spent $75 on:
– T-shirt and Jeans
– Monthly Car Insurance
– 24 DVD Series Seasons 1-5
– My bi-monthly web hosting fees
– Cable and Internet
– Dinner at a fancy restaurant for Rachel and I
After looking at that list, I surprise myself at my lack of energy I put into spending my money wisely. I could very well blame it on my lack of knowledge, because it is true, even if I did want to give a small business loan to someone to help kick start their life, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I could blame it on our culture, after all when we live in our culture it is just more expensive and we have different needs. I could blame it on many things, but all my justifications are coming back to haunt me. I just started reading “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger” by Ron Sider. I’m one chapter in and I’m floored by some of the statistics like this one:
“UNICEF estimates that the total cost of providing basic social serves in the developing countries, including health, education, family planning, and clean water, would cost $30 to $40 billion per year. The rich of this world spend more than this on golf each year.”
How are we as Christians supposed to live in a way that we live justly and not just merciful. I want to help the rejects and the products of a systems that injures and spits out broken people but now more than ever I want to help change the system. How are we to do it? I feel that Jesus holds the answer, but I’m way too nervous to actually do what he says. I’m way too good at justifying it to myself that what Jesus says really isn’t what he means either. He doesn’t actually want us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor does he? I’m feeling convicted yet lost at the same time. I know my lifestyle needs to change even more and I know that there is such a long way for me to go before I actually start affecting the system, but I don’t know where to go next. I’m broken at the state of our world, it hurts to see people in agony and it makes no sense that I am so happy. I want to use my position, my gifts and my talents to actually change this system that hurts so many but I don’t know where to start.
“Imagine what one quarter of the world’s Christians could do if they became truly generous. A few of us could move to desperately poor areas. The rest of us could defy surrounding materialism. We could refuse to let our affluent world squeeze us into its consumerisitic mold. Instead, we could become generous non-conformists who love Jesus more than wealth. In obedience to our Lord, we could empower the poor through small loans, community development, and better societal systems. And in the process, we would learn again this paradoxical truth that true happiness flows from generosity.”
Looks like a good start.