Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Day Three Reflection: Children of the World by DAVID PETERSONS

Children should have parents. They should have someone mature in their lives who will look after them, provide for them, and protect them. Children should be able to go to a school where they can learn and use that knowledge to one day support a family of their own. But, in places like Africa, these common blessings are simply not there for most children. There, nine and ten year olds are heading up families where the parents have died of AIDS. Children either walk many miles to the nearest school, or they are not able to go at all. Young women, many still children themselves and finding no other way to support their siblings, are turning to prostitution or are forced into it. These are the facts whether we like it or not. We can’t deny it doesn’t happen. But, for the most part, I don’t think we do deny it. But then, since we accept it, shouldn’t we then have some sort of response?

As I have wrestled with these facts and how I should respond to them, a few questions have arisen that I can’t ignore. Questions like, why was I born into a loving, stable family where food, clothing, a roof over my head, and a future is a given, while these other kids my age have to drink water that could make them sick and beg or dig through trash to find some piece of food? Why was I put in a country where our government seeks to protect us while kids living in countries like Sudan have rebel groups, aided by the government, to raid villages and kill all who live there? It just doesn’t seem like God was fair when he caused some to suffer so much while He gave others so much luxury and opportunity.

But, then I start to wonder why He blesses some. Was it so we can live comfortably and wait for our eternal estate? I think as Christians, that would be the worst possible way to use God’s blessings and the greatest injustice of our time. Scripture clearly tells us of the importance of helping the poor and needy. In Psalm 10:14, God is said to be the “helper of the fatherless” who has compassions for the suffering of the least of His creation. In Proverbs 31:8, He tells us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” If God is so blatantly clear about who He is and who we need to care for, wouldn’t He equip us to do so? So, couldn’t that be why He blesses us? So we can bless others? But, oh the excuses we come up with. Sure, we shouldn’t be foolish with the blessings God has given us, but if God gave it to us for a reason, don’t you think He would also care for those who follow His commandments?

Christ did not come to those who were trusting in their own perfection. He came for those who had run out of hope. He was the one who visited the needy and oppressed. He was the one who shared the wellspring of life with the prostitutes. And, He commanded His disciples, also, to serve the neediest in society. There are many ways we can justify our efforts and numerous sources that can give us direction, but we turn to Jesus, Himself where He said in Matthew 25, that when we help the least of this world, we help our Lord. We must not turn our backs on the opportunity God has given us in life when we know it can make a difference and this is what God has called us to do. We are called to obey and bless.

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