I don’t need to tell you that the world is a very uneven, unequal place.
Unfair too. Take a look at this interesting but disturbing infographic video if you can:
What a mess! And how about these shocking facts about the state of our global home:
- Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day;
- 3 billion people have no access to sanitation and 2 billion people have no access to electricity.
- The average ‘blue collar’ worker today earns about $7,50 per hour. The average multinational corporate CEO or MD earns over $1500 per hour. Over 200 times more!
- A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water.
- The GDP of the poorest 48 countries (quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s 3 richest people.
- At least 15 people starve to death every minute. Mostly children. Meanwhile, obesity is rapidly increasing globally. Currently, over a billion people are overweight.
If you really stare these statistics in the face or surround yourself with the world news, life on our blue planet is pretty depressing and overwhelming. I’ve realised, though, that luckily we humans have a built in coping mechanism – for the most part, we don’t see much further than our own days and lives. I guess it protects us from being totally overcome by some of the miseries and pain of this fallen world. Built in tunnel vision to keep our eyes from seeing anything more than occasional glimpses of the suffering that God must see and feel every day.
The down side of this human attribute is that over time, we can so easily forget about the kind of situations highlighted above. Think about it – until now, did you think about or pray for any of those hungry children who are going to starve to death today? Did you feel compassion for that homeless beggar you probably went past this morning? I know I didn’t. It seems that our self-protecting narrow vision makes us pretty narrow minded and selfish too. We tend to forget about our neighbor (in the broad sense of the word). As someone who tries to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, this really concerns me. He tells me to love my neighbor as myself, yet a lot of the time I am not thinking beyond myself.
Someone once said:
I believe He will do both in one go when we intentionally broaden our view, lift our eyes and get out there! More than distant acts of charity… concrete acts of love. It is too easy for Christians to admire and benefit from knowing Jesus without doing what He said and what He did. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. We can easily applaud what he preached and stood for… without actually caring for others like He did. So we have to get out there.
Taking it even further, he says this weird thing towards the end of his life in the book of Matthew:
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Think about that. Basically, Jesus is asking me to feed him, clothe Him, visit Him and comfort Him. Whatever smelly or irritating or ungrateful disguise He may be wearing. Jesus urges us who claim to follow Him to go into the world and find the poor, hungry, homeless and imprisoned and to love them as we love ourselves. As challenging as this is, it inspires me to lift my head and face the blues of this planet head on.
Over and over, when I feel overwhelmed and ask God why this world is so full of injustice and hardship and lovelessness, I sense him whisper gently back to me,
“Good question. YOU tell ME why. You are my body, my hands, my feet and my voice in the world. And yet…”