Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Hope of Christ

Posted by Hello
Some time ago I received a letter from Voice of the Martyrs asking me how their ministry has changed my life. I have yet to answer that letter, because in my mind there is little outward manifestation of change in my life. Inwardly, I think a lot more, and purchasing decisions do not come as quickly for me. I have little to show for it outwardly, other than increased giving, because I find myself at a loss for what to do. Yesterday, we received an email from a friend who is a pastor in Uganda. He had just returned from a trip to Rwanda with countless stories of hardship and poverty for orphans from the genocide. Many of these children do not receive any medical attention because they cannot afford healthcare - healthcare that costs only $1 (US) per year per child! That is the cost of one cup of coffee at Starbucks! Again, we find ourselves put to shame as we whine about our insignificant problems. There was another story of a 41 year old woman who had been widowed and left with 6 children. Those children have no beds, pillows, or blankets, and their clothes are tattered. How many of us have too many clothes? Are we stealing from the poor by hoarding? Like it or not, the answer is all too often yes. You won't hear these stories on US news programs. No, we are more interested in glamorizing child molestation cases such as Michael Jackson's. You will only hear passing comments about the genocide that is currently going on in Darfur, and you will hear even less about the persecution of Christians in the Sudan. Christians need to be informed about world events, but that is becoming increasingly difficult as the media is flooded with fluff and twaddle. So what are we to do in response to needs that are so great? Go through our closets and give to charitable organizations clothes that no longer fit, you dislike, or have not worn in over a year. Prayerfully consider how much money you spend on entertainment - books, CD's, movies, concerts, ball games. Money saved by spending more wisely can be given to organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs or World Vision While my family is considering a trip to Uganda next year, this is not practical for everyone. We can pray for those serving our Lord, and we can seek to minister to those closest to us. But, what are we doing in our own communities? How well do we know our neighbors? Too often Christians turn their noses up at individuals who are going through a painful divorce or are suffering with an addiction to gambling or pornography instead of seeking to help. I am not suggesting that anyone attempt to be a savior, but I am suggesting that we see the hurt and hunger in our neighbors' eyes and offer them the hope of Christ.

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