Who Are We?
(Guest post by my 16 year old daughter Emily)
Why don’t we care?
As Christians, we are meant to care. Care for the broken, the hopeless, the least of these. The ones who feel worthless. The ones who feel unloved. The mistreated ones, the used ones, the ones with broken hearts. The ones no one else desires or dares to care for.
We are meant to love. Be love, show love, share love, spread love.
We are meant to serve. To give our lives away because it was never ever ever supposed to be about us.
We are meant to be Jesus. To walk him out in every action, every thought, every spoken word.
Yet we don’t do it. At least, not in the way we’re supposed to.
We sit, day after day, in our comfortable, air conditioned, extravagantly decorated houses, with our closets overflowing with clothes and our beds piled high with pillows and our iPhones and iPods and iPads and flatscreen TVs and laptops, and we say we love Jesus. We go to church once or twice a week and pick up and peruse our Bibles every now and then, and we say we’re Christ-followers.
And yet there are children and families living in poverty all over the word. In fact, for some of these people, poverty is too weak a word.
These people have less than nothing.
These children are dressed in rags (if they’re lucky), begging for a few pennies to purchase meager scraps of food, and going to bed hungry for the millionth time because their parents can’t afford food. Or maybe they don’t even have parents.
Here are a few statistics for you.
Over 16,000 children die of hunger-related causes every day.
Another 3,000 will die from malaria (a disease both preventable and treatable) in that same time period.
150 million children worldwide are child laborers; 60% of these 11 years old or younger.
50 million of these are doing what is considered “hazardous work.”
1.2 million children are trafficked as slaves and prostitutes every single year.
Think about that last one for a moment. 1.2 million. A year.
And we, we who claim to love Jesus with everything in our lives, what are we doing?
Next to nothing.
Who are we to do nothing?
Do we really think this is okay?
If we do, we’re wrong.
Because it’s most definitely not okay.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus has to say on this matter.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:31-44 ESV
That is thought provoking. When was the last time you assisted one of the least of these? When was the last time you thought outside of Facebook and the latest TV show and drama at school and wondered about what you could do to help those in your neighborhood, your city, or in Third World countries?
If you can’t remember, you may have a problem.
When was the last time you really took verses like Matthew 10:39 or Matthew 16:24-26 or Matthew 20:26-28 or Matthew 23:12 or Matthew 28:18-20 or Mark 8:34-37 or Mark 16:15 or Luke 6:31 or Luke 9:23-26 or Luke 14:33 or Luke 18:22 or about half of John 14-16 to heart?
Jesus says that if we want to be His disciples, we MUST take up our crosses and follow Him. There is no “if you want” or “if you feel called.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, emphasis mine.)
And where does Jesus command us to have a life of ease? A life of comfort zones and staying inside the box?
Don’t bother searching. The answer is nowhere.
Who are we to say and live otherwise?
In preschool, we give our children coloring sheets and instruct them to stay inside the lines. But you know what? Those children never stay inside the lines. Their pictures are nothing but brightly colored scribbles, with orange sky and blue grass and purple skin. And you know what else? The most beautiful pictures I’ve seen are the ones that don’t stay in the lines.
It’s the same way with our lives. From our earliest days we are trained to follow those before us and to never ever stray outside those invisible lines into something new, something untested.
But the ones that didn’t listen, the ones that picked up a color that wasn’t supposed to go in that place and scribbled outside of the lines… those are the ones whose lives became something beautiful, something meaningful.
The disciples colored outside when they left their jobs and their homes and families to follow and eventually die for Jesus.
The early Christians colored outside when they bravely stood up for Christ in the face of horrific persecution.
David Brainerd colored outside when he died early from tuberculosis while ministering to Indians.
Jim Elliot colored outside when he and his friends went to Ecuador and were killed by those they were trying to minister to.
His wife did the same when she returned and lived among those who had killed her husband.
Amy Carmichael colored outside when she moved to India and spent the whole of her life helping orphans.
Katie Davis is coloring outside while she lives in Uganda as a single mom with thirteen adopted daughters… oh, and also heads up a sponsorship program called Amazina that takes care of over 600 other children.
Who are we to say that these people are crazy? Because we do. Lives like these are considered “radical” or “crazy” in today’s society. But they were never meant to be. Lives like these, lives that have been taken and transformed by Jesus, should be normal. The crazy ones should be the Christians who don’t care.
We aren’t meant to stay inside the lines. We aren’t meant to hide in our comfort zones and watch everyone else do the jobs we were created to do.
We are meant to love.
And how can we love if we stay here and do nothing?
How can we love if, in reality, we don’t really care?
Who are we not to care?
That’s what I want to scream. That’s what I want to scream to my friends who are all wrapped up in boys and parties and secular music and to that man down the road who has a house so big he has servant’s quarters and to that girl at youth group who says she just wants to get rich. HOW?!
How can you think those things are important?
How on earth can that be your concern when every day thousands of children are mistreated or abandoned or abused or half-starved or raped or demeaned or told they’re worth nothing or even killed? And we could do something if we really cared enough to try?
Because there’s no getting around this fact: If we cared, truly cared, we wouldn’t just say it.
We would do something.
I’m not saying everyone should drop everything and move to a foreign country. I know that, for a variety of reasons, some people just can’t. But that shouldn’t stop you from caring. You shouldn’t let that jade you. There are ways you can help if you’re open. Sponsor. Adopt. Give to charity. Help the homeless in your own community.
Be Jesus to the least of these.
JUST DO IT!
Who are we to deny children of safety when we could give it to them?
Who are we to deny children of love when we have more than enough?
Who are we to deny children of food and medical care that we can give easily?
I’m sick and tired of words like “normal” and “easy” and “average” and “me.” I’m ready for word like “radical” and “love” and “crazy” and “you.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, emphasis mine.)
There are those who don’t know anything of that abundant love.
Who are we, who have it, to sit still and keep it from them?