My neighbors here in Aurora are poor, many lacking adequate nutrition. Most have no savings and struggle day-to-day just to provide the basics of food, clothing and shelter. When a medical need pops up it becomes a crisis. Infections or life-saving operations can’t be ignored, yet solutions for these families are few. Because they have a need that can’t wait, they are forced to sell their land and possessions for a fraction of their true value to predators with money. Many turn to money lenders and borrow what is needed at outrageous interest rates (typically 10-20% per month!) and are left with debt that they can’t escape.
The struggle I’m having today is with my Christian brothers and sisters in America, who, even though they don’t recognize their affluence, seem to have no sense of obligation to respond to suffering taking place beyond their own community. They lavish whatever they want on themselves (at the expense of others.) One less Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte each week could feed a hungry family or send a child to school to help break the cycle of poverty, yet the latte remains the priority. One less meal at Longhorn’s Steak house each month could do the same. I see the Facebook posts of my friends back in the US and weep. One just got back from a refreshing cruise in the Bahamas this week, while another couple is planning a late winter Caribbean vacation. Another just bought a new boat. They act as though the money being used for such extravagance belongs to them! IT DOESN”T! Psalm 24:1 says: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Why do we forget that we are stewards, entrusted with what belongs to God? We will be required to give an account of what we’ve done with what we’ve been entrusted with, just like in the parable of the talents (Matthew chapter 25: 14-30.) I’m not asking for asceticism – just an acknowledgement that it all belongs to God, “disposable” income included.
I know people who will not be able to afford three meals today. I know children who can’t attend school because their mothers and fathers both work in the fields and need the child to watch younger siblings while they labor. I know farmers whose small plot of land will be idle this season because they can’t afford seed or fertilizer. And at the same time I have friends traveling on cruise ships, buying boats, and lavishly spending the Lord’s money on themselves. I weep for both sets of people.