Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sharing our Blessings

The saying, “Better eat your food. There are children starving in Africa!” had always puzzled me.  I often questioned what starving children in Africa had to do with whether  I ate the food on my plate or not.  Today it occurred to me what that saying means. It was one of those humbling "AHA"  moments.

I found myself in Freed-Hardeman University’s Premiere eatery of cuisine, Gano. (Okay, so ‘premiere’ is a stretch-a huge one.) Their food isn’t amazing, but some days are better than others. One section in Gano serves international food. I  am a big fan of Asian cuisine. On days that they have it, I usually get some just to see how it is. Normally, they do it pretty well.

Yesterday they had sweet and sour chicken. When I sat down to eat it at dinner, I studied it for a moment.  The thought crossed through my mind that I would hate to waste this if it didn’t taste that great. I took one bite, and, it tasted pretty good.

But then I began to question my own thought of throwing the food away if it was bad.

It is amazing how much we take for granted in our country. Our food is no exception. If something tastes bad to us, we can just throw it out. We have the liberty to do that if we want. We have options, and choices. We can eat pretty much anything we desire. There is an unlimited supply of food in our nation. 

I have never, ever gone without food in my life. Granted, there have been times growing up where we ate off of soups, or beans and rice for a few days to save money. But never did we go without. I have never experienced a night where there wasn’t food on my table of some kind.

It hit me that the saying about the "starving Children in Africa" is about being thankful. People who are starving elsewhere in the world would give anything to have the food we are wasting.

Let’s face it; as a nation, we are so wasteful and ungrateful. We have so much that we don’t even know what to do with. The majority of people in our nation are able to buy so much food. When we cook, we often have stuff leftover to eat. Often, the leftover food goes untouched and ends up going bad and never gets eaten.

 We have so much more than most people in the world could even ask for! Pretty much everyone has electricity. We have running water. Access to medical care should we need it. We have things to keep us entertained-books, movies, music, and television galore! Most of us have more clothes than we know what to do with. We have a great military that protects us.

All the “good things” in life we have come to expect, and  feel  entitled to are not permanent. Nothing in this world is permanent. Are we focusing on what actually matters? Do we realize just how lucky and blessed we are? Why do you think so many people are trying to come here right now?

So many Christians, Jews, as well as Muslims are seeking refuge in Europe or even here. ISIS is threatening and murdering innocent people and their families. People in Mexico are trying to bring their children here because the government has become so corrupt. People in Africa are still suffering from various illnesses and starvation. The world is suffering. Many of us are so focused on our own small-potato problems to care or try to help in some kind of way. We mostly focus our prayers on self or on local issues. What about the rest of the world?

When will we stop being selfish and use our blessings to benefit those who need it? God never meant for us keep our blessings to ourselves. If we have blessings, we are supposed to share them with others.

Jesus means for us to share our blessings and to love others indiscriminately. We can use all the excuses in the world not to not help the needy. But, in the end, they are still just empty excuses that pale in comparison to what God has commanded us to do.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

I also remember Jesus’ chilling words in Matt. 25:41-46: “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, 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 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.”
How often do we spend our lives sitting in worship talking and singing about helping the world? Then, for some reason when someone in our world is suffering, we ignore it or turn up our noses.

We think things like...
We don’t want them in our country. 
We don’t want them around us. 
We don’t want to help those that won’t help themselves. 

Again, this is pure selfishness, and not in line with  God's commandments.

Truth is, God told us to love others and help them. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I have heard of being led to Christ because of LOVE shown to them by Christians. What about the people in the world we are so skeptical to help? When we help others, we open up opportunities to share the Gospel with them as God has commanded us to do.

 When we choose to love them, it opens up doors for them, and us. I’m tired of not spreading my blessings around to those who need it. I want to reach out to others in love and help them and not worry about their background. Jesus did that, no matter their background, race, religion, or monetary situation. Why don’t we do it too?

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