So many of our conversations so far have been directed at our own health. How can we become more healthy? Why should we care about obesity or diabetes or what have you as it relates to a faithful way of life? These are all excellent questions and I don’t disagree with any of them…I just wonder if we have tunnel vision. Have we become so focused on our own situations that we have lost sight of the world around us?
Too most people in our nation, health relates to scaling back our excess. We need to lower our blood pressure, lose weight, decrease bad cholesterol and increase the good. We rarely talk about those who need basic food and water to be healthy. What about those in our community who do not have the means to purchase organic or anything more than the dollar menu cheeseburger? There are children in our school systems that have never tasted fruit that was not saturated in syrup. They have never learned the importance of a balanced meal. What are we doing to educate? What are we doing to bridge the economic gap?
What are we doing with the blessing we have been given? One of Jesus’ scariest sayings was recorded by Luke: “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” That scares me not because I believe Jesus to be some heavy handed punisher…it scares me because it puts the onus on me.
Jesus goes on to ask tough questions: If you’re dishonest with wealth, why would you be given great gifts? If you’re unfaithful with another’s belongings, why would you be given your own gifts?
Here I sit, typing on one of my two laptops, drinking my 2nd cup of Christmas Blend coffee, in an office with heat and A/C that I drove to in one of our 2 vehicles. I am not unique. What demographic reads blogs? I am not unique.
I am not automatically condemning…don’t hear that. I’m observing facts. We should not be scared of facts; facts illustrate reality. The challenging thing is what we do with that reality.
Listen to some of these facts shared in Rob Bell’s work “Jesus wants to Save Christians:”
– 1 Billion people in the world do not have access to clean water while the average American uses 400-600 liters a day.
– Americans throw away 14% of all food we purchase and every 11 seconds a child under the age of 5 dies from hunger somewhere in the world.
– Americans use 49 million diapers everyday while 40% of the world lacks basic sanitation.
– Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world spends on all goods.
These are just some numbers related to food and waste. We have not even talked about the machines and economics of war…
What if we and others in the church are praying the wrong prayer? For too long we have been praying for God to bless America. What if God has and we haven’t been faithful? What if we are in the middle of walking away from the message of Jesus, depressed because we heard the same thing as the rich young ruler in Luke 18:23? When was the last time we truly prayed for God to give us this day our daily bread?
I do not have a blanket answer. Such an answer would run counter to the Gospel. There is mystery in this way of life. Some are like Barnabas in Acts 4; some like the young child who had a couple of loaves and fish to throw in the pot. Some of us have the gifts of teaching and educating others. Some of us have the gifts of leading by example and encouraging others. Some of us have great monetary or material wealth. All of us have gifts to be used in the Kingdom…the only question is what we will do?
“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”
Rob Bell & Don Golden. Jesus Wants to Save Christians. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008, 122-3.