Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spoiled and Fat.

I fast.
24 hours, 36, 48, on to the goal of 3 days or 72 hours without solid food.  I drink water, protein shakes, juice, tea, coffee and take my vitamins...and still it's more than some people in the world will be consuming in 72 hours. 

I read this recently over at the Compassion Internation blog and have thought about it much while on my fast.

"Every morning when the sun rises in Brazil, thousands of children don’t have any breakfast. To stave off hunger, they usually drink weak coffee mixed with toasted cassava flour – this mixture without nutrition fills the stomach for some hours. It isn’t rare that this breakfast is the only meal they have during the day.

“If you ask them at night if they have eaten during the day, they will say certainly they have. For them, the coffee was a meal,” says Acilâine, director of Bom Samaritano (Good Samaritan) Child Development Center. “They are used to starving. Unfortunately, it is normal here.”

Read More Here.  (Courtesy of Compassion International)

My fast is voluntary and can be cancelled at any moment.  My pantry runs over and even when I make those loose comments about not having any food in the house, it's not really true.  There is always a box of macaroni, or a can of soup, a little peanut butter.  I can run to the store when it get's really bare and buy more with my money.  I can step out of my back door and shoot a deer, a squirrel, a rabbit.  And if my money were to run out I could get food stamps, welfare, go to the food bank and in times of real desperation I could go raid the dumpster behind Hardees and feast on unpurchased sandwiches still in the wrapper.  I could even steal if I had to.  You see we live in the land of plenty.  There's always food to be found....somewhere.

But we complain.
We complain about not having enough benefits, or too high taxes, cell phone reception and tv's that are too small or without the highest definition.  Meanwhile people...children...are starving.  I can admit, it's much easier to pretend it doesn't exist.  It's so easy in America to pretend because we don't see it.  Even the homeless are fat in America.

I had a disagreement recently with a woman who wanted to defend the extravagance of her church.  Perhaps I was too harsh with her... but it seems so senseless to see this waste that happens in the church of America-  "After all", she said, "Jesus told us, the poor we would always have with us".   What does that mean?

I wonder why we will always have the poor with us?  Could it be found in the story of the rich man found here in Matthew 19?

I believe my "shining" moment came after she made the argument of the woman who poured the expensive perfume on Christ's feet and I retaliated saying there was a slight difference between the act of the woman who anointed the Saviour of the world for his impending death and the expense spoiled, fat Americans enjoy to be entertained at church.  Then one of her friends chimed in and the both of them were highly offended at the "fat, spoiled" comment I had made.  One said she was proud to be a spoiled christian...an oxymoron of sorts don't you think?

But she must go somewhere that she can be FED she exclaimed. 

Fed what? I wondered to myself....I decided to let the conversation end there although I did apologize for my "passionate" response.

Only God can show us how fat and spoiled we are in America.  I guess they didn't know I was talking about myself as much as anyone else in that dialogue.

He's shown me and I'm embarrassed by what I have sometimes.  Guilt racks me when I realize that even in a state that I consider "fasting", I'm consuming more than so many people in the world...especially the children. 
I consume ALL of the basic human needs and more everyday without so much as thinking- without so much as thanking.

Have you ever thought about your kids not having as much as they want to eat everyday? 

As I fix 18 month old Anna a slice of toast for breakfast slathered with butter and our homegrown strawberry freezer jam, I mourn the thought of waking up in the morning with the knowledge that there is a mother somewhere in the world who has nothing for her baby to eat.  The child cries out of hunger, bewilderment written in her confused eyes that her mother cannot soothe the pain of her hunger.  Can you imagine it?

I know that God desires to bless His children and He wants us to receive our blessings with the utmost of thanksgiving, gratitude and enthusiasm-  just like when we give our own children gifts.  What fun would there be in thinking of the perfect gift, with the perfect attributes, the right color, the right fit...and then making it with your own hands only to have the child reject it, saying they were embarrassed by it because others had nothing as good?  What if it isn't that God blesses us monetarily so that we can use that gain for extravagant cars, and houses, and furniture? What if His blessings come to us as a test? He meets our basic human needs and the overflow is for us to share with others as a witness of our love of the Giver and our understanding of His kingdom?

Would I pass the test? Would you?

How do we reconcile being so tremendously blessed in this nation with food, jobs, goods with the reality that much of the rest of the world is living in poverty?  I've known poverty as defined by the IRS income bracket, but there is a vast difference between American poverty and poverty in a place like Indonesia (seen below).
Don't the majority of us in this country have enough? 

Some Indonesian Children in the city dump.
We have to stop ignoring the poor, the ugly, the undesirable in our world.  It is uncomfortable, it hurts our pride, it is smelly and so unattractive that it stops our heart and yet...it makes us more like Him to know it, to look upon it, to experience it.

How can we ever truly know thankful if we've never truly faced hunger?
How can we know thankful if we've never known lack?

How can we say we are His and look away?

Friends, we have to realize when we have enough and not look away or be unwilling to share with those who do not have anything. 

What is enough?  That is a relative question for every individual and family I suppose.  One that may require some prayer, maybe a little biblical guidance? 

Think about it.  Ask your families to do the same, then ask your church to do it too. 
We have needs and we have wants.  We just need to separate the two.
Maybe we could skip some of the wants to bless someone else with a need in their life?
Imagine the effect you can have. 

It is a daunting task to try to take on something like world hunger but you can make a difference.  I support one child through Compassion International right now.  It seems small in the whole scope of things but to a little girl named Corina in the land of Bolivia it is EVERYTHING!  She will go to bed every night with a full tummy thanks to my meager sponsorship.  She will get medicine when she needs it.  She will get vitamins and supplements to keep her healthy.  She gets to attend school now and hears the gospel of Jesus Christ...all because of my pizza money.

One pizza per month in America does ALL of this and more for one child.  So much for so little.

Obviously Compassion International is one program that I support so I mention it a lot.  It can be found here.  I will be putting some more organizations I support up soon.

There are so many that have life saving ministries all over the globe.  Do a little research to make sure which ones are on the up and up and take your pick.  It's never hard to find someone in need if you will only look and listen.

I know I've talked a lot about the poverty outside of America but I'm not unaware of serious situations right here at home.  It's time for all of us in the family of God who have "enough" to begin to live out Matthew 25:34-40.

Whether we do it within our families, or with those in our churches, towns or half way across the world let us live it. 

Most of us fat Americans could use a slim down.

1 comment:

Nena said...

You have a very compassionate heart. You are so right, we have more than other people in other nations could only dream of - and we don't think we have enough! After going to Peru in 2001, I decided I could live with my old, worn-out carpet for another 10 years, which I have. People in Lima would think I live in palace, but it's really a 1960's split level, very plain :) Perspective!
Please visit me some time at www.provisionsforperu.blogspot.com