Sometimes I am absolutely overwhelmed by the breadth of human need in the world. Just yesterday I learned that ...
... there are 143 million orphans in the world - 15 million in Africa alone.
... every 14, seconds, according to the United Nations, AIDS leaves another child orphaned.
... 800,000 children pass through the American foster system every year.
... seven more (high-profile) Christians were taken into custody in North Korea. The government is calling their portrait studio business "espionage."
... malaria - a treatable and preventable disease - kills six children every day, but you can provide a chemically treated mosquito net bed for only $10.
... 50 million children will go through training this year as part of the People's Liberation Army in China. I sent VOM $25 this morning to put together a Christmas Care Package for a poverty-stricken family in China that will include a copy of the gospel.
And the thing that really weighs on my heart about it all is that its so easy to help. We raised money to smuggle Bibles to secret believers in the middle east last Sunday evening - $4 for a Bible for a person who is living every day as his last in devotion to the Word he can't even get his hands on. How many people in this country really couldn't part with $10 to save a child's life? (I realize there are some, and if you're one of them I'm certainly not trying to condemn you.) Who among us couldn't put together $25 to care for our brothers and sisters in China? Or provide everything a child needs - from food and medicine to a Christian education - for $32 a month?
It's so easy to help, but there's just so much of it.
A teenager can so easily set up a bucket in her school to help support Loose Change to Loosen Chains, and free slaves all over the world. For the cost of a piece of paper and a stamp anyone can write a letter to an imprisoned Christian - encouraging those in bonds and pressuring governments for their release.
We can pray, but how often do we really consider people half-way across the world in our prayers? When I do try, the need is still so overwhelming that it's hard to know where to start.
Even within our borders its staggering. The kingdom of media is turning America into a pornographic nation, and 4000 babies die every day in this country - mostly (98%) because their mothers think they are inconvenient.
Where is one to start? Do you pick a cause that's closest to your heart, pour yourself into that, and pray God moves the hearts of others for the needs you can't meet? Do you spread out your time and resources to help in every way you can? Does it even matter?
I feel sometimes like I can see the whole world. I feel very big because I'm American and I have so many resources and freedoms at my disposal, but at the same time I feel very small because I don't have nearly enough resources at my disposal. I feel like we should just get a townhouse big enough for us (and eventually a couple kids) and content ourselves to stay there while we give everything else we have. How can I spend money on a house bigger than we need while my family dies all around me? I'll have to answer for this someday - soon ...
"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:48).