And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal. 6:9 (ESV)
I see them staring out from my computer screen. Faces of children dying of starvation in Somalia; 29,000 of them in the last three months. That is JUST the number for those under the age of five. That would be all but 7,000 of the preschoolers in Washington, DC. Half of the preschoolers in Delaware or South Dakota. 1 out of every 100 in California. I read the news stories and I glance at the comments hoping to see people moved to help. I need to stop reading the comments, because how can people look into the face of suffering like this and be so hateful, so vengeful, so unmoved?
I read the stories from bloggers currently traveling in Bolivia with World Vision. More faces of children, more stories of poverty, of children walking an hour to get to school, of fathers leaving families to find work and never returning. Stories that bring tears to my eyes and rip holes in my heart. And I hear the frustration in the words of the bloggers as they report that their blog stats are down because apparently people don't want to hear about the broken places.
The other week our family participated in the annual Minn-Kota Festival for World Relief. This sale takes place to help support the relief, development and peace branch of our denomination's ministry, Mennonite Central Committee. Handmade quilts, wooden furnishings and a variety of other items are auctioned off, theme baskets are created for the silent auction, food abounds. But every year the sale is smaller, every year it seems that fewer people attend. People in our age group just don't make the effort.
|Indy after a busy day at the sale|
I wish that I could instantly help every child who needs it. I wish that I could change the world. I wish that I weren't so self-centered sometimes, that I could think more of growing the kingdom of God and less of growing my possessions. I wish that I could find more ways to consume less and give more. I wish that I didn't feel such a pull to live like everyone else around me.
And so I start small, because small is what I do best. I glue a map of Africa to a jar and set it on the kitchen table. I toss in the coins because they are just change and really I won't miss eighty cents, will I? And eighty cents grows into two dollars and then three and I start to look for more ways to make a change. I step on the scale and I'm pretty sure it's broken and I should get a new one...but do I really need something to tell me that I'm still eating too much? Couldn't that $25 feed a family instead?
I clear my closets and bag the excess to take to a thrift store. Double blessings here because maybe someone will have clothes they couldn't afford, and proceeds from this store go for world relief. My children want to know why we don't have a garage sale and all I can say is 'because we don't need to'. And we don't. I am not so poor that I can't afford to give away.
So I keep going with small. A dollar here, a dollar there. I can't change the world, but I can change the way I see it. I can change myself. I can refuse to grow weary of doing good.