Friday, January 21, 2011

You've got to read this

I struggle with the middle class, American life that I was born into. Do I enjoy the comforts and freedoms and good stuff that comes my way for no reason at all other than my simply being? Of course. But still ... I know what's out there. I've seen hurt, and suffering, and loss ... but nothing like what the vast majority of the world experiences. I have never tried to console my child as he or she slowly withers and starves in my arms. I have never nursed my husband back to health after he was beaten and left for dead simply because of his faith. I have never lived under the threat of stoning should I stray from my society's mores. 

I turn on my tap, and clean water comes out. A cold snap hits, and I grab a sweater from my stash and slip warmer socks on my feet. My kids want a snack, and I have the luxury of perusing my fridge and pantry to find just the right thing.

Did I mention that I have electricity?

Simple things, right? In the industrialized world, largely, yes.

But do I deserve all of this? Are these riches something that I can enjoy because of something I have done? Something I am? Something I have? Are those unfortunate others who occupy the lowest, dirtiest places of the world any less "good" than I manage to be on a day to day basis? Are they reaping what they've sewn? Do they deserve it?

Don't answer that. Instead, read this. Be challenged. And be thankful.


Fatcat said...

I'm reading a library book right now called The Life You Can Save, which has really got me thinking.

Susan in the Boonies said...

As always, there but for the grace of God go I.

I appreciate your response of "Be challenged. Be thankful."

I want to be like Paul, finding contentment in whatever circumstances I find myself in. I don't want to waste my time in coveting, or longing for more. or at the other extreme, in beating myself up for what I have. But to live a life of open-handed generosity, contentment, and gratitude.

The Beaver Bunch said...

Thanks for the link and thanks for GETTING ME.

So few do, I'm afraid, as we all (myself included, somedays) sit back in our comfortable lives and take it all for granted. Lord, I am so guilty of that myself.

Luke said...

I've got a blog post brewing in the back of my head based on a comment my wife made last night after we'd been talking. "Luke, you really feel the responsibility of privilege."

Posts like these, rather than making me grateful, bum me out to no end. Yes, I am blessed! Yes, I want to bless others! No, I have not yet figured out how to best steward the resources God has given me to bless others.

The responsibility of privilege. Oh my, how I feel it. And I haven't figured out how to do more with it yet. And it kills me.

Perhaps my question is this: How can I/should I be grateful for the blessings God has given me when the weight of the starving world is heaped on me? ...worse yet, I don't even feel nudged by God to do anything about that particular issue (world hunger). The missing pragmatism eats away at my joy. God is good to me. For whatever reason, He is not good--in the same ways--to those half a world away. Why? And what can I/should I do about it? I hear ya. I want to be more grateful. But the challenge is already overwhelming.

Sorry for dumping these thoughts on you, but they were getting heavy.


mary grace said...

Oh, Luke ... I hear you. My heart is never sure whether to mourn or rejoice. All I can say is "Come, Lord Jesus," most of the time.