Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Talking about Poverty

Sorry friends, no Wordless Wednesday today.

Today I am participating in Blog Action Day. The topic is poverty.

Where I live, poverty is hard to imagine. I realize that poverty exists in America, but I don't see it in my day-to-day life.

The current state of the economy is making everyone fearful. It is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. Rising food and gas prices are something to be concerned about. They stress me out as I look at our budget.

However, at the end of the day we have food to eat, shelter (of the four-bedroom variety), closets full of clothes, and floors strewn with toys.

I do not know poverty. Poverty is hard for me to imagine.

In his book Soul Survivor, Philip Yancey writes, "I belong to a privileged minority. Everyone reading this sentence belongs, in fact, for only a small percentage of the world's people has the ability and leisure to read and the resources to buy a book."

Yancey raises the question, "How do we, the 'privileged ones,' act as stewards of the grace we have received? We can begin by finding a community that nourishes compassion for the weak, an instinct that privilege tends to suppress. We can begin with humility and gratitude and reverence, and then move on to pray without ceasing for the greater gift of love."

Prayer. That is the first place to go when looking for a solution of any kind.

But what are some other ways we can "act as stewards of the grace we have received?" as Yancey so eloquently put it?

I have two thoughts.

The first one came from the Beth Moore Bible Study I am participating in.

Don't lose touch with the poor.

This is easy to do in America where we are surrounded by affluence. But how can we help the majority in our world living in poverty if we ignore them and pretend they don't exist.

I think we should take the advice Daniel gave to King Nebuchadnezzar, "Make a clean break with your sins and start living for others. Quit your wicked life and look after the needs of the down-and-out."

The second thought, I heard in a talk by Andy Stanley years ago. According to Andy, the antidote to Greed (a symptom of materialism and an enemy of poverty) is...

Write a Big Check.

I know our country is experiencing economic stress right now. Families are experiencing economic stress right now. But there are millions of people in our world who have it so much worse than we do. We need to be writing checks. Big checks.

I feel hypocritical as I stand here on my soapbox because I struggle with materialism and greed. I fail to write the big checks because I spend too much money on myself.

And yet, I want to do something even though I fail miserably in so many ways. Maybe putting my thoughts in print will give me greater accountability to follow my own advice! One can hope...
If you are looking for a trustworthy place to write your big check as well as one that will help you stay in touch with the poor, I can think of two great organizations.

Compassion International is an organization that strives to release children from poverty. Through Compassion, you can sponsor a child and have a direct impact on a life.

Lifesong for Orphans is an organization whose mission is to bring joy and purpose to orphans. By supporting this ministry you will have a direct impact on orphans living in Ukraine, Zambia and India.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Thanks for "listening" to mine.


Anonymous said...

Megan, I really appreciate your reminder in this post.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me today - that I've been blessed for a reason. In part - to give it away...not to consume it upon myself...


Kirk and Keri Plattner said...

Megan~ Thanks for sharing this post today. At times Kirk and I get overwhelmed with what we see around us. We realize the solution is beyond us. In church this week, the pastor referred to the economic crisis we see not only in Jamaica, but around the world. He reminded us that God is bigger and that He calls us, in this time of economic crisis, to put our trust in Him. How humbling it was to sit beside my Jamaican brothers and sisters, who experience the reality of poverty every day and hear their responding "Amen."

Leslie Ringger said...

so true!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, we don't recognize the poverty that exists right around us: spiritual poverty! Our country is in an epidemic, hence our blindness and inaction to financial poverty.
Well said, sister!

Jill Foley said...

I've read your blog a couple times now...not sure if I've commented before or not. I'm also a Compassion sponsor (and advocate).

I posted on Blog Action day too... just wanted to say thanks for speaking up for Compassion!