Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why?


A friend wrote me:  Is the problem of poverty because we Americans have "too much money and we are selfish consumers who spend it on ourselves" OR is it something totally different?  Is it that Americans are greedy? That businesses are greedy? or is it that we aren't helping people?

It would be wonderful if there was a succinct "why" to the question of poverty because then we would be able to answer it, relieve it, heal it, more easily.  I am not sure it really is that simple.

Is it my fault as an American?  I don't think so. I do know part of my personal equation, part of the reason that I am concerned and try to actively pursue resolutions toward inclusion to spreading the wealth (figuratively, not literally) is tha I struggle with grace.  Why am I given things, blessed if you will, while others are not?

Truly, that is one of the reasons that I even write this blog-this struggle, this wrestling.  While the grace of God's loving redemption is an amazing gift, it is even sometimes hard for me to accept that not everyone receives it.  Why would I be chosen and this woman I love not be?  While I wrap myself up in this gift, I try to share it with others, that they might find some warmth and comfort as well.  That somehow UPS might deliver their own gift box someday.

Much the same is the grace of having enough to eat, having an education, having a job, having unemployment compensation when I don't have a job, having a home, being able to feed my pets food other than what I feed my husband.  Why am I blessed in this way but so many aren't?  Although I have struggled at times, as a child raised by only by her mother with very limited resources, as a teenaged parent, as an undereducated worker....I struggled toward something.  I had hope.  I knew things could get better.

It seems not only be unfair but also incorrect to say that impoverished people lack that drive, to make things better.  If anything, I would blame lack of hope.

I don't know if I can make the world better or put a dent in poverty.  This world has been broken for a long time.  I don't know if I give hope to the children I sponsor, to those that I will, in all likelihood, not meet this side of heaven.  It is easy to stop at what I can't do or pause in fear that I can't do enough.  Instead, I will focus on what I can do.

I can write my children, telling them how proud I am of them, how much I wish for their futures, how deeply I know our Father loves them. 

I can give a little money to hopefully alleviate some anonymous recipient's hunger pangs and worries. (I admit it-I have not given until it was a true sacrifice, really caused me discomfort.) 

I can hope for them, give to them, but most of all, I believe anyway, that I can pray.

Who else can fix this place without causing more harm?  Who is there better to hope in?

I will do my small part, and leave the big results to God.

This blog is part of a One Word at a Time bloggers carnival. 
You can read more posts on the topic "Resolutions" here.

5 comments:

Lisa notes... said...

I struggle with the same things. Why was I born in America, to a middle-class family, and married into the same? What does that make me responsible for now?

I need grace. Yes, pray.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I'm sometimes inclined to feel self-conscious of the material gifts God gives us when I'm around people who are without. But I've learned to look at whatever I have—time, talent, treasure—as a stewardship from God. It all belongs to Him. It helps me be as willing to share it as to use it.

Cris Ferreira said...

Great questions you raised, and as I read your post, it came to my kind the book "The hole in our Gospel", by Richard Stearns (ex-CEO and current president of World Vision). He talks about almost, maybe all the issues you raised.
The quick answer I can think of is: poverty exists so we can make a difference. Check Acts 2:42-47. Paul also mentions several times in his letters how the richer churches were supposed to help the poorer ones, and how even some poor churches were giving out of the little they had to help others that needed it most (if you want the verses I can look them up, let me know).
Richard Stearns in his book says that we shouldn't feel discouraged if we can't solve all problems. We should do what we can, like you said you do. If everyone does what they can, even if it's little, it is more than enough.
And we can also help without spending a dime, just using the Internet and our influence. I wrote a post about it last Sunday, for Blog Action Day, which was also World Food Day. Feel free to check it out, and let me know if you have more ideas about it.

katdish said...

"I will do my small part, and leave the big results to God."

That's it exactly. Seeking what God would have us do and not gauging the results by worldly standards but by heavenly ones.

A Joyful Noise said...

We often want to know the answer to the question WHY?

Jesus told his disciples that "the POOR are always with us." Why are they poor? Perhaps they did not plant their seed and ate it instead. Perhaps they did not listen to that still small voice that told them to serve God and they would be blessed. Even Christians struggle, but not like the world. When we have Jesus we must resolve to serve him, and let our light shine. Sharing where he tells us to. We are not able to feed the entire world. Missionaries usually teach the people to have a garden, and to start a small business. They must learn to support themselves. We give a fish, but they must learn to fish.