I saw on the news tonight a heartbreaking story where thousands of homeless families in Central Florida are struggling to survive and stay together, victims of a floundering economy, sleeping in old vehicles or under bridges, children getting ready for school in the restroom of a gas station, having fictitious addresses so that the government won’t find them and separate them from their mom and dad.
Then came the commercial break. The next story was quite different: “Tickets to the National Championship Football Game were already selling out, $2500 a seat!”
For some reason I felt compelled to do some Google research: 10 million people starved to death this year. The United Nations estimates that it would take at least $30 billion per year to solve the world food crisis, mainly by boosting agricultural productivity in the developing world. Over a decade it would take $300 billion to make sustainable improvements in the lives of the 862 million undernourished people.
That sounds like a lot until we consider that Americans spend $705.9 billion on entertainment in one year, a figure equivalent to the entire gross national product of Canada – or Australia, for that matter. These estimates come from Unity Marketing Group, of Stevens, Pa.
The company’s president, Pam Danziger, says, “Unlike so many other categories of spending that are directed toward the necessities of life, recreation and entertainment are purely discretionary and emotionally driven.”
I wonder, “Why?”
There’s a such a temptation to pick up the gavel and sit in judgement of ourselves and everyone else for all the impropriety and injustice that seems to be escalating. I’d rather not think about it because I don’t like the personal guilt, regret and shame that I’m so tempted to give in to.
“Who am I to enjoy the blessings and pleasures I’ve known: health, happy family, security of a warm spacious, comfortable home, plenty (too much) to eat, dependable, comfortable transportation for my wife and I, entertainment, vacations, health care, etc., when so many around us are struggling just to live?
A blame shifting, complaining and fault finding attitude only adds to the hurt and never helps anyone, so I’ll resist the temptation. Here’s the question: How can anyone enjoy the abundant life Jesus came to give (John 10:10) in the midst of all the turmoil, suffering and death surrounding us?
Many of us try to live in denial. Don’t think about it. Stick your head in the sand and stay occupied with life’s pleasures as long as you can. If I can ignore the heartbreak and pain that surrounds us, then maybe I can avoid being overwhelmed by a broken heart and keep pretending that my family and I are immune! Perhaps that’s why we’re so emotionally driven to entertain ourselves but hide as we may, the confrontation with reality is sure to come.
C.S. Lewis, in his sermon, The Weight of Glory, said:
“There lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires to be happy not too strong, but too weak. We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
So then, how can one be of good cheer and at the same time courageously face the world of trouble and truly make a difference in helping our neighbors in need?
John 15:10-11 (NKJV) — “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy my be full.
Proverbs 16:20 (NKJV) — He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever TRUSTS in the LORD, happy is he. Again, whoever TRUSTS in the Lord, happy is he!
The key is trust. Okay then, how do I trust? That is an irrelevant question. It’s like two people riding bikes along the trail. One turns to the other and says, “How do I ride a bike?”
Everyone is trusting continuously! It’s not a matter of how do I trust. It’s a matter of who do I trust!
Everyone trusts: The Reliance & Unconditional Surrender To Someone
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was life and light, shining in the night giving us sight, His Word. The Word died one day that He might silently say, “I give My life to heal you with My Word.” The Word arose from the grave! The Word is alive to save us from this world’s lying words.
The Word can change a life. The Word, end anger and strife. A child will be healed when he (she) trusts and receives the Word.”
Those who place their trust in the living Word of God are the ones who are on the front lines bringing hope to those who think there is none!
Thank you for trusting Him with us. Our Father’s Arms is one of His amazing miracles. Your gifts and prayers are appreciated more than you will know this side of Heaven. His Word is being confirmed! Captives are being set free! He’s allowing us to make a difference!
In Our Father’s Arms
Bob & Patti
2 Corinthians 4:5