2015-06-09 - Throwaways
A few weeks ago, we looked at the fact to God there are no throwaway times or people. I would like to take the latter concept a little farther. There is something that God has lain on my heart in recent months, and that is the plight of people in the "underdeveloped world." There are missionaries who devote their lives to service of these people, but for many of us, they are usually far from our minds. But they shouldn't be, because we are to think not only about our own problems, but those of others. And those of us who have a lot and the ability to help, should assist those who have neither the capability nor resources. To some people, they are even throwaways. They don't matter at all. I'm pretty sure our audience for these devotionals are not in that group, but sadly, we probably all know someone who thinks that way.
Does this mean that our problems aren't important? Absolutely not. As just one example, even something seemingly as trivial as a broken dishwasher, is important. It is a stressor, and it causes us to have to waste time dealing with the repair as well as handwshing items, a poor stewardship of the valuable gift of time (plus studies show that dishwashers are not only better energy stewards but also more sanitary, had to get that in). What it does mean is that our problems are not the only ones we should attend to. As the Apostle Paul reminds us,
Philippians 2:4 (NIV) Each of you should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Some well-meaning Christians take draconian measures in their lives, such as not watching news - but if you don't know what's going on in the world, how in the world can you help people that need it?! If we "keep our heads in the sand," we won't be part of the solution; we will just be beating our self-righteous breasts. So what can we do, when we see something painful on the news - like children enlisted against their will, to fighting in wars. Or women selling their children to men, to earn some money. Or devastated earthquake victims, who were already poverty-stricken, and now traumatized further by losing their homes. Or young women raped by street gangs.
Some of us are called to "Go" to help these people in need. Some of us who are not called to go, can help monetarily support those who are. Even people without a free penny to give, can pray. And we can help get the word out - whether through writing a letter to the editor, sharing with our friends in Sunday School, posting on Facebook (Such potential for helping those in need!) or any way possible.
I would like to say that if you do decide to give money, and I'm sure you want to be a good steward, please do research before giving your hard-earned donations. As the recent Red Cross story showed, even highly-trusted organizations are not always what they seem. Check financial statements of organizations, and if an organization won't give you one or you can't find it online, then you can "dust your sandals" of them and go on to someone with accountability. There are some denominations, for example, that give 100% of disaster gifts, to disaster aid. I will not mention any by name, since we don't want to promote any particular group - but if anyone wants any suggestions for organizations that have good accountability, the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (EFCA) might be a good place to start. (efca.org)
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.