To Do or Not To Do, Is the question answered by your economic status?
Robin Hood was supposed to be the run of the mill kind of guy. If he existed he was probably a poor guy growing up, why would I assume that you ask? Because if he actually had any money to make a difference with he would have been too apathetic to do anything about it. I have never been more obvious of the fact that those that can, don’t and those that can’t find a way to do it. I live a decent life, I make decent money, enough that I own one car, one motorcycle, and am able to make payment to the bank for my house. My wife stays at home to raise the kids and we live comfortably enough for us. Sure we make splurge purchases at times, my wife always knows she can make me happy at gift time with a gift certificate to the tattoo parlor, and I keep her happy with new fangled musical instruments to tinker with. We don’t eat out very often, haven’t had cable for 6 years and our TV was actually recovered from the neighbors trash. A comfortable lifestyle, but no way anywhere the “norm” of the American Lifestyle of the rich and gluttonous. Obviously with my weight we are doing OK, but most people look at our lifestyle and wonder how we survive. So why on earth would we decide that we could afford to adopt some kids from Ethiopia?
Because every time we thought about waiting for our finances to be in better shape we kept on running across a scripture edifying us that it was the commission of the entire church body, not the individual to care for the orphan and widow. We decided we would start down this road and leave the finances in Gods hands, and He more than provided for our need, but not by those you would assume. Did our rich relatives gives us anything? No, nothing of note. But the relatives looking down the barrel of losing everything is something doesn’t change for them soon, they sent several hundred dollars. What about the millionaires in our church(there are a few)? No, but the single mothers living in run down shacks have gone above and beyond what we would have ever expected. What about the home church? We had to beg for a chance to present the need to our own church, but we were asked by other, smaller, churches to come out and present the need to them. We have received everything we need, minus the need for a van as my little Echo won’t hold a family of 6, but we have a few thousand tucked away to at least put a down payment on a used van.
So what is it about the human nature that makes it easier for us to empathize when we are ourselves in need? I’ve never really had the opportunity to sit on the other side of that fence, so I don’t know what they see when they see their full bank accounts and struggling neighbors. I know that even through this process of adopting the kids we opened our home and crippled our finances by taking in a high school student that needed a home. I’m sure we could have said no and she would have found somewhere to live, but it wasn’t a secret need, everyone in our local church knew she needed a place to live. I know many of the homes in our church even have several empty bedrooms as their kids are in college and only come home for the summer. I just don’t understand.
I spent the holidays with some friends, and as I sat around the picnic table eating and laughing I took note of who was there. No where at the table was a person who was living the “American dream” Single mothers, a couple who’s home was recently reposed, ex-cons, and a typical blue collar family (they even have the Harley) We spent the day together chasing around town taking our kids to the free events, we walked to save the gas even. Then for supper we all chipped in and brought a little something to the table and ate a feast!!!! The ex-con just got a new job so he had a few extra dollars so he treated us all to rib eyes even (I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had a good steak). I took a good look at those I consider my friends and noticed that the ones I actually enjoy spending time with are all the same way, just the regular run of the mill people, working to pay the bills and living their lives content to provide a stable house, as meager as it may be. Sure I have friends that are considered by anyone’s standards to be “rich” but honestly take your kids to a house you are afraid to let them touch anything and tell me how comfortable you are. Then let one of them actually break something while you are there, there goes the friend. How do people get so attached to “things?” I’ve noticed this a lot with the bikers I hang out with, there is no way I could afford to replace my bike, but I loan the keys to anyone I know with a valid “M” endorsement on their license. Most of my riding partners won’t even let you sit on their bikes. I really don’t understand it, as much as I have tried to rationalize it I still can’t come up with an answer.
I’m not a hero, no far from it. I’m actually a very selfish person. But I live my life the way I think is human. No I don’t think I can even say my lifestyle is “Christian”. I live as Godly a lifestyle as possible, but I could be doing even more if I made more sacrifices. Is it that our lifestyle in America has lost the ability to make sacrifices? Have instant gratification, and credit cards removed the ability to sacrifice for the good of mankind obsolete? Or have we truly become so apathetic that we just don’t care that over half the world survives on lees than $2 a day? That every 3 seconds another human dies from malnutrition or related causes. That America waste more food yearly than most countries consume. Have we really become that evil of a Nation? And don’t say I give at Church!!!! The American Church has become the sickest of them all. There is enough money in the Church of America to end world poverty in one fell swoop, but it will never happen, because those that have it are too busy creating crystal cathedrals, mega churches, new TV shows, or fighting the war on the homos! Let’s get real people, there are sick and dying and orphans and widows that need our help, exactly what Kingdom benefit is that new multi million dollar church? The $1000 suit or the Jacuzzi baptismal, what ever happened to the good old river and swimming pool dunkings?
I said on day one more questions than answers. I doubt I have any readers out there, so this is more for me than anyone else. maybe one day I’ll get there, and be able to look back with answers. Maybe I’ll be on the other side of the fence and be too apathetic to care. I doubt it as I would have to stop giving the excess away and horde it for myself to get there. Who knows?
If you would like to do something, just a small thing, do me a favor and sign the ONE campaign petition. It’s a small step in the right direction.