As people, we tend to want to see the very best, brightest things. This is, of course, understandable. In a despairing world, we want to see hope, life, and light. It helps us to move on, to keep going.
But I’m afraid we in America have seen too many good days. Although we have our own problems, they are trifling when compared to many of those around the globe. Yet we still cry out for hope and life and light.
The problem is that what moves us most is not happy faces and smiles. It is the harsh realities of life: broken, suffering people in a messed up world. It is the agonizing cries of a hungry child. It is the mournful groans of a widowed woman. It is the hopelessness in the eyes of the people in third world countries. Children who have never known “gifts”. Wives who have never known love. Husbands who have never known peace. It is the broken, hopeless cycles of this world that grip our hearts and break us down. It is painful. It is hard. But it is needed.
It would be different if we, as Christians, saw these things the way the world sees them: either overly optimistic or pathetically pessimistic. However, we see niether. We know the reality. But we also know hope. We also see that, though we never feed all the hungry and poor of the world, we still have greater news that will feed their souls. And what’s more is that we in America have more. We have a hoarded, abundant supply of necessities. We can minister to both needs.
But to minister in this way, we must give with abandon. And giving with abandon means sacrifice. And sacrifice means denying ourselves and our own selfishness. And doing this means pain. Yes, lots of pain. Because generations of selfish pleasures are not easy to kill. But, believe me, it is far more rewarding to have them dead.
So, the question is: Will you? Are you willing to sacrifice to see hearts and lives changed? Is it worth it to you?
I suppose the real question is: Will you follow Jesus? In my mind, there is only one right answer. There is only one answer that benefits us at all. So, let us go. Let us follow Jesus. Let us reach a lost and dying world for Christ.
Dear God, as K. P. Yohannan says, “Stamp eternity on our eyes!” Let us evaluate all of our actions in light of eternity! Move us to action—Move us to love! And may Your grace and presence be with us all. In the name of Jesus, amen.