Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am thankful for so much

I have so much for which to be thankful. Family, friends, safety, comfort, choices, opportunity... The list is so long. Lately I have been thinking alot about this. There are so many things that I take for granted.

In class this Tuesday, we were discussing global access to education for women. Education is not a given for boys or girls in some countries. And when I say this I am talking about basic education, not just access to an university education.

We live in a country where people eating too much is a very common and epidemic problem. We eat more than our bodies actually need every day. I know I do. And to celebrate all of our blessings, once a year, we eat even more than that.

This makes me this of the story of the good Samaritan. (Prior to this passage Jesus has been telling the people to love their neighbor.)

Luke: 29-36 NLT
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied with an illustration: "A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a Jewish priest came along; but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan cam along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.' "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked. The man replied, "the one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same".

The world is a small place. We watch the morning news and we know about the effects of the earthquake in Haiti. We know that malaria kills almost 1 million people per year. We know that more than 4,200 children die every day from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and sanitation. We can't just turn our heads and say "oh oops, I didn't know."

So at what point do I become the Jewish priest that crossed to the other side of the road to avoid contact with the inconvenient truth? If I acknowledge the problem but do nothing about it, am I the Temple assistant that looked at the man but then continued on? I can't save everyone so what am I supposed to do? The Samaritan in the Bible story did not save everyone but he did come to the aid of the person in from of him. But the world is so small and the tv and internet put so many people in my path; I can't help them all. I believe that this is the burden of wealth and blessings. When God blesses us, He expects us to use that for more than just ourselves. I have said before that I believe that God speaks to us through our hearts.

I am so thankful for all the blessings that God has given me. And I am honored and privilaged to use my life for Him. I do believe that we will all be held accountable for our action or inaction. I only hope that I can answer well when it comes my time to answer to God for my life.

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