I wish they were closer, often struggling to make it so, yet I find that it simply isn’t true. Love and money are not the same, and the painful truth is the simple and selfless act of giving money more often results in the opposite of love.
Bringing destruction instead of building up
Inviting disaster instead of hope
We have all heard the stories of studies done that show the startling effects of a large lottery win on individuals in America, how instead of the promised prosperity, most are left years later with nothing. Devastated, hopeless and worse off both financially and emotionally than before their big win.
We hear these statistics and struggle to understand their implications. Left wondering how a rapid increase of something we work the majority of our lives to attain could bring devastation and suffering.
The truth is, this same principle, the self destruction that happens in our culture when something is gained without sacrifice, is even more magnified in developing countries.
Gain without effort creates dependency.
Unfortunately often, and I am as guilty of this as anyone, we seek to pacify our own desire to feel needed and useful at the expense of those in need. Giving to them more to fill our own needs rather than to help them with theirs.
Motivated by guilt and the need for significance we often tear down the poor and needy with our handouts.
When you could ask for money, why work for it? When you could be given lunch why plant for next harvest?
Here in Ethiopia, in this place where there is overpowering need, crippling poverty, hopelessness, we often find ourselves wondering how to help, how to provide lasting change instead of bandaids. In desperation we often return yet again to our knees, crying out to God for some glimmer of hope, some supernatural breakthrough.
Today I provide no answers, only to tell of a battle in need of champions, an epic fight in need of warriors not handouts. The truth is this struggle to help the poor is not one that we can throw money at to solve but one that we must stand and fight with the entirety of our beings.
I want to ask some simple questions that I cannot help but turn towards today as I stop here to look at poverty and what it takes to defeat it.
What should we as Christians be doing to help the poor? Should we be wrecking our lives to help others? Should we be willing to risk it all? Are only some called or all of us? Should we be giving everything? How much is too much? Where do we drawn the line between our resources and their suffering?
These questions haunt, they rip deep into our souls and tear at the very fibers of our being.
Today I only want to leave you with questions. Not guilt, not solutions, but a few questions and one simple truth and that is this.
For each Christian the answers to these questions will be different, still we are all called to ask them, called to seek the path that he has for our lives, called to be willing to wreck what he wants to tear down, and build what he wants to build.
Are you willing for him to wreck your life?