_For whatever reason, that line from The Beatles came into my head the other day. I hadn’t been listening to Sgt Peppers, nor had I heard ‘A Day in the Life’ recently; but for whatever reason, it stuck. I think it may have been because it seems that almost every newscast these days are talking about the hardships facing so many Americans and so many people around the world.
In the past few weeks we’ve found out that almost half of the population of the US can be classified as either poor or low income. We hear about food pantry shortages, homelessness, hunger, injustice around the world and I know that sometimes I think, ‘Wow, this sucks, but really, what is my 10 dollars really going to do?’
And so we get to ‘I read the news today, oh boy…’
Then I started thinking about it again. Am I not seeing any positive stories because they don’t exist or am I not seeing any positive stories because I’ve subconsciously given up and I’m only seeing news stories that reinforce a view that poverty and hunger are endemic and there’s really nothing I can do about it; they just exist like air or water and to try and eliminate poverty or injustice is an exercise in futility.
Was I the only one who thought that way? If I keep on paying lip service to taking care of the poor and feeding the hungry, am I really living Jesus’ call? I think the answer to both is ‘no’. No I’m not the only one and no, lip service is not what God call’s us to do. We’ve been blessed with the knowledge and the skills to change the world. All we need is the will to make a difference.
So I started looking around at what else was happening in the world. I heard Scott Todd (live58.org) speak and checked out his information. I started reading more about microfinancing and how it was being used to transform communities and help people thrive. I saw the good work being done to help families here in the US be self-sustaining. I thought about what the guys in the band are doing with the Lifestraws.
But still a part of me wondered ‘but what can I do? Does my little bit make a difference?’ Short answer, I myself can do very little, but with God’s help, I can do quite a bit. I may only have 10 dollars, but if we each give that to a group of women in Africa so that they can buy a loom and weave tapestries to support their children, we have changed their lives forever. Maybe they can grow their operation and bring in other women. Maybe they can afford to send their children to the local school.
If I buy an album (yes this is a plug) and send a lifestraw overseas, I quite probably saved somebody’s life. What does that mean? It means a parent who can work because they aren’t sick, which means their children can go to school, which means they have a better chance to break that pervasive cycle of poverty.
Now multiply those effects when we all do something ‘small’. All we need is the will to do it. So I still read the news, but now when I think ‘I read the news today, oh boy…’ rather than depressing me, it makes me want to work harder to create a world where I can shout that phrase out of excitement because God is using us to change the world and do His will.
J Trapp (our resident expert on all things global and social awareness) writes...