Elijah Friedeman, The Millennial Perspective
We live in America, the Land of Plenty. If we're hungry, we can get food. If we're thirsty, we can get clean water. Almost all of us have a roof over our heads. And everyone has clothes to wear.
We own computers, cars, and TV's. The "poor" in America have satellite dishes and smartphones. Most of us are privileged to the point of excess.
But this is a story in which billions of people around the world can't participate.
More than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes. This is one person every three and a half seconds (UN)
More than 22,000 children under the age of five die every day around the world. Most of them die as a result of hunger or a preventable-disease. That's equivalent to 1 child dying every 4 seconds or 15 children dying every minute (UNICEF).
There are about 35 million people around the world living with HIV. Every year, around 2.5 million more people are infected with the disease and almost 2 million are killed by it. (WHO)
The suffering around the world is mind-blowing to the point that we can't even understand how bad it is, because we can't truly comprehend what these numbers mean in terms of human lives. Tens of thousands of people are dying every day from problems that can easily be prevented. Shouldn't we be doing more to help?
This is a question that I've been struggling with for the past few months. How much should I give up to help the people around the world in dire need? Am I supposed to forgo all but the necessities in order to have more money to give to hungry children around the world? Is it immoral for me to sleep on a bed each night while billions of people are forced to deal with squalid living conditions? Can I truly say that I'm living like Jesus wants me to if I drink bottled water, while billions of people don't have access to any clean water?
Or is it okay for me to keep on living like I already do?
We're faced with a dichotomy in our lives. Do we give everything up - sell our possessions - and live impoverished lifestyles? Or do we continue on with our happy, American lives of plenty? Or is there a perfect balance between the two?
At what point are we legitimately providing for our needs and the needs of our families, and when do we start living in idolatrous excess? Is there a magical line that we are never supposed to cross? Does that point of excess come when we buy a boat? Is it when we remodel the house? Or does it come when we spend $10, that could have been used to feed starving kids, to watch a movie?
I don't know the answer to these questions. But what I do know is this. We should be doing more to help the sick and the hungry.
I don't mean that in a vague or abstract way. We need to lay out specific goals as to what we will do more than we are already doing. For some of us, that may mean giving up things we enjoy. But we all need to find something in our lives that we can take out, and then use the money we save to help others
We can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out how much we should give or what our duty is to help the impoverished. And maybe the answer is that we should give up all the material possessions that we have. But until you or I reach that conclusion, we need to make sure that we are at least doing something - something more.
We all need to examine our lives and figure out what we can start doing right now to help the 25,000 people who will die tomorrow from hunger.
This isn't a game, and the problem won't go away by not thinking about it. We must listen to God as he tries to awaken us to a greater reality. Listen to Him. Listen to that message. There are millions of people dying around the world that you could help save. Do something.