“Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.” (Proverbs 25:4)
There came a point in my childhood that obtaining a three-square meal per day seemed like a long-term battle. Each day imbued with uncertainty. Six children. One terminally sick sister. A mother who worked hard and alone raises her children.
That was what paralysed us. Fear of dying of hunger. I thank God for taking my family and me out of the mire waters. But those experiences marked me and there is undeniable that they will stick with me for the rest of my life. They will. The transition, from having a great deal not having anything at all and back to have lot taught me invaluable lessons.It is the gap between. That is, those periods when the ‘not having anything at all’, propelled me to see life in a different light.
Of recent, I attended a lecture in Geneva on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and post-2015 UN agenda. There, a speaker made three astonishing points, which I would wish to discuss with you in three parts.
Poverty is the biggest offence to humanity
On poverty: I could not be happier hearing this statement from her. If we take the time to observe our environment, we will see the gap glaring without obscurity. Even in the church we are not far from the reality. Inequality begets poverty. Before the proliferation of inequality, the spirit of narcissism enveloped our society. There were tendencies towards first taking care of oneself before leaving the crumbs from the table with the others. Today, that spirit still rules the minds of everyone including huge numbers of Christians.
How many of us throw away our leftovers in our garbage, when we knew that there are thousands of people on the streets and in their homes without anything to eat?
Do we need to buy those perishable bags of food only to fill up our fridges and later trash them after their expiring dates?
I have been there. I have thrown away expired foodstuffs: Not once, not twice but many times. Until one day, I realised my errors. That I’d endure consequential starvation in the past did not hold me from being reckless. I am human. Only the grace of God alone can assist me, and everyone that turns to Him.
What has become important to understand is that poverty is one of the major reasons for global conflict. Loss of employment and homes. Lack of financial sources. Unhealthy and unstable relationships. Poor health and disabilities. Class bias. And lots of those vices that marginalise others created and continue to create crises in unexpected places. Instead of finding solutions to tackle penury, and put in place processus to empower the less privileged, the duties bearers are much interested in causing unrest. We cannot succeed in talking senses into the head of a hungry man. Nonetheless, if he is well-fed, he will have the energy and the spirit to listen.
God puts us all here together to establish love and harmony among ourselves. Every human is created free. Every human is equal to his fellow man. We may be contrasting by the colour of our skin, cultural and religious belief, ideologies and education. Even so, we share one fate. The Bible says. “A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.(Ecclesiastes 7:4 NLT)”
Thus, what is not important is not being contemplative on stepping forward to do the best we can to assist others. What is notable is doing God’s will by sharing what He’s given us to those in need. We are not superior to those people. It’s just that the Lord put us in this position for this purpose. So, we have to be grateful for that.