Monday, August 11, 2008

Reality Check

Even as I blog about setting goals, saving money, lifestyle changes, personal problems, etc...a team of 6 people that I know personally is in Rwanda, Africa on a discovery mission, the first organized overseas mission trip for our church. They are there to explore and discover ways that our church can best utilize our resources to help these people. They live in unimaginable conditions and yet have such hope and joy in their lives. It breaks my heart that I take so much for granted, yet I'm still discontent; while they have less than what I would consider nothing and yet are content to live that life.
As I read the latest blog entry by Bruce, one of the elders and an all-around sweet, compassionate man, my mind scrambles for ways I might possibly use the talents God has given me to help these people.
Then I wonder how I could ever help them. There is so much need.

Then I recall the story of the young boy and the beach filled with starfish. It went something like this:
A young boy was seen wandering slowly down the beach one day. He would stoop down, grab a starfish and fling it back into the ocean. The beach was filled with thousands of starfish and an older gentleman shouted to him from atop a sanddune, "you'll never get them all back in the water! It won't make a difference how long you're down there!"
The young boy looked down at the starfish in his hand before replying, "Maybe not, but I'll make a difference to this one!" Then he flung yet another starfish back into the ocean before it dried up and died.

I've always been one to change the chanel when I see a commercial about supporting a child in a third world country. Growing up, there were too many stories about poorly managed charities, scams and other sorts of stories that made me look away. All too easily.
Last week, one of the team members that is now in Rwanda did the Sunday sermon. He challenged us not to change the channel. He challenged us to sit and watch. To sit and imagine life as those children live.
It's been a real wake-up call. Yeah, I run the mission for supplying furniture and home goods to people in need in our city. Yeah, I helped out when we had major fires this spring and over a hundred people were suddenly homeless. Yeah, I participated in the Cardboard City Fundraiser. Yeah, my heart breaks when I read the blog about the team traveling in Rwanda. But what do I have to show for it? A couple of gold stars and some tears and a worn out spot on the couch.
What will it take to drive me to action? And is all of my mind-scrambling, wondering how I can help, going to result in action or just a few minutes of mind-scrambling and a deep sigh?
Indeed, what will it take.

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