Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti 100. . . .


Last night I woke up a few times and had this thought: "I'm sleeping in my warm, soft bed. In Haiti, there are living people trapped under rubble who are wondering if they are going to be rescued. There are living people on the streets wondering if anyone will help them."

This morning, I woke up to harrowing picture on the front page of our local newspaper. It's a photo of Cindy Terasme crying out after seeing the feet of her dead 14-year-old brother protruding from the rubble of his school in Port-Au-Prince.

Over breakfast with my friend Neil, we discussed what's happening in Haiti and the response God desires from us. I couldn't help but think of the words of Jesus. . . "to whom much has been given, much is required." And lest I play the relativity game regarding how much I've been given ("I'm not as rich as Donald Trump so I must not have much"), I was then reminded of something I read a few weeks ago in World Vision President Richard Stearns' book "The Hole in Our Gospel." Stearns writes about how we should think about our worth in relative terms. We usually tend to assuage ourselves by looking up the ladder of wealth rather than down. He writes, "If your income is $25,000 per year, you are wealthier than approximately 90 percent of the world's population! If you make $50,000 per year, you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world!" Stearns then goes on to remind readers that almost half of the earth's population lives on less than two dollars a day.

This perspective is timely and necessary. Yes, much is required.

Last night Lisa told me that she had seen a news report on the $1 million donation being made by Major League Baseball on behalf of its 30 teams. I did some quick math and discovered that's $33,333 per team. Then I got to thinking, what if my friends - all of whom fall somewhere in the upper 10 percent category mentioned by Richard Stearns - thought about reversing positions with the folks who are suffering in Haiti today? What if we were the ones mourning the loss of a brother or looking for medical help in order to survive? What would we hope the people of means sleeping in their warm, soft beds would do? I thought further. . . . what if the 1,673 people in our CPYU Facebook Group gave just $100 each to the Haitian relief efforts today? That would be $167,300! Or, as much as 5 of the major league teams are giving combined!

We all have at least $100 we can give. This is a time for God's people to obediently shine. I want to encourage you all to give today. Find a responsible charity that will use your gift immediately in a responsible and stewardly way. If you're not sure where to give, I would invite you to join us as we support the relief efforts of Compassion International. Just click on the Compassion banner at the upper left of this blog to make your donation.

This news will fade fast and we'll be prone to make the error of forgetting as our comfortable lives continue. Let's not let that happen. And let's keep the nation of Haiti and those providing relief in our prayers.

26 comments:

Josh Cnossen said...

I've been thinking similar thoughts the last couple of days Walt. A big part of me just wants to find a way down there and help right now. It amazes me how much wealth we have here in America yet how selfish we can be with it (including myself). Thanks for waking me up to it a bit more.

Amy Starr said...

Thanks, Walt. I also have found myself thinking, "what if it was my family?" And have had trouble feeling comfortable here. I continue to pray, and give, and encourage others to give through different orgs. Thanks!

Dave said...

Thanks Walt. I had similar thoughts over the past few days. One recently while eating a piece of candy. I thought about those in Haiti that might not have food/water and I was enjoying candy. I made a donation through my Church last night and encourage others to do so as well.

Bernadine said...

Thanks Walt for keeping us all aware of our need to think globally. I recently finished Richard Stearn's Hole In Our Gospel and was compelled to get off my duff and sponsor a child. That vision has spread to my youth and we are now sponsoring a child as a youth group. I talked with one of them yesterday and we discussed the possiblity of picking a child from Haiti to sponsor or making a donation as a youth group.

Adam J said...

I also caught a glimpse of the extreme generosity of some of the professional athletic leagues in our country. Count us in.

Joan said...

Walt,
I'm on the same page...couldn't have said it better...people need to put things in proper perspective...keep on doing this...we are so rich in so many ways...JD

Old Enough To Be Your Mother said...

Walter,
There are people literally starving to death every day. It's sad you only wake up through the night in response to a major catastrophe. Just how many people must need help for it to cause you to awaken?
What would Jesus do? Would He have any of the non-life supporting material possessions that you do,when that money could have been used to better the life of the less fortunate?
Would He have your tv(s),stereo set,numerous dvds,cds,electric toothbrush,central air and a plethora of clothing and footwear? Would he pay money for a haircut when your wife could do it and the money used to feed a starving person?
I doubt it!

LIFE MATTERS said...

Our hearts go out to people in Haiti iin a time like this. Praying our hearts are followed by our generosity. I thank Walt for capturing what many of us who have been to Haiti and have brothers and sisters in Haiti are feeling right now,

Bob Rennenberg said...

I too gave to the relief effort,but after reading "old enough" it was like being hit by a brick wall. After deep thought and prayer I realized that we donate a $100.00, which is really just peanuts to what we have, to assuage our guilt from continuing our obscenely materialistic lifestyles.

Hm. said...

While I agree with and appreciate the spirit of "Old Enough's" perspective.. I'm sorry, but I have a problem with the delivery.

Is Jesus asking me to live in a cardboard box because my rent money could pay for meals for starving people? Does Jesus ask me to sew my own clothing out of fig leaves because money that I could use to purchase clothing could build new buildings in Haiti?

Did Jesus ever sleep in a bed, even though children around the world sleep in the dirt? Did his sleeping in a bed spite those people?

Do you think Jesus ever paid money for anything? money that certainly could have been used for a zillion "nobler" purposes?

Did or did not Jesus welcome a woman who broke open a jar of expensive perfume and anointed his feet? and what did he have to say to those who protested just like you did, "Old Enough?"

If we're going to be so principled about this, should "Old Enough" be using a computer (whether his/her personal possession or a public computer) to judge peoples' lifestyles when the funds to purchase a computer could have been donated to feed starving people? If that's okay but my having a stereo and getting regular haircuts is not, who decides? Who draws the line?

And when did this become about whose efforts of generosity are more valid than anyone else's?

Linda Fitzgerald said...

"Hm, said...". Good points. I fully understand where you are coming from, but I also hear "old enough's" compassion. I think it's a matter of degree. I would have to admit Jesus' lifestyle certainly lies much closer to "old enough's" than mine.

I contribute to my church and charity, but as Bob Rennenberg said, am I trying to assuage my guilt from living so materialistically? I gave $100 dollars for Haiti but the week prior I purchased an HDTV and Wii for $1600. Is it sanctimonious giving?

WWJD has been taught to me since childhood. I can state unequivocally that it has ALWAYS led me to the right decision! What always bothers me is when I am deciding on purchasing an item that I know Jesus would never purchase, knowing he would use the money to keep a child from starving to death. In reality wouldn't if be what Jesus would want - that we all stop buying these unnecessary items until no one was starving or dying due to a lack of money?

When you ask "...who decides?", "Who draws the line?", I believe Jesus does. The overwhelming acts, teaching, and the prevalent theme of His life is that of sacrificing and giving to the poor.

Old Enough To Be Your Mother said...

HM...,
Let me delineate and respond to each of your questions in order;
1- "Would Jesus ask me to live in a cardboard box?"
No, but He may ask you to live in a stable. I'm sure though that He would live in a much smaller and less expensive abode than you or I do.

2-"Does Jesus expect me to sew my clothes out of fig leaves?"
No, but would Jesus have anywhere near all the excess clothing that you and I have?

3-"Would Jesus ever sleep in a bed, even though children around the world sleep in the dirt?"
Of course! But I doubt that He would purchase a bed. He more likely would gather a clumping of hay which He is quite familiar with.

4-"Did Jesus ever paid(sic) money for anything?"
I don't know. If he did could you please cite the verse(s).

5-"Did or did not Jesus welcome a women who broke open a bottle of expensive perfume and anointed his feet?"
He may have,but if asked beforehand, He would certainly have instructed the woman that water would have sufficed, and the money saved be given to the poor

6-"...and what did he have to say to those that protested just like you did,"Old Enough?"
I don't know, what did He have to say?

7-"...should "Old Enough" be using... a public computer...?"
I know that Jesus would certainly use a library's computer if that would help to get His Word out to the multitudes.

8-"...who decides? Who draws the line?"
I think Jesus does, as Linda Fitzgerald so acutely stated in the prior post.

Lastly, I can relate to where you're coming from "Hm". I was there a very long time ago, and am continually working to get farther away. Perhaps both of us could make a more concerted effort toward living a more unworldly life and demonstrate our "love for others as we love ourselves".

Hm. said...

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14&version=NIV

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anointing_of_Jesus

for your reference.

I agree that our lives, particularly here in the States, are marked by materialism. It's a sad thing.

What is also sad to me is when people harshly judge others' acts of kindness in contrast to ideas of what they "could" do.

Madonna, for example, only gave 250k of her huge personal fortune to Haiti relief when she could have given so much more. But that doesn't invalidate the gift she actually gave.

I think to judge peoples' generosity by such a standard (and also to point out someone's "place" in life as somewhere you're trying to get away from, as you've done to me - and may I point out you don't know a thing about my life or anything in it?) is unnecessarily divisive and judgmental in the negative sense of the word. I don't appreciate the personal attack, nor have I said anything to provoke or deserve it.

People have things. People keep things. People give things. Some of these are better than others, but none are evil.

Old Enough To Be Your Mother said...

"Hm",
In summation, you state, "I think to judge peoples'(sic) generosity by such a standard...is divisive and judgmental...".
It is NEVER wrong to compare any acts, including generosity, "by such a standard" as WWJD.
It is obvious I'm upsetting you. That was not my intent. I am sorry that I'm not expressing myself clearly. To help you better understand may I refer you to the above comment posted by Linda Fitzgerald. It is all about WWJD! Peace.

Anonymous said...

hm cut your loses, call it a day man

Linda Fitzgerald said...

I didn't put all of my feelings down in my first comment here. They were too upsetting. But now WWJD takes over.

For the first time I've actually seen a definitive and precise definition of rich, as posted by Walt. Those making over $25,000 are wealthier than 90% of the world's population-the rich, and those making over $50,000 are wealthier than 99% of the world's populationon-the super rich.

The disasterous repercussions of these facts is that a multitude of Christians are doomed to Hell. Myself included.

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God". Matt19:24, Mark10:25, Luke18:25.

It is indisputable that a rich man cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus is so adamant about it, He instructs us 3 times. He's not fooling around.

As Walt so honestly and forthrightly puts it-"We cannot play the Donald Trump relativity game". I now must confess I have been.

marie said...

Linda,stop beating yourself up over this. Jesus also says John3:16 and Romans3:23. It is quite obvious that you believe in Jesus so stop worrying about being rich. I'm sure Jesus would be proud of the rest of your life.

Living a righteous life and doing good deeds are nice, but they have nothing to do with getting into Heaven. I'm not sure why Jesus makes the camel analogy so often.

Linda Fitzgerald said...

Thank you so much. But I just don't understand how Jesus could use such a strong analogy 3 times and not mean it. God bless you.

ramsey said...

We're not humanly capable of living like Jesus. God made us to choose sin and that's why he sent us a savior which is Christ the Lord.

Why attempt what we know is impossible to achieve? Isn't that the definition of insanity?

David said...

Just a note: the Bible says that the "love of money" is the root of all evil... and when Jesus says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, he is using a typical Hebrew way of speaking that exaggerates in order to make a point. He did NOT say that it is impossible for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven, only that it is more difficult.

Walt is making a good point that we are so easily distracted by our wealth - we can get so focused on what we don't have, what we wish we had. If we keep our focus on how blessed we are to have such resources, then it becomes easier to part with them - to live simply (following Jesus' way) and not get too caught up in the things of this world.

Is having an iPod evil? I think not - but to feel that I MUST have an iPod distracts me from living the way that God calls us to - it keeps my focus on me and what I want rather than on the very real needs of others in my neighborhood and around the world!

As some have said, never forget that God loves everyone - the rich, the poor and even the unrepentant - we want all to walk in relationship with God and be totally surrendered to whatever God calls each individual to do!

Linda Fitzgerald said...

Dave, It's really sweet of you to try and cheer me up. That means a lot to me. I really appreciate your heartfelt attempt.

You write,"He did NOT say it was impossible for the wealthy to enter Heaven, only that it is more difficult". I respectfully disagree. What is more impossible than a camel going through an eye of a needle???? That's not "difficult", that's impossible.

I believe Jesus states it this strongly to leave NO DOUBT that the rich will not enter Heaven. In fact He warned them on 3 different occasions to show how serious He was.

And my how low the bar has been set for qualifying as being rich, according to Walt

But again, thanks for your warm support. God bless you.

Old Enough To Be Your Mother said...

Dave, your intentions are virtuous. I commend you. But you're misguided. We all have to individually answer Linda's succinct question,

"In reality, wouldn't it be what Jesus would want - that we all stop buying these unnecessary items", such as (place your unnecessary item here), "until no one is starving or dying due to a lack of money?".

Now, would you still want to purchase an iPod, if you were trying to follow WWJD?

marie said...

David when you say that it is more difficult for a rich man to get into Heaven would you please define more difficult?

anon said...

obvious the dude can't. it was an idiotic thing to say in the first place.

Newellie said...

Dave is correct, 'easier for a camel to go..' is a hyperbole, not literal... and yes rich people will be in Heaven. Also, money is the root of 'all kinds of evil' not 'all evil. Also, as we read the story of the rich young ruler it is his love for 'stuff' that is his sin (idol worship) Jesus pointed this heart issue out clearly by asking him to sell it all. I have to ask myself about my heart and my willingness to give up whatever bed I sleep on or home I live in... There are a lot of good points here, and I would hope to see a clearer picture of edifying (assuming many of us are believers) one another to learn and grow in our faith in Jesus. Its seems there are some extreme examples, i.e. I am not using the libraries computer. I think extreme poverty is a calling much like being single. Both allow for greater devotion to the Lord.

Marie said...

Newellie, thanks for your response. Yes, Jesus does use hyperbole to ACCENTUATE that it is utterly impossible for a rich man to get into Heaven. He wants to MAKE SURE that there is no doubt.