18 April 2010

Guilty of Being Comfortable

One of the pastors at my church has started a series on our responsibility to the poor. As I sit in a spare room that I call my office, typing on a laptop that has a 23" external monitor.... with lights on and a comfortable chair to sit in, I have to tell you that my guilt glands are swollen. Why? Here are some some statistics that are heartbreaking and mind blowing:

Right now, more than a billion people live and die in absolute poverty, trying to live off $1.00 a day.
There are another 2 billion people who live off of $2.00 a day.
Nearly half the world's population (that's over 3 billion) lives on less that $2.50 a day.
1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water.
Of the 2.2 billion children on the earth today, 1.1 billion of them live in abject poverty.
30,000 die each day due to poverty and preventable disease.
Every day there are 5 thousand who die due to diarrhea.... just because they didn't have access to clean water.

Those statistics were given to us tonight along with some interesting insights into what God expects of His people. Scott managed to completely blow my mind when he had us turn to Ezekiel 16:44-51.

Ezekiel 16:44-51
44 "Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote {this} proverb concerning you, saying, 'Like mother, like daughter.'
45 "You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.
46 "Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom with her daughters.
47 "Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they.
48 "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "Sodom, your sister, and her daughters, have not done as you and your daughters have done.
49 "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
50 "Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw {it.}
51 "Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for you have multiplied your abominations more than they. Thus you have made your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have committed.

Did you catch that? Look at verse 49. "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy." Of all the things I could ask you about what Sodom did wrong.... would not taking care of the poor be one of the things on your list? But of all the indictments against them, this is the one that God points out. This is the most flagrant violation to bring to our attention? Where does that leave me? I complain about not being able to work yet God's provision for me is bountiful and my life would qualify as one of careless ease. Yikes.

I am thankful t be submitted to elders who aren't afraid to tell me the truth no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. But anyone can find your guilt glands and step on them, these men love our Lord and love me enough to show me the way out. I wait expectantly to learn more from Pastor Scott as he continues the series which will culminate in opportunities to put my faith into action and serve God by caring for the poor.

Proverbs 21:13
13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.

Isaiah 3:14-15
14 The LORD enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, "It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15 "What do you mean by crushing My people, and grinding the face of the poor?" Declares the Lord GOD of hosts.

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