I believe that there is a dangerous new affluenza virus affecting America. It is the H1N2 virus. It is the have 1, need 2 virus. We are afflicted in America with affluenza, believing that if we have one of something, that we really need 2 more of it because it is new, improved, different, better or a new model. This happens in spite of the fact that the one we have works and functions just fine.
In most of the world, they have H0N1…have none, need 1. I believe that God wants to get us to the point where were are afflicted with H1N0…have 1, need none…so we can share the resources that we would have spend for that which we don't need for those that are in need of just the basics.
Paul wrote "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content" (1 Tim. 6:7-8, HCSV).
It seems that this season more than any other brings out our unhealthy desire to want more of what isn't necessary. May God guide us to a more simple expression of love during this holiday season so that we can be cured of this H1N2 affluenza virus.
It is easy to lose sight of the many things we take for granted. I was reminded of this by my sons when they mentioned a project they leared about in their Sunday School class. In class last week, they learned about how 10,000 children die every day around the world from diseases that could be prevented if they only had clean water. There is a group called the H20 Project that is seeking to raise money and awareness to help address this. They are at http://www.theh20project.org. We think nothing of turning on the faucet or opening a bottle of water when we need to have something to drink or need to wash dishes, wash clothes, or take a shower. So many around the world lack this basic necessity. Please check out the site. We have so much to be thankful for and so much that we do take for granted. Let us not forget to give God thanks for His generous provision.
As I was reading the parable of the Good Samaritan, a small portion of a verse caught my attention. In verse 35, after the Samaritan had bandaged the strangers' wounds and brought him to an inn and took care of his primary needs, the verse states, "On the next day…". The Samaritan knew that his responsibility to the man didn't end simply by caring for his immediate need, but making sure there was a plan in place to care for the needs that arose after he left, and then following up to make sure it was taken care of.
We could be more effective in our ministry efforts in our churches if we simply would do some "next day ministry". It's often the times shortly after the immediate needs are met that even more needs become evident. "Next day ministry" gives us a chance to meet more needs and point people to the the One that can meet them all.
It occurred to me the other day that somewhere in the midst of a presidential election and the current economic challenges we're all aware of, Galveston, TX disappeared from the map. If memory serves me correctly, they were hit with a pretty significant hurricane the middle of September, but I can't remember the last time I heard any news report or saw any link on any news website home page link with a story about how they are doing down there.
I'm sure they are struggling even more than the rest of the nation in the midst of the challenges we all are facing. I'm sure most have no permament home yet. Do they have power? Food? Clothing? Running water?
Need doesnt disappear just because we walk away from it or ignore it. It sure didn't in the parabale of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Even though the priest and the Levite turned their heads the other way and walked past, the need still was there, to be met by the Samaritan.
Sadly, there are needs we see every day and walk past, thinking they may disappear if we just walk fast enough. But they are still there, waiting to be met by us, so we can be a beacon of light and hope to those living in a dark, hopeless world. Let's all slow down just a little bit and be a Samaritan and stop to assist those in need and be filled with compassion as Jesus was.