Day 11: The Problems are Bad

Note: If you have fallen behind and think you can’t catch up – we are only on page 23 as of today! It’s not too late to get in on the rest of the book with us 🙂

Well, friends. Today’s reading may have possibly made you feel worse than yesterday!

We ended yesterday’s reading with this:

So what are the problems of the poor?

Today Jen clearly spells out the problems and as she said, they are bad.

I read a book this spring titled, “The Hole in our Gospel” and it gave some of these same mind blowing statistics about our American way of life and how disproportionate it is compared with the rest of the world.

Don’t get me wrong, ALL of these statistics cause me to question everything about my life – but these stick out the most for me:

Together, the extreme poor (around 1 billion) and the poor (another 1.5 billion) make up roughly 40 percent of humanity.

 

Half the world lives on less than two dollars and fifty cents a day.

 

If you make thirty-five thousand dollars annually, you are in the top 4 percent. If you make fifty thousand dollars annually, the top 1 percent.

 

Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.

 

More slaves exist today than ever before in human history.

 

More than 143 million children in the developing world have been orphaned (equivalent to more than half the population of the United States).

 

Roughly 1 billion people in the world do not have suitable housing, and 100 million are entirely homeless.

 

We spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world spends on all goods combined.

 

Roughly forty million people (the equivalent of about seven Jewish Holocausts) die annually from starvation, disease, and malnutrition.

 

69 percent of US adults and 18 percent of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

 

I ask you humbly: can you see why when Americans say democracy, the world hears greed? What seems like basic freedom to us sounds like vast consumption to everyone else.

 

[all quotes above from Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker pgs 24-28]

Wow. Where do we even begin?

And then I think about how we have to beg people in our church to help serve at the homeless shelter???

We even beg for them to donate the food for us to take and serve. And they don’t.

Some do. But, people are HUNGRY. People are DYING. And we are arrogant, overfed and unconcerned:

He said, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49

I truly believe most people have turned a blind eye to the problems of the poor. Out of sight, out of mind. I know I have for too long. Until this year, I hadn’t taken a second thought to these types of things. I was more concerned with my four and no more. I thought my service to my church was plenty good. Just being real.

I’m ready for that to change.

Lord, don’t let a single day go by without me being concerned for those in need. Guide my thoughts, my spending, my time, my purpose – all to do what you have instructed us to do. Turn my world upside down and create a holy passion inside me and my family to be different. Let a revival begin in me and spill over into those around me – my family, my friends, my church, my work. Make me an influence that brings forth the needs and cause for concern. Place people in my path that I can help. Give me a boldness to help and a passion to bring others along with me to help too! Stir up a fire inside of me – don’t let the flames go out. Use me and everything that you have trusted me with to serve others. I still want to be uncomfortable, Lord.

How about you? What are you thinking about after reading this today? Honest, scary, real thoughts?

~Starr

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10 thoughts on “Day 11: The Problems are Bad

  1. I am glad you brought up the point about our church! I had the same thought! 4 hours of time is a small sacrifice, a few dollars….and I feel like no one jumps up.
    I too was more concerned about my 5-but I am way more blessed than I can count!!!!! Can I get an amen?!
    I was blown away by these statistics. The one that stuck out the most-the one about slaves. More slaves today than ever before. God help us. Lord, start a fire. Use me. Use me.

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    1. AMEN, Melissa! God is moving within us and it is not in vain. I too couldn’t believe that statistic about slaves – we think it is just something we read about in the history books and it is more alive today than ever. Unbelievable. Lord, don’t let us turn a blind eye any longer to those we can help in need around us. Use me. Use me!

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  2. I have seen so many families living in poverty come through my work. If you don’t know, I work at a family doctors office. I have had patients who have had lost jobs, living on disability and living without health insurance. Some live paycheck to paycheck, others don’t know where their next meal will come from or how they will afford their medication. Every time I start to feel sorry for myself and life is hard God humbles me very quickly and show me someone who is having a hard time. God had also allowed me to comfort these forks and help them. If we keep our eyes open there are many ways we can help those in need and feed the sheep.

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    1. This is a great perspective, Karen. God shows us lessons by putting people in our paths every single day. Thank you for sharing how God is moving in your life on your job. Thank you for reminding us to look around and be thankful for the blessings that we have. Thank you for reminding us to keep our eyes open!!

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  3. As many of you know, I have been in the position of being without. It wasn’t that long ago that my annual income was less than $10k. And that included food stamps and child support. I’ve had anonymous people walk up and hand me money or food or whatever. Even at my lowest income I still gave when I could.

    Because of that (or in spite of it), I always give when I can. But I try to give wisely and without it coming from or through me. I don’t say this to toot my own horn. Without them blessings and opportunities God has given me, I wouldn’t be able to do so.

    But I still feel like I am missing their point. There is more. I need to do more for the Kingdom.

    Do I feel like a bad person after reading this? No. Just guilty of excess. (And when I sign a receipt for a $600 lunch for 40 or plan a $5K holiday dinner for 70 ish it doesn’t help….)

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    1. I know what you mean about the company stuff, Melissa. I’ve even been questioning those types of things for our small little team and how we are sometimes so wasteful ourselves. Yes, I believe there is still more. And I also believe that God is faithful to reveal those things to us and give us opportunities to make a difference where are are.

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  4. The more I read, the more guilty I feel. Guilty of not doing more and guilty for not knowing more about how others around me live. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am very blessed and I don’t mean only blessed with all the physical blessings. It would take me too long to try and list all the reasons why I know I am among the most blessed. I WILL do more going forward than I have done in the past. As melissa says, it won’t be to toot my own horn, I get more satisfaction when I can help others quietly and without public fanfare. As long as I am able, I will make a difference for others, no matter how insignificant it is. It will matter to the one I can help.

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    1. Mom, I feel the same. These same exact themes were part of our financial Preace class lesson tonight at church. I want a different perspective than i’ve ever had before.

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  5. I can’t explain the guilt I feel…how have we been “blind” to the problems of poor for so long. This quote has been the one to stick in mind…”If you make thirty-five thousand dollars annually, you are in the top 4 percent. If you make fifty thousand dollars annually, the top 1 percent.” That one has completely blown me away. How have we become so comfortable, greedy, and unconcerned? I can’t change the past, but most definitely can change the future. I will do more…for HIS glory and HIS glory alone. Thank you, Starr for being open to His leading. Love you!!

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    1. That quote has resounded with me as well. I shared that page with that quote from our book on facebook earlier this week and someone commented that there was no way that their small salary was in the top 4 percent. So many times this week I’ve heard people around me complaining about things that are so trivial. My ears perk up. My mind goes right back to all that I’m learning. Our society and culture has someone tricked us into this awful sense of entitlement. I am there too. I struggle with my selfish desires and the fact that I feel I “deserve” so much. I don’t deserve a thing. And I want to never look at the blessings I have with such a critical eye again knowing what I know now. Thank YOU for coming along on this journey with me and encouraging us all along the way!

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