Long before I became a Christian I had a strong relationship with justice and an even stronger hate against injustice. Many times I talked about starving children in Africa and no one needed to tell me about them. They already were part of me. This is me as a five-year old. Not me as a grown up. This is me being mocked over the stories my family heard me tell hundreds of times and grew sick of easily. This is me having no clue about why they did not understand.
I have good news. I grew up. And as I grew up the stories of the children in Africa have changed. The stories of not just them, but children all over the world have changed. Today I am not a five-year old telling my mother that I don’t need a Christmas dinner, as many kids don’t even have drinking water. No. Today I can say that I will eat my food. For a lot of kids who use to starve, are now having access to drinking water and healthy food. Many more kids than a generation ago are attending school. Poverty is becoming less ‘normal’. Darkness has been strong. But we are pushing it away.
The truth is. In the western world of today we have all the resources we need to put an end to extreme poverty. God has given us everything we need to stop it. He has given us the time, the money, the knowledge. He has given us the opportunity. And I am pretty sure that He is looking at us the way I use to look at my family. Why don’t you understand? How come I have given you everything you need and I am now looking at you, asking me for more?
~God, if only I get a better job, I will give away this and this amount of money.
~God if you bless me financially/physically/ if you bring me my future wife or husband, I will go and bring in some support to help other people.
I get it. I know it all. And I still struggle to do more than I do. To do everything I should. The truth is this:
You can never live in the future, only in the now. You can never relive the past either, all there really is, is the now. Let go, start living. Don’t think about doing things in the future, as soon as you are in tomorrow, it has become today. As soon as you have reached the future, it has become the now. Live now.
Whether or not you have done a lot to put an end to poverty, you can do it now. You can start by educating yourself about what is happening around the world. Go and see what is happening in your own city and neighbourhood. Talk to people in your church and ask them what they are doing and where you can help out. We are already working hard to put an end to it. How cool will it be that you can tell your children that you personally helped making sure extreme poverty has become history?
P.S. Make this a fun thing. Invite your friends over and share a fair trade meal. Organize a film night with fair trade food. Get a bunch of friends together to sponsor a child through compassion. Make it a battle to find the coolest fair trade t-shirt. Show every grown up, oh so wise person, that we, young people are a lot more than some lazy kids with no real dreams and no real goals. We can make the difference. And stop extreme poverty. NOW.