When I got strep throat, I began to fear my $25 copay multiplying if the kids got sick, too. And that was the extent of my worry. Last Friday I wanted to post another “Focus on it Friday” saying how thankful I was for the quality healthcare that my family can receive, but really my thanks goes beyond that.
When someone in my family gets sick, my mind rarely goes past getting a doctor’s appointment and the necessary medicine, but for moms around the world, sickness carries more terrifying consequences. According to a UNICEF press release, 24,000 children under the age of five die every single day from mostly preventable causes. I can’t even wrap my mind around that number.
Frankly, the number is too big, and sometimes big numbers have little effect on me. Then I read a post the other day by Billy Coffey with a smaller number: 20. For $20, I could give one person clean water for 20 years through the organization charitywater.org. Until recently, I had not really understood that there were people who lived in areas where clean water simply was not available and, as a result, were dying. My church began a project to build wells in Mozambique, and for the first time, my mind allowed this need around the world to enter in. But when I read this post, again, I was floored.
I don’t throw money around. I take my family’s budget seriously, and I rarely buy anything on a whim. Matt and I are trying to act responsibly, so $20 is not an amount of money that I would take for granted. Yet, even on a tight budget, I know that $20 is not a lot of money, especially when someone’s life is at stake.
I wrote in a previous post that my mind was in overdrive, that I felt God really working on my heart, and truthfully, I feel a little confused right now. So many ideas are rolling around in my head, and I don’t know where to start, and on some things, I don’t even know what to think. But I do know that God has taken my heart and is showing me the tragedies that break His.
This week a group of bloggers traveled to Guatemala with one of my favorite organizations, Compassion International. They will visit the child development programs set up by Compassion and share about the children whom they meet, children who live in poverty that we cannot imagine. Yet through the good works of Compassion and sponsorship, these children will receive medical care, basic needs, an education-things I take for granted. One of these precious children can be sponsored for $38 a month.
I went to Target today, and I spent a little over $20 on socks for the kids and a file box in an attempt at organizing the influx of artwork that comes in now that preschool has started. My kids genuinely needed new socks as their little feet have grown bigger, yet as I handed over the $20, I thought about a child without water, a much greater need. And as I took a shower tonight and felt the warm water roll off my body, I watched as the drops I wasted ran down the drain. As much as I want to, I can’t fathom a need this great.
My goal is not to cause myself massive guilt every time I make a purchase; however, I think feeling a little uncomfortable now and then is probably a good thing. It’s a good thing to evaluate how I’m spending my 20's-how many children could I sponsor or individuals could I give clean water for the cost of the cable TV, iphone, or restaurant meals I purchase? After all, when I die I can’t take any of my earthly treasures with me to heaven for eternity, so shouldn’t I want to relieve a child who is living a hell on earth now?
While I don’t believe that God has called Christians to live a life of poverty for the sake of others, I know He would have us think about the money that we have and how we are using it. If you are like me, you might feel overwhelmed with the different problems in this world and not know where to begin. Perhaps, you are already giving to an organization that you love. Maybe you’d love to give but can only give to one cause at a time and need to wait until next month. I’m not asking you to give. I’m asking you to think.
I’m sharing my journey as I think about these issues and opportunities, deciding where to act in the hopes that some of you will take this journey with me. We can’t all give to everything, but some of us can give to some things. Perhaps some of us can find $20 to provide clean water for one person. Maybe others will want to sponsor and build a relationship with a child living in poverty. We all have different journeys, and we can’t change the whole world alone. But we can all think. And maybe today some of us will decide to change the life of one.
Please visit my sidebar, and visit the different links for my favorite posts on the web. Each of the links featured show a different way you can help change the life of an individual in need.
Originally published at https://jennifervdavis.com on September 8, 2010.