Thirty years ago World hunger became headline news in the ’80’s with “Do They Know Its Christmas Time” and “We Are the World.” I remember hearing people say things like, “Well, if those people would just work . . . ” And it’s true, some people in America and in Third World countries are lazy and need to get off their backsides and do something.
But then I took a trip to Haiti. And I learned that some people only had water to drink that was unclean and full of parasites. And parasites would weaken their bodies to where they had no energy or strength. Or even if they did work they still had little food-maybe one meal a day-and the lack of protein in their diets meant a lack of strength in their muscles.
One day I was walking with our Haitian translator through Cap Haitien. At a small shack there was a scrawny cat tied by a thin rope to a post. I asked him why the cat would be tied like that and he said, “That’s their supper and they do not want it to run away.”
A lot of what we think about the poor is wrong.
In many Third World countries the average income equals what you or I spend on one iPhone. Why is that? In the introduction to Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty U2’s frontman Bono said, “We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies-but will we be that generation?”
“An accident of latitude.” Oftentimes the only difference between you and me and the poor is where we were born or to what family we were born into. And God wants us to help. His heart for the poor is heard clearly in Jesus’ sermon in his hometown synagogue:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus’ heart beats for the marginalized in our world. And he would have us take steps to help. It’s a big challenge. But as Mother Theresa said, “We can do no great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Find something small to do this Christmas. Do it with love. And see if you can’t change a small corner of our world.
Question: How can you help the marginalized of the world this Christmas?