Tuesday, November 25, 2008

With Grace Comes Responsibility

Earlier this week I shared with you my struggle with the complexity of God’s grace. I ended with a profound statement by Philip Yancey; “We receive grace as a gift from God, not as something we toil to earn. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell.”

I’m resolved to the fact that nothing I’ve done has earned me anything I have received and nothing those less fortunate than me have done has earned them what they received either. Knowing this makes it easier to perceive but no easier to understand. As I reflect upon my life, I realize how graceful God has been to me. You see, in 1975 I was adopted into a wonderful Christian home. One does not have to look far to see what my life would have been like had God not showered me with His grace. Grace I received even before I was born. It is because of this grace that I have committed my life to making a difference for those that have not been as fortunate.

It is because of His grace that I believe we ALL have a responsibility to return that grace to others. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we are doing a very good job.
  • It is estimated today that there are 150 million orphans around the world.
  • Worldwide, 8.4 million children are in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labor.
  • In 2007, it was estimated that 2.1 million children under 15 were living with HIV.
  • It is estimated that by the year 2010 there will be 40 million orphans as a result of AIDS.
  • National statistics tell us that each day in America, 13,700 children are abused and neglected, 4 children die from abuse, and 27 die from poverty.
  • In Texas, there are currently 6,300 abused and neglected children waiting for adoption.
These are just a few of the staggering statistics. I could fill this blog with horrific, discouraging, insurmountable numbers. Even more discouraging is our reaction. Today we find ourselves living in a world of excess (if you don’t believe me, take a look at your dinner table Thanksgiving). Yet with all of this excess we still find ourselves on the heels of a recession. On Tuesday, The Federal Reserve announced that it will purchase as much as $600 billion worth of mortgage-backed assets from fledgling companies in hopes of jump-starting lending by banks nationwide” (www.foxbusiness.com).

How does this happen? And why does it happen? One thing you won’t catch me doing on this blog is taking a political stance. What you will find is me taking a stance for those that do not have a voice. I can’t help but think about what $600 billion could do to the orphan crisis. But, these statistics somehow are not improving. Reports have actually shown an increase from 143 million orphans in the not so distant past to 150 million in 2008. Unfortunately, as our awareness increases, as well as our ability to make a difference, our response seems to decrease. In a world full of neglect, pain, abuse, and endless suffering, we, the Body of Christ, are not doing our share to provide restoration, healing, and prevention for orphans and at-risk children.

No doubt God has blessed all of us and I personally believe He expects us to do the same for others, or at least that is how I interpret the book of James. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

As you pause this week to thank God for His many blessings I hope you will join me in praying for those that are less fortunate. And while you are at it, why not go ahead and pray for God to “Give you His eyes to see.” It may make all the difference.

Brandon Heath - Give me your eyes (chorus)
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Happy Thanksgiving! Aspire to new heights.

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