Monday, August 29, 2011
What One Thing Would You Give Up
I've been following a group of bloggers who went to Bolivia a few weeks ago. The idea was for them to blog about their experience and hopefully find sponsors for children through the International Relief Organization World Vision. I have never sponsored children through this agency, but I know this is a great charity. The posts from Bolivia were really heart-breaking. The pictures made everything seem more real. Real children, living in real poverty, at this very moment. The same children are still there. You can read all the posts here.
One post in particular has had me thinking for a couple of weeks now. Elizabeth Ester wrote it after she came home. It's titled "Can you be a Christian AND drive a BMW? I can't. At least not anymore." I guess she used to drive one, but can't imagine having another one after her experience in Bolivia. This conversation is very interesting to me. We all have so much here in America compared to the Third World. How much should we be giving? That is putting it bluntly. I struggle with this a lot. Am I giving enough? Am I really sacrificing anything at all? I know there is a balance to this, I just have a hard time seeing where the balance should be. I know that God wants us to take care of ourselves, and that God gives us beauty and loves beauty. I don't think it is wrong for us to want to make our surroundings more beautiful because of this, but I do think in America there is a tendency for us to have excess and to waste... I think it's harder to see the need for sacrifice because of the abundance we see.
In the Catholic calender year there are certainly times to feast, but there are also times of fasting. During Lent Catholics give something up, something good, and offer it back to God. During Advent also, some type of preparation of prayer and fasting is encouraged. But these times are always followed by big fat feasts of Easter and Christmas! I know there is a balance in the Church calender year, the struggle is finding a balance in my finances! I wish I could have a charitable-spiritual financial advisor who could whip me out a print-out.
Today I saw this post from one of the bloggers: "What One Thing Would You Give Up?" The idea is to think of one or two things that add up to ten bucks that you might spend money on this week and instead, donate that money to the famine relief in the Horn of Africa. Small things like this are immediately do-able. No wrestling with the thoughts of need verses want and the precise definition between the two, and discerning the difference and so forth. I thought it was a good post!