I was sitting on the floor in my kitchen, shining my stainless steel refrigerator when I suddenly thought of James. James, my college friend turned missionary doctor who has been serving the people of Chad in Africa for years. James, who sleeps under mosquito tents, jump starts his truck each day, is MacGuyver-like during medical emergencies in a clinic that lacks many of the basic items found in any corner urgent care found in my town. He serves day in, day out. He’s been sick with malaria more times than he can count. His family has suffered great loss. And yet he stays.
And I’m polishing my beautiful refrigerator.
I look around the kitchen and I see numerous appliances all created to make my life easier. I see a pantry full of food. More food than many people around the world have ever had in their homes. I have cabinets full of matching dishware and coordinating glasses and silverware. I have silver bowls and crystal serving platters. And? Well, I feel sort of sick to my stomach.
Yes, I know, I know… we all have our part to play. Not everyone can be a missionary in Africa. James was called to go to Africa, right? And I’ve… what? Been called to sit comfortably and sometimes excessively in suburban America? Oh, that’s right, I donate my used clothing and those cans of beans from the back of the pantry a couple times a year, isn’t that something? And I do sponsor a child in Africa, sending money that I hardly notice to help feed and educate them each month. I should be so proud.
Doing Enough from Afar?
Now, I am not belittling donations to charities or sponsorships of needy children. All those things are wonderful. But I should be worried, when I begin to feel like I’m doing enough from afar. When I give, but only from an arm’s distance. When the homeless guy on the corner does not pull at my heartstrings. When I turn a blind eye to a family counting out their pennies at the grocery store. When I am so wrapped up in my daily chaos, that I don’t notice the needs of those standing right next to me.
I am so thankful for the blessed life I live. But as I sit on the floor in front of my shiny refrigerator I am reminded that I can do more. I have to do more. James was called to be a missionary. But so was I. And so were you.
Lord, help me to really see where you need me to be your hands and feet. Help me focus on the things you place in my path. Help me not to ignore them because I’m too busy polishing my own life.
The Bible says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”