Recently, my family along with several others, we’re invited to a friends house for dinner. It was dinner with a purpose. We were there to purchase water filters for families in a village in Kenya.
Sam, a native of the village, spoke to us about the need for clean water. He works for the non profit that provides the water filters we were there to purchase. One of the challenges his organization faces is distributing too few filters to too many villagers.
One of the ways they address the distribution is to ask the leaders of the village to make a list. Sam said they make sure the grandmother’s and widows get filters first. Once the filters are given out, while they wait for more to be purchased and delivered, they ask those who now have clean, filteted water to share with those who do not.
It reminded me of the widows in Acts 6 who were not being treated fairly in the distribution of food. In Jerusalem, there were native Jewish widows and Grecian Jewish widows. It was the custom to take care of the widows and orphans by taking up weekly and daily collections. This would be distributed so that the widows and orphans had at least two daily meals.
In the beginning of Acts 6, it seems the natives were taking care of their own and ignoring the foreigners.
As my family was driving home from the dinner with Sam, we began talking about the current refugee crisis. I commented that a co-worker asked why we would take in more needy people when we can’t provide for the needy we already have? My 17 year old daughter wanted to know how I would answer that question.
My gut level reaction was that we should be able to do both. But that would mean personal sacrifice. At the time we were driving through what is said to be a very wealthy community. I thought, if these people would give up some of their wealth, we could do both. Then I realized, my family has more than enough as well. Am I willing to give up some personal privilege so someone I don’t know, who is not from around these parts can have a new life? If not for the foreigner, am I willing to do it for the people in my own community who don’t have as much as I do?
My family gives financially and serves others. Is it enough? Could we do more? What if we do and no one else does? Shouldn’t someone make sure we give equitably and it is distributed fairly? These are the questions that God has me grappling with right now.
In Jerusalem, they appointed seven men, like church deacons, to over see the process and ensure fairness. That may not be the answer for today’s crisis, but surely there is an answer if we work together to find it. When people of wildly different experiences come together to collectively create solutions, problems get solved. Selah…
Your turn. When has God asked you to give sacrificialy? What was the result for you? ~ Andrea