What does one billion mean to you? It’s that next level, the powerful tier above a million that gets our attention. On the heels of the Academy Awards, the movie “Avatar” has made more than 2.5 billion dollars worldwide—and it’s not done yet. Ted Turner bestowed a billion-dollar gift on the United Nations a few years back. We know about the Gates Foundation. And in the news lately, Tiger Woods has been dubbed the only athlete ever to reach that mark in earnings. But then there’s the stark reality we learned about in 2009 that the number of people who are chronically hungry in the world has reached one billion.
One billion. Where do I start? How can I make a difference?
If you’re like me, you have asked yourself these questions. It’s a mind-numbing number, one that can make making a difference seem futile.
But we’re the church. We don’t get to make that decision for ourselves. We are called to act. We are called to reach out to our neighbor. Not acting is not an option.
So if you find that number so incomprehensible that it almost makes you not want to try, set it aside. I’m not suggesting you ignore the reality of the global picture of hunger but just keep it in perspective. Lead with your gut for a moment. Is it okay that thousands and millions and even one billion people are chronically hungry? Is it okay that one person in your community is sleeping on the streets or walking around without knowing where that next meal will come from?
If you’ve ever been intensely hungry and you had to wait an hour or two to eat, recall those hunger rumblings and allow that to take over your gut. It’s that gut reaction that has the potential to circumvent numbers that almost seem made up. It’s your gut that in a moment of cerebral paralysis can kick into overdrive that instinct, that compassion that has compelled you to read this blog and care about doing something about it.
Follow your gut.