How much time would you spend to effectively help end world hunger and poverty? How much time do you think we as Christians are called by God to commit? How much educational time do you think it even takes before proper action can be taken? Hours? Weeks? Months? Years? A life-time? Christians span the gambit of this commitment from briefly handing money to an un-researched charity to committing their lives to understanding and ending world hunger and all of its intricacies.
For the past two weeks I have been reading The Bottom Billion by the director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, Paul Collier. I am not suggesting that I am now an expert on all things world hunger and poverty related after two short weeks. However, this book, along with working for ELCA World Hunger have made me realize it takes a lot more than just giving to charities to end the suffering of millions of people around the world. Collier advocates that we must also look at trade policies, security strategies, changes in our laws and new international charters. For the average Christian this means spending time researching these topics to get a basic understanding of each. That is definitely where I am at!
So my question to all of you readers out there is this: How much time and energy do you feel God is calling Christians to commit? The second greatest commandment from Jesus is to love our neighbors. I think we can all agree that knowingly letting nearly 1 billion people struggle to fill basic needs such as food, water, shelter and health care while so many of us take for granted all the blessings God has given us is not too loving. What about all the passages in the Bible that call us to serve the least, the lost and the forgotten? Clearly these elements are crucial to living out a Christ-like life. But what form do you see that taking in your life as a believer?
I am not suggesting that everyone has to drop what they are doing and devote their life to serving these issues. I believe that God calls all of us to a different vocation. However, I do think that the gifts God gives us and the blessings that come from our vocations are also meant to serve those suffering from poverty.
Maybe you are at a place where you feel that you are serving out your call to serve people in poverty. I would LOVE to hear about what you are doing and where your passions are! Or maybe you have realized that you might not be fulfilling your call as fully as you could be. I would LOVE to hear from you, too! What are your concerns and ambitions?
A very important part of filling the call to effectively care for our neighbors is to educate ourselves about issues pertaining to poverty and hunger. ELCA World Hunger provides a helpful suggested reading list that I hope to take a bite out of this summer here along with other useful resources for hunger education. While The Bottom Billion might not be the best book to start your hunger education with, it is one I highly suggest at some point. Its foundation is quantitative research but it is an entertaining read full of useful information. Hope to hear from you!