Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
I have blogged about the 7 deadly sins before. However, I felt the time was right for a gentle reminder.
These words of Gandhi are especially meaningful at this point in our country’s history. We are fully embracing and living out all 7 of these deadly sins, and there’s a terrible price to be paid.
The consequences for our nation are already being felt, and they will only get worse. We continue to create a dark future for ourselves and our children. And the price grows ever higher.
The wages of sin don’t go down…and there’s no defaulting on the payments.
The Gospel reading for today is Luke 16:1-13. It’s a passage in which Jesus focused on money and how it is handled and used. This passage is especially interesting in light of Ha-Joon Chang’s comments.
Verse 13 is one that is familiar to most of us. It’s a verse oft quoted and even more often ignored by Christian and non-Christians alike.
No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Wealth is a spiritual issue. That makes it a lifestyle issue.
Our focus is where our heart is. Faithfulness to Christ demands one focus. Wealth requires a different focus. To which are you devoted?
My father was 85 when he was killed on a Texas highway. Another car plowed into his from behind. The other car was driven by a nurse late to work and heavily medicated. She survived with minor injuries.
My father was working at the time of his death. That’s not surprising to me. He grew up in a poor single parent family during the depression. He and his siblings knew hunger. For my father, to be a man meant you worked. And so he worked. He worked until the day he day he died.
Good meaningful work is a key part of our humanity. But, there’s far more to life than being busy. Work is not the end all and the be all of our existence.
Now, at almost 70 I am taking Thoreau’s admonition to heart I have come to realize that going into the woods is vital if I am to live deeply and suck the marrow of life. The more time I spend immersed in nature, the more alive I feel.
Take time to live before you die. As someone recently told me, “This isn’t a dress rehearsal.” We only get one chance.
How easy it is to forget that business, work, recreation and all our social interaction isn’t the real purpose of our lives. We get caught up in the details and forget that to truly live we need to give ourselves for others.
The Dalai Lama is right. All of us have a thousand opportunities every day to make a real difference in the lives of those most in need, Each of us has the time to make another’s life a little bit better and maybe even a lot better.
We can end hunger in our lifetime. We can change the world forever. It just takes the recognition that we are called to help others, and that despite our superficial differences, we are truly one family.
I have spent over 35 years working with, and walking along side, the poor and hungry. I have seen some poor here in our country who expect help and who have been taught by our welfare system that they deserve whatever they can get. But these are a minority.
I have seen far more who struggle to climb out of poverty. This is especially true in other countries. Nothing is more heartbreaking than to watch a mother holding on to an infant dying of hunger. There is a pain in her eyes that time cannot erase.
The tragedy is compounded by knowing she has done everything in her power to keep that child alive. The poor are not lazy, not in my experience. In reality, they will do anything possible to escape the deadly trap of poverty, and that includes working far harder and longer than most of us do.
This is part of the true work of Christmas. This is a gift for the entire human family. We need to give all we have and all we are until extreme poverty and hunger are just bad memories.
It’s 0410 here in rainy Lynchburg, Virginia. I’ve been up for about 45 minutes and don’t think getting back to sleep is a real option.
I have prayed. I have done some Scripture study. I have been able to also knock out some of my work scheduled for later today.
That might allow for a short nap later this afternoon. But now I am caught in between too late to go back to bed and too early to get seriously busy.
So, when in doubt, blog.
In fact, it’s a good opportunity to blog about my blog. I began thefaceofhunger at some point in the distant past with the hope I might encourage readers to become more engaged with the plight of the world’s poor and hungry. Now, over 950 blog posts later, I am rapidly coming closer to the end of this journey.
It’s been a privilege to talk about the work of Stop Hunger Now and the unbelievable impact our efforts have had in helping end hunger in our lifetime. I’ve been honored to have the opportunity to share my travel stories and to lift up those most in need.
But soon I will be passing off thefaceofhunger to other capable hearts and hands. When that hand off happens I will become an avid reader of the blog rather than its writer. My prayer is that thefaceofhunger continues to inspire and motivate all of us to do everything possible until hunger is just a memory. Working together we can end hunger in our lifetime.