Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What would you do for a few gallons of gas?

Desperation in Poverty

The desperation of people living in poverty is hardly understood by many of us in the U.S. As I speak around the country, often several questions come up centered around "Why would someone do that?" That could be anything from stealing, to prostitution, to engaging in sex while HIV infected, to pushing children to an outer hut and ignoring them because they are HIV positive, etc.

Sin is Still Sin

Please, don't confuse what I am about to say with excusing sin. That is what is great about being Lutheran, we can call something what it really is, namely sin. Christ died for all sin. I th
ink we just do a better job of hiding our sins behind good intentions or everyone does it or it's normal. One of my pastoral mentors, Rev. David Fischer, always told us "young" guys when we entered the Utah circuit, not to judge people as if you wouldn't fall into the same sin if no one was looking. Don't ever think you are any better. That advice was wise insight into the nature of sin and human beings.

Well, the story to which I link below is about how poverty stricken people will do some unthinkable things for free fuel. The video is hard to watch as they count the burned bodies. It is easy to think it absurd that someone would approach a burning fuel truck to take free fuel. But it is just a glimpse in to what people will do to protect their families.

111 Die in Fuel Truck Explosion

It is truly a sad thing to see people that desperate. However, this is why God calls us to love and serve our neighbor. When I was in Kenya last October, I remember how fuel sky-rocketed, as it did all over the world. Here in the states, we adjusted our budgets and rolled with it. However, in Kenya, there wasn't enough budget to be able to adjust. When the average salary is about $1/day, fuel rising by 30% is a monumental hit to the budget.

The Gospel is Still the Gospel
Our sins were completely taken away from us in Christ. His life, death, and resurrection took the place of our lives, deaths, and
resurrections. He did it so that He might give it to us. The gospel brings mercy, forgiveness, and hope to all of us. This is the mercy God gave to us in our baptisms, and now, we share His mercy with others in our lives and around the world.

This is why your gifts make such a difference in the work of Friends of Mercy. Your gifts help the ELCK and Pr. and Dcns. Meeker feed, clothe, educate and many times even help move children out a bad situation. They just paid school fees about 30 children. Your mercy brings mercy to them.

Your love for your neighbor made the difference. Thanks.