I don’t know why this has stuck with me, but I remember it like it was yesterday. There was this documentary on TV many years ago that showed clips of Americans doing everyday things, like grocery shopping, going out with friends, or working. The narrator made a comment that our lives seem pretty status quo, that having food and shelter is something that we take for granted.
Then they cut to a shot of the Earth.
The camera panned back as the narrator said, “You may think this is one world”
“But it’s really two”
Then they showed clips of starving children in third world countries, gathering sticks for a fire or sitting in a huddle against the backdrop of a landscape so hard and cracked that it looked like the Earth was shedding its skin.
It must have made an impact on me, because to this day I live with a sense that this western world we live in isn’t a true depiction of the lives of many on this planet. Maybe I am aware of this stark contrast because I’ve seen poverty up close as I walked the streets of Egypt as a child.
I saw beggars holding out their hands, often with their faces buried in their clothes in shame. Ragged clothes and matted hair didn’t seem to faze the crowds that walked by, but I always gave them a coin or two, to which they would nod and bow to the ground in a gesture of gratitude.
This reality came back to haunt me at a dinner I attended recently. During dinner, the sponsor was showing a film about the plight of Indians living with very little food and in makeshift huts, all while we were eating a full course meal from a fancy table. I heard one statistic after another with each fork-load of food I lifted.
What’s wrong with this picture?
It wasn’t that we were provided with a nice dinner, it is the injustice of a world where such an imbalance exists. According to the UN Food & Agricultural Organization and the World Food Programme, there’s currently enough food for everyone. So why are so many going to bed hungry?
We can explain all the “whys” in terms of politics and world economy, but it all boils down to the fact that we live in a fallen world. Wars, Natural Disasters, Over-Exploitation of the Environment, and oppression all bring the toll of suffering .
And with so much suffering, again, I have to ask —why are we so oblivious to what’s happening on the other side of the world? Are we so sheltered that as long as its not happening to anyone we know and love, we can remain disconnected?
I guess that’s because if we detach, we don’t have to feel despair and live “in that other world”. I know we can’t save the world. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. Yet we can make a difference . There are so many great organizations that are dedicated to aiding world hunger. I’ve listed a few, such as Gospel for Asia , and Compassion International on my page right here:
Thanksgiving is around the corner. What a better way to show our gratitude and God’s love than to consider a small commitment to ? Just food for thought.