Jesus, it doesn’t seem fair, how a land can be rich in resources yet overwhelmed by poverty. And how a land so rich in everything can be so stingy.
Be rich toward God, you tell us, and do not store up treasures that will only decay. I understand what you are saying, and yet my heart still fights this war: enough versus more.
I confess that on Black Friday, a new phone for $1 was too good to pass up. And yet the very phone I hold in my hand is a source of pain and corruption for those who live where the valuable minerals are mined. I can only wonder if my dollar would have been better spent. Lord, have mercy.
And you do.
I confess that I am blind to my own wealth. We straddle the line of “just getting by.” Some months are better than others. Yet when I look in the eyes of a woman who walks miles to church, whose house will not stand another rainy season, and who trusts in you to provide, I am ashamed of my attitude. Of thinking that I do not have enough and need more when my house is in no danger of collapse, and my transportation to church is an aging mini-van.
Open my eyes to see the truth, Lord.
When I drive around town, help me see those who walk.
When I complain about the heating bill this winter, let me see those huddled in the streets with only blankets for warmth.
Help me see. And help me remember. My reality is not universal.
When I drink tea or coffee, when I eat chocolate, let me remember the hands who have prepared it, the hours they have toiled to provide for their families while I sit in comfort feasting on their labors.
When I clothe myself, let me remember the hands who have spent hours at a sewing machine in unsafe factories to make a shirt for a company who will sell it for a profit many times more than it cost.
Help me see. Help me remember. And help me to act.
Show me how to choose what honors you even if it makes me uncomfortable. Even if it means spending more money in order to ensure fair practices. Show me how to say “enough” so I can give more to others.
In this season of plenty, of feasting and giving and gathering, show me how much I have, how little I need, and how abundantly you provide.
May this season be just the start of a lasting work, in which the world becomes a little more fair.
Contribution by Lisa Bartlett. Lisa is wife of one, mother of two, child of God and a lover of words. She writes at lisabartelt.com.