Friday, December 3, 2010

A 25¢ Gift

What can you buy with a 25¢?
My Facebook friends said:
2 gum balls from Walmart,
5 minute parking in a SF city,
an iTune,
25 rides on the horse at Meijer.
In Malaysia, a 25¢ will be close to 1 Ringgit Malaysia.
You can buy either:
1 and 1/2 hour of parking,
10 pieces of candies,
1 package of nasi lemak,
1 cup of black coffee from a traditional Malaysian coffee house,
4 pieces of fried bananas.
In Hong Kong, it will be a tram ride fee for a senior or a child.
Not much huh, this 25 ¢.  We can buy little with it, and those we can buy are either small pleasures, or small conveniences.
But what if I tell you, 25¢ can buy a gift.  Not only it can buy a gift, but it will be a life changing gift.

It can buy hope.

Yes, it can buy hope for the least of these.

Photo copyright of Amazima.

I asked someone from Amazima, how much it will cost to provide a meal for the people they care for in Uganda.
Gwen replied me saying, a healthy meal of rice and beans costs about a quarter.  Yes, a quarter, my friends, it only costs about 25 ¢ to feed a meal to these people.  Nothing fancy, just rice and beans.  But it fill their stomaches.  It gives them nutrients.  It helps to sustain their lives.
It gives them hope.

25¢!!  My beloved, can you possibly understand this??!!
A 25¢ cannot change a world, but a 25¢ can change the whole world for one of these people!
A couple more can change a couple more people's worlds!

What do we do with our 25 ¢?
What do we do with a couple more 25¢?
How many 25¢ there is in a cup of Starbuck?
In a nice meal we eat out in restaurant?
In a book?
In a movie?
In an Ipad?
Most of us spend it all for pleasures, don't we?  Most of us spend it all for things, while there are lives wasted away each day, when these money could have been helping them to live.

I'm sorry if this has put a dampen on your Christmas spirit.  But my beloved, what is the Christmas spirit?
Is caring and loving not the true Christmas spirit?
What are we giving this Christmas, my beloved?  To whom are we giving this Christmas?
Are we giving more gifts to ourselves? To our children?  Are we buying more things, giving more toys?
Have we forgotten, Christ, sacrificed His deity for us?  He sacrificed His life for us?  He sacrificed His relationship with God the Father for us while He was on the cross?
He sacrificed, my beloved.

Yet what are we bringing Him each Christmas?
A few of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes?  Some unwanted and old toys donated?
I'm not saying these are unworthy or wrong, it is only wrong if that is all we give when we can afford to give more.
And most of us can afford to give more.  Take a look at our life style.
But we sit in our comfort, and bring those "offering" to Him. We cast them down at His feet, and said, there, I have given, I have cared, I have done what you called me to do.
I'm not asking us to sacrifice for Him, for what possible can we "sacrifice" for God?  Anything we do, in comparison to what He did for us, comes not even close to be considered as "sacrifice" .
We can only give, and give up.

What are you willing to give up this Christmas for His sake?
I am not asking you to give up everything, sell everything, move to another country to care for these people.  Only God can call someone to do that.  And if He did call you to do that, I pray that you will be as courageous and faithful as young Katie, and you will go like her.
All I am asking, is for us to give up part of our comfort.
What will you give up for the King?
A haircut this month?
Your pedicure or manicure?
A Christmas dress or shoes for your daughter?
New make-up?
Your Satrbuck?
A Christmas tree?
Some gifts off your children's Christmas wish list?
The gadget you have been waiting all year to get it?
A magazine?
A computer game?
A necklace?
A movie?
A few of the Christmas decorations?
A pet toy?

When God started to convict me of not caring and loving enough, I stop buying things and spending for my own pleasure.  I cannot do it anymore.  Yes, this thing is really cheap and it might come in useful someday, or I might enjoy it, but how many people will it feed? Zero.  How many lives will your new phone/computer/gadget/T.V save?  Zero! What good will that pretty bow on my child does to a child who is dying of extreme hunger?  Nothing!
According to Holt International, there are 18,000 children dying every day for lack of the very basics.
Katie wrote on her blog, 30,000 children will die today because of hunger or preventable disease.
When are we going to stop throwing money away in investing them in material things, and start pouring money into lives?
When I see people keep buying, and I heard churches spending a few thousands on their church wall mural or in "upgrading" their churches' building/equipments, my heart raged and grieved.  Think of how many lives these money could have save.  How does God feel when He sees what we are doing?  We can keep ourselves looking attractive and good, our homes nicely decorated, our churches growing larger or having all the latest technologies, but if we fail to love and care, we are only but a whitewashed tomb, my beloved! Beautiful outside but dead inside!

Proverbs 24:12 says,"If you say,"But we knew nothing about this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" A quote from the recent Holt International newsletter explains this scripture well. "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible for act."
When I am holding my sweet babies in my arms, kissing them on their warm pudgy cheeks, watching the sparkles in their eyes when they laugh, I can't help but see those children who have sunken cheeks, they have no lights in their eyes, bones protruding under their skin.  It broke my heart.  My children have known nothing but love, but those children know nothing but hunger, despair, fear, and death.  I can't turn away from my children, I can't turn away from those children neither.  For do they not all belong to God?  Does God love them one more than the other?

So, I am asking you this Christmas, what are you willing to start giving up?  Will you write it down and put it somewhere you can see daily to remind yourself?  Will you dedicate that to the Lord?  Will you pray over it?  Will you set the money aside and give it to the people who need them?  Will you teach your children to do the same?
If you are not a believer, will you not give to help the least of these people too?  Do you have no conscience? Do you have no feelings? Will you not hope some day if you or your children are in the same position, someone, someone will reach out to them to love them, to help them?
My young friends, if you are reading this, you have no excuse neither.  You might not have the resource, but do you not have time? Do you not have strength?  Will you stop playing games or using your computer or reading comic and go and give your love and strength?  You can volunteer in a local hospital, children shelter, or doing work for someone who is sick.  You can raise fund, you can start being responsible of your finance. You can raise awareness.  You can be the influence.
For those who really can't afford to give, will you not pray?  In fact, we all need to do so.  We need to pray more for these people, and less for ourselves.
We shall pray, we shall be the voices, WE SHALL ACT.


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