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Truly Living Like Jesus?


PaulS
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Generally speaking Christians hold up Jesus as their example of how we should live, and that his message is the only thing that matters. For many, this is a genuine, heartfelt belief. They would believe they live their lives accordingly. Certainly most would say they strive towards it.

 

How then do some Christians here see helping their fellow man fitting in this picture? What I mean to say is that Jesus preached compassion and empathy, and if I understand Him correctly, really we all should be doing everything humanly possible that we can to help others in need/distress/suffering injustice.

 

So do you really, and if not, why not?

 

Don't get me wrong - this is not piety speaking and I truly believe that one in a glass house should not cast stones. But what I am struggling with is that around the world poverty, injustice, malnutrition, is killig people by the millions annually. According to the U.N., some 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs.

 

Now I know government, wars etc play a big part in this, but how can anybody say they are trying to bring God's Kingdom into the world, when they live in a nice house, drive a nice car, have all the simple luxuries we all take for granted, go on holidays, etc, whilst so many people are going without and suffering such pain and misery? Is it not hypocritical? I mean Jesus gave his LIFE for what he believed, we're not even prepared to sell our flash car or go without a microwave oven!

 

Like I said, I am one of those that has a house, reasonable car, plenty of simple luxuries. I do sponsor a couple of World Vision kids and contribute to other worthwhile charities such as Save the Children, but that amounts to sweet nothing against my life really.

 

Shouldn't I sell my $40,000 car and buy a $5,000 one and donate the rest to save starving people? How can I live in my nice house whilst some people live in mud huts and live off dirt?

 

Jesus didn't own property or store up material possessions, but lived a life as a travelling teacher. If helping bring in the Kingdom of God meant paying off a mortgage, sending kids to a private school, owning a nice car, then Jesus seems to have set the wrong example.

 

How do we justify our lives in the face of the starving and dying millions around the world?

 

Your thoughts?

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How do we justify our lives in the face of the starving and dying millions around the world?

Jesus meets us where we are and asks us to move in his direction. He is correct in his observation about camels and needle.

We can only operate in our sphere of influence.

I do what I can and could do more. Affluence is not my problem. For me it is self discipline, being willing to yield myself.

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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Paul,

 

There is certainly nothing stopping you or anyone from doing that if they believe that is what they should do. (selling your stuff and giving the money to the poor)

 

I think Jesus had his mission here and each of us has ours. It is recorded he only told one person to specifically sell everything and give it to the poor and follow him. Probably to make a point. It is recorded he also said that the poor will always be here with us.

 

I personally don't think that money will solve the problems of the poor. That of course does not prevent me from giving and i do. I presently support as you do mutiple children in multiple countries and also a senior citizen who need support in another country in addition to contributions here in the states not counting my taxes that go to the poor and welfare recipients. No big deal as i have plenty but i mention it to say this. One of the families children i help to support because they don't make enough to provide for their family recently sent me a picture. With two children already, i noticed the mother was pregnant again with child. I thought to myself, if i gave all i had to such families and they continued having more children than they could support then soon even my money would not be enough to provide for them. Giving all i have will not solve the world hunger problem. It is deeper than that.

 

If one is hungry and without food, how can one that has food not offer it? So we give where we see genuine need but i do not feel called to sell all my possessions by Jesus or God as one might suggest as a possibility and give away all that i have been given.

 

The kingdom of God/Heaven that Jesus spoke of to me was not of this world. It was IN the world but not OF the world. Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven does not speak to me of a physical world without the poor. It speaks of a realm of Spirit unseen but come to Earth The kingdom of Heaven is of the spirit. The kingdom of Earth is of the flesh. They are not the same and will never be the same because the nature of flesh is created and subject to birth and death and contrary by design to Spirit. At least that is my take on it. So in living here while the spirit moves me to take action in my sphere of influence and the role i have been given, it does not move me to feel guilty for what i have been given nor tell me it is God's will that i give all i have to the poor.

 

How do i justify having more and another less? I find no need to justify any of it. It is God if any who justifies.

 

Joseph

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Paul,

 

If one is hungry and without food, how can one that has food not offer it? So we give where we see genuine need but i do not feel called to sell all my possessions by Jesus or God as one might suggest as a possibility and give away all that i have been given.

 

So in living here while the spirit moves me to take action in my sphere of influence and the role i have been given, it does not move me to feel guilty for what i have been given nor tell me it is God's will that i give all i have to the poor.

 

How do i justify having more and another less? I find no need to justify any of it. It is God if any who justifies.

 

Joseph

 

I guess what strikes me Joseph, is that most of us simply don't do all we can in our sphere of influence. It is within your sphere of influence to give more, but you choose not to for certain reasons (again, no finger pointing, because I am exactly the same).

 

I hope this isn't too dramatic, but what I am trying to express might be best summed up in the below hypothetical:

 

th_starving_children_1.jpg

"What do you mean 'the poor are always going to be with you'? You mean you had enough money to save my life, but felt that you shouldn't have to help by selling what you have been given?. And you talk about there being a God of love".

 

 

 

It's very confusing to me.

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Paul,

 

You pose a difficult question. A simple and practical answer is that if we all declared poverty and dedicated our lives to serving the poor, there would be no one to grow the food, process it and transport it to feed the hungry.

 

Are most of us more comfortable than we need be? Yes, I know that I am. I think it is incumbent on us to do whatever we can to solve these problems. In addition to contributions and volunteer activities, I think voting for candidates who are concerned with these issues is an important thing to do.

 

George

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One of the families children i help to support because they don't make enough to provide for their family recently sent me a picture. With two children already, i noticed the mother was pregnant again with child. I thought to myself, if i gave all i had to such families and they continued having more children than they could support then soon even my money would not be enough to provide for them. Giving all i have will not solve the world hunger problem. It is deeper than that.

Joseph

 

Yes, it is deeper than that. One answer is - education, education, education. There is a clear correlation between education, fertility and poverty. And, the key is education of women.

 

George

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Yes, it is deeper than that. One answer is - education, education, education. There is a clear correlation between education, fertility and poverty. And, the key is education of women.

 

George

 

Yes, one answer is education, I definitely agree. But not all. And I am NOT saying that the extreme poor have done anything to deserve it. However, I do think that some people make poor choices, some out of ignorance and some out of sheer willfulness. I am not being hard-hearted. I, too, do what I can to help.

 

I do not think money is always the answer, either. Do we act like Jesus when we write a check for the poor but ignore our elderly neighbor who may need his lawn cut or the lady down the street who just wants somebody to visit? I think too many times we focus on the "big" things (like extreme poverty) and forget about the little things we can do right in our own neighborhoods. Again, I'm not saying we shoudn't write the check, just that money is not always answer.

 

Growing up Catholic, I learned the "corporal works of mercy", and the "spiritual works of mercy. Included in these are visiting the sick and giving comfort and instruction. (here are the links if you're interested: http://catholicmessage.blogspot.com/2007/03/corporal-works-of-mercy-and-crowds.html, http://www.secondexodus.com/html/catholicdefinitions/spiritualworksofmercy.htm)

 

Since I have seldom had a lot of surplus, I used to feel wretched and guilty whenever I saw an ad of starving children. I have always given from what little surplus I had, but i always felt I should do more. At some point in the last year or so, I finally stopped feeling guilty. I believe that what Jesus asked others to do is to "embody God" to one another - no matter what that means. He forgave sinners, do we? He ate and drank with outcasts, do we? He spread the good news of our connectedness to God and one another, do we? I can't sell what I have and give it to the poor because I am sick disabled and live disability check to disability check. What I can do, however, is to show people -right here where I am - that God is present and active in all our lives. I like to think of this part of the prayer "St. Patrick's Breastplate" :

"Christ in every ear that hears me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every mouth that speaks of me, Christ in every heart that thinks of me"

I think if we keep this in mine, we will act as Jesus did.

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I think this question might miss something kind of along the line of missing the "Spirit of the Law" in the "Letter of the Law."

 

To use Jesus' outward life as the ideal, the model, for any or everyone else, misses that the principles He expressed were being manifested in the particular circumstances and conditions into which the man Jesus was born and lived out his life.

 

In the story of Jesus' life, we are told he never married. Never had to consider the responsiblities of having and caring for a family. Is it 'wrong' or 'less perfect' to marry, have a family? Of course not. Jesus wandered around teaching and preaching, we are not shown him doing much of any kind of productive work that contributed to society in a material way. Even the idea he was a carpenter by trade is not 'biblical.' He is not described or presented as a carpenter, but as being the son (foster/adopted son, actually, if the conception narrative is considered) of a carpenter. It is the ideal to wander around teaching and preaching and mentoring a bevy of aparantly equally idle disciples that had left their trades to follow him around?

 

As others note here, things would be pretty much a mess if no one was attending the business matters of life. Many are presented in the NT narratives as plying trades, having productive working lives. When Paul solicited contributions for the poor saints at Jeruselum from those in churches elsewhere, he only asked they contribute willingly what they would. Not give everything they had, or under any obligations to do so. On an incident in which a man supposedly fell down dead for having not given everything he had to a communal fund, having held back some for himself, it was not that he hadn't given everything, had held some back, but that he had CLAIMED to have given everything, and had lied, having secretly held back some.

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Yvonne wrote : I do not think money is always the answer, either. Do we act like Jesus when we write a check for the poor but ignore our elderly neighbor who may need his lawn cut or the lady down the street who just wants somebody to visit? I think too many times we focus on the "big" things (like extreme poverty) and forget about the little things we can do right in our own neighborhoods. Again, I'm not saying we shoudn't write the check, just that money is not always answer.

 

and

 

Since I have seldom had a lot of surplus, I used to feel wretched and guilty whenever I saw an ad of starving children. I have always given from what little surplus I had, but i always felt I should do more. At some point in the last year or so, I finally stopped feeling guilty. I believe that what Jesus asked others to do is to "embody God" to one another - no matter what that means.

 

I think you are right on it here. I've often considered, that neither did Jesus promote gathering up charity contributions to send off to help starving people in distant foreign lands! I think it is about connecting and responding to people, not a cause. Though causes of course have their place, too. But different.

 

As you observe, how many people have we seen that give generously to causes like feeding the poor someplace else, while ignoring, even criticizing and looking down on, the needy right around them? In their own communities, neighborhoods, churches, and even families? Are they not just getting a selfish 'feel good' out of their giving, and thinking themselves generous and charitable, rather than having to actually BE compassionate in a personal context? Or condition who/when they help another on how much they like them or not personally?

 

And I think 'true giving' is not only giving on a personal level, and of oneself but also according to the balance of another's needs and our own resources in any particualr instance. Like you point out, the "need" is sometimes money, but often not. And sometime, for some, their own resources held in sufficient abundance to share is money, but also sometimes not. Should the financially and materially poor themsleves be made to feel shame and guilt for not giving away money and material goods what they need for their own well-being? And yet even such a one, with scarcely enough to get by themselves, encounter one actually about to starve to death, wiith no other to help, actually do without a meal themselves to give it to the other, to save their life? Some would.

 

But often what we have in abundance to give and what another needs isn't money. Often its just some time, some show of caring, some little way in which one CAN do for them something to help. Yes, mow the grass, maybe repair the rotted porch steps for the poor elderly or disabled neighbor, or even just take time to go sit on their porch with them a few minutes in the morning. Maybe make a point to check on one living alone at least once or twice daily, to make sure they are ok.

 

I don't think it is in "what" or "how much" is given, that matters, but the heart, the spirit in it.

 

Jenell

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Yvonne wrote: Growing up Catholic, I learned the "corporal works of mercy", and the "spiritual works of mercy. Included in these are visiting the sick and giving comfort and instruction. (here are the links if you're interested: http://catholicmessa...and-crowds.html, http://www.secondexo...orksofmercy.htm)

 

Perhaps an aside, even off topic here, but...while i was not raised Catholic, actually raised in an environment very negative and hostile toward Catholic, and myself can find many issues in which I differ and even might criticise anything about the Catholic church....something I did realize many years ago, is that Catholic teaching and PRACTICE has tradtionally been, still is, much more concerned with matters of charity, caring for the poor, the sick, taking in and taking care of the desperate, the orphaned, the abandoned, as well as upon the effort by the faithful at developing within themselves such as are called 'virtus' of character and kindness and humility and service, that anything I've ever encountered elswhere.

 

Jenell

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i think one of the main reason that poverty will always exist is because people will always exist who simply do not care. Some people don't care to give to charities. I think many countries have plenty of resources, but the political system of the country may not care about the poor. I think this is the case with many dictatorships. Some people may just feel like they can't help in a significant way, so they don't try. I think education is important because so many in the U.S. don't seem to know what's going on in the rest of the world, but people also need to be shaken out of their empathy.

 

Thank you for posing such a challenging question! It really makes me stop and think about what more I could do to help.

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Although we give to local charities, I am personally more inclined to give to those in foreign, poor countries. Although our safety net here is, IMO, too low and has too many holes in it, there are millions around the world with no safety net whatsoever.

 

It is a natural inclination to care for those closer by; we have expressions such as 'charity begins at home' to rationalize it. But, I question if proximity is a better determiner of our benevolence than need. I am personally inclined to favor need.

 

I am not suggesting that anyone else is wrong or less charitable, just stating my personal view.

 

George

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I guess what strikes me Joseph, is that most of us simply don't do all we can in our sphere of influence. It is within your sphere of influence to give more, but you choose not to for certain reasons (again, no finger pointing, because I am exactly the same).

 

I hope this isn't too dramatic, but what I am trying to express might be best summed up in the below hypothetical:

 

th_starving_children_1.jpg

"What do you mean 'the poor are always going to be with you'? You mean you had enough money to save my life, but felt that you shouldn't have to help by selling what you have been given?. And you talk about there being a God of love".

 

 

 

It's very confusing to me.

 

Dear Confused.... (Just being funny of course :) )

 

Of what concern is it to you if the other is not doing all that you think they should be doing in their sphere of influence?

Is it not enough that you do what you think you should be doing?

 

Paul, I do not think there is enough money in the world to save every life. I think George said it well with his words on education. Money and food alone does not get to the root of the problem which is population and resources. Haiti receives for their size more orphan support and help than many other countries yet a visit there still shows extreme poverty with poorer families growing faster than those who have more.and a lack of resources that have been over harvested.

 

i doubt that the caption....

"What do you mean 'the poor are always going to be with you'? You mean you had enough money to save my life, but felt that you shouldn't have to help by selling what you have been given?. And you talk about there being a God of love".

is the words of the children in the picture. Not to be cold but it seems to me to be more the words of someone looking for money by implication of guilt.

The words the "poor will always be with you are quoted from Jesus" If one wants to feel guilty that they have not done more then they could, then one is free to sell all they have and give it away to remove that guilt. While the picture is shocking to most all, i do not sense God placing any guilt or condemnation on me for my actions either past or present and i doubt God is placing them on another. Of course more can always be done and if one is so inclined i would suggest they follow their inclination.

 

Joseph

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I think George said it well with his words on education. Money and food alone does not get to the root of the problem which is population and resources.

 

Joseph, thanks for the kind comment. What I intended to imply about education is that the rich can/should help raise the level of education of the poor. However, I would not suggest this as an alternative to feeding someone who is starving. A hungry person is not a candidate for quality education.

 

I have no idea what it would require to eradicate world hunger through education and assistance, but I suspect that half of our military budget would make a huge big dent. This would still leave us with the greatest military force in the world (roughly equal to half the rest of the world combined including our allies).

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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Paul,

 

You pose a difficult question. A simple and practical answer is that if we all declared poverty and dedicated our lives to serving the poor, there would be no one to grow the food, process it and transport it to feed the hungry.

 

Are most of us more comfortable than we need be? Yes, I know that I am. I think it is incumbent on us to do whatever we can to solve these problems. In addition to contributions and volunteer activities, I think voting for candidates who are concerned with these issues is an important thing to do.

 

George

 

I agree, George. All of us being poor serves no purpose. But if you truly do believe that is incumbent on us to do whatever we can to solve the problems, shouldn't that mean not living as comfortably as you do and spending more time/money helping? Please let me reiterate, than I am in that basket as much as anyone else, so I'm not blaming you, just trying to understand how others see this issue.

 

 

 

Dear Confused.... (Just being funny of course :) )

 

Of what concern is it to you if the other is not doing all that you think they should be doing in their sphere of influence?

Is it not enough that you do what you think you should be doing?

 

I understand what you mean Joseph, and yes, in the strictest sense I can be happy with that, but maybe not when I'm philosophying/theologising and trying to put the pieces together to understand. :)

 

Paul, I do not think there is enough money in the world to save every life. I think George said it well with his words on education. Money and food alone does not get to the root of the problem which is population and resources. Haiti receives for their size more orphan support and help than many other countries yet a visit there still shows extreme poverty with poorer families growing faster than those who have more.and a lack of resources that have been over harvested.

 

True. But I do wonder if it is a bit of an excuse we hide behind.

 

It's like that story of the little girl who walks onto a beach which has thousands upon thousands of starfish washed ashore. She picks one up and throws it back into the sea and a fisherman nearby says "why'd you do that, it's not going to make any difference". The little girl responds "It made a difference to that one".

 

i doubt that the caption....

 

is the words of the children in the picture. Not to be cold but it seems to me to be more the words of someone looking for money by implication of guilt.

The words the "poor will always be with you are quoted from Jesus" If one wants to feel guilty that they have not done more then they could, then one is free to sell all they have and give it away to remove that guilt. While the picture is shocking to most all, i do not sense God placing any guilt or condemnation on me for my actions either past or present and i doubt God is placing them on another. Of course more can always be done and if one is so inclined i would suggest they follow their inclination.

 

I wonder though if guilt is not an inapproiate emotion when we consider we live in relative comfort whilst others live in famine and distress. We perhaps use excuses that we can't do anything significant, or education is the key so we won't give money, and so on, as a way to soothe our conscience?

 

Point 4: "Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe". So the fullest expression of what we believe is that we can only do so much without disturbing our comfortable lifestyle?

 

Point 6: "Strive for peace and justice amongst all people". To strive is to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something/struggle or fight vigorously. Are we really striving?

 

Point 8: "Commit to a path of lifelong learning, compassion and selfless love". Selfless love? Is it selfless to have more than enough money to survive and live reasonably well, whilst others die because they don't have food?

 

Please don't think I'm having a go because I'm in the same boat, and whilst I don't overly 'wrestle' with this issue it does make my question how God/consciousness etc fits in this picture.

 

Joseph

 

I appreciate everyone participating and helping me with their thoughts.

Edited by Paul Smedley
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I think it is important to look at the context of Jesus' words so often excised from that context and used in ways other than it was said, even contrary to how it was said. Even here, some are using (misusing?) it to try to instil guilt upon those that haven't given perhaps as much as they could to help the desperately needy. But that itsn't how Jesus said it. It is also commonly used in religious practice to manuipilate by guilt, more tithe or donation to the church or some charity, even from those that are themselves poor, suggesting Jesus meant the poor were less important that "Him/God?AKA THE CHURCH." (since of course God doesn't have a bank account!)

 

But look at it in context. Jesus KNEW what was just ahead, he KNEW he was in in final hours, about to endure somethng terrible....and all around him people are making merry...and in comes this woman, breaking open the seal on an extemely expensive albaster box to pour out upon his head very expensive and precious ointment.....in the eyes of the others, his own disciples that supposedly loved him, a waste, a total waste, of what could have been sold for 300 pence, and enormous sum, that could have been given to the poor, the needy. And Jesus rebukes them, defends her, glorifies her, with his words, the poor are always out there, but I AM HERE! I AM HURTING! And GRIEVED! And probably scared! I am facing something AWFUL! Don't you see me hurting? And all you, that claim to love me, can do is make merry and think about what could be done with that money? I NEED YOU NOW! i NEED YOU TO CARE, TO SHOW ME YOU LOVE ME AND CARE!

And what they didn't see, couldn't see it seems, this woman DID see, his pain, his grief, and it was immediate, now, and she RESPONDED to it. It doesn't say, or even suggest, she "knew he was God", that she did it becasue he was holy or divine. It wasn't an annointing of oil as done to crown a king, applied by a high priest...it was ointment, medicine, or precious ointment for annointing the body of the dead, poured out by an ordinary, nameless woman.

So yes, that 300 pence could have been used to feed the poor, do a lot more practical "good" than being wasted, poured out over the head of one that sat at meat with them, well fed. But he was HURTING, and NEEDED to be shown he was loved! And they missed it...SHE saw it. She acted, she poured out something precious just out of pure love and compassion for his pain she saw.

 

Now maybe that hundred bucks you were going to send to a big charity might have fed some really hungry people somewhere....but there is someone, a family member, a neighbor, sitting right next to you, that is hurting, needing someone to show them they are loved, cared about, and you aren't seeing it, aren't recognizing it, you are too busy eating and making merry and feeling good about that hundred bucks you sent to feed starving people somewhere. THAT is for what Jesus defended her, glorified her, and said, whereever this gospel, this message, this truth in these words are told, throughout the world, this act of hers shall be spoken as a memorial to her. To her LOVE, her seeing, noticing, and responding, to love one that was hurting and needing to know he was loved. Quite the oppostite of his disciples' view....who thought as some present his words...but just look how much more good this money can do somewhere far off over what it can do to this hurting, needy person right beside me.

 

Mark ch14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the POOR. And they murmured against her.

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

7 For ye have the POOR with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

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Jenell,

 

You make some good points about the phrase "you have the poor with you always". But using it in the context I did was meant to sum up what I think Jesus thought about looking after the poor and oppressed as opposed to the specifics of that one single sentence.

 

Jesus refers to the poor several times in a context I don't think simply means financially poor. I extrapolate from his sayings concerning "what you do for the least of these you do for me" as concern for the poor also.

 

I know I used the example of dollars given, but I really didn't mean that to the exclusion of everything else. I am trying to understand other people's views about Jesus' message and meaning when, for instance, we take a holiday to Hawaii rather than to Ethiopia to volunteer to help the needy, when we go to a nice restaurant for a beautiful meal yet there is a hobo in the alley rummaging through the bin, when we live in a house that could finance 6 other houses instead, albeit they might be located in lower socio economic areas.

 

These things seem like very real conundrums to me. How can one say they are living their life as the fullest expression of Jesus, yet not be doing absolutely everything humanly possible to improve the dire situation of so many others. Apathy is a word that comes to mind, although many would argue that is not the case. It's just that I don't see how it is not. (Strangely enough, I mean this in the kindest way, because I am in this category!).

Edited by Paul Smedley
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Paul, I agree with you in that. And it is something many people of conscious struggle with. And each has to do that on their own, i suppose.

I can't boast of having done that better. I've never really been in a condition of relative wealth. My 'frivolities' have been neccesarily modest. One example you mention, should one go to Hawaii for vacation, or to Ethiopia to volunteer? I've heard people actualy make such choices....yet in that I have to wonder, well if your intent was to do the most good for those people in Ethiopia, why didn't you just send all that money the trip would cost to someone already over there helping people in Ethiopia, and spend youre vacation backing by your pool and bar-b-que?

 

But I can say I've done things at times, to help another, that practical good sense might say were foolish, because I really couldn't afford it, was doing without in some ways myself. Nut it wasn't because I thought it out, wieghed my conscience, is this what I SHOULD do, or in the common slogan is this what Jesus would do, or want me to do? No, actually, it was just that somehow I was moved, my heart was moved, to reach out. And if I could have done otherwise, it would have been hard to, and would have left me feeling, in my own self, I'd not done what was right by my own conscience. Sometimes, I'd like to help, and really can't, in a material way needed, there still may be a way to reach out to just let them know I care.

 

Perhaps that I did go through some really hard times myself, especially early in my adult life, and know how that feels, not just to have a need, a lack of something, but for someone to just show me they noticed, and cared. Some of the things i remember done for me that bring tears to my eyes were not big things, worth a lot of money, but that someone noticed, and cared, and responded to let me know that.

 

I remember, for example, I was 19, trying to take care of two babies by myself, even my own parents determined to not help me, because they didn't understand, didn't want to try to understand, my divorce, thought if I found out how tough things really are, Id 'do the right thing' and go back to my husband. there was no going back. they didn't get that. I was working at an open fronted convenience store, driving to work in an ancient car I'd bought for $50 (even in 1969, that was a CHEAP car!), a 2 door coupe. Neither door would open or close and latch, They were tied closed with wire. The passenger side window wouldn't roll down. The driver's side window was broken out, missing. I taped plastic sheeting over it. I came to work one day, it was cold, cold cold! All I had was a thin jacket. That's all I had. I was required to wear a skirt at work. I was so cold. My legs were goose-bumped and blotchy blue. I climbed out my dirver's side window and went in to relieve the pevious shift. I was so cold i could hardly talk. A customer, a man, I didn't remember seeing him before, didn't know him, a stranger.came out, smiled and asked "aren't you COLD?!" I smiled, lied...."oh, no, I LOVE this cold weather." I was embarrassed, ashamed to say otherwise. Then his expression changed, concerned, "you've GOT to be cold!" Again, i lied, denied it, laughed it off, "no, really, "I'm ok," shivering of course. He left. Thirty minutes later, the man came back...handed me a beautiful thick fake fur car coat, and an unopened pair of thick panty-tights. Said his wife said she didn't need these, would i like them...I accepted, still trying to pretend I was wasn't freezing...I was trying to not 'break', to maintian the pride, I'd been hard raised not to try to make people to feel sorry for me, to buck up when things got tough, you know, the 'when the going gets tough the tough get going' kind of attitude, but of course tears popped in my eyes...and he made it easy, quickly told me to have a good evening, and turned and left. I will ALWAYS remember that. Someone noticed, cared, and responded. Those ARE the kinds of things that stand out most in my memories of someone noticing, responding, letting me know they cared.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Paul, we all have different lives, different circumstance of birth and life. We all have different lessons to learn in different ways in our lives. One's on the road to Omaha, One's on the road to Melbourne. not one a better or less good journey, just different. I do not understand why some must suffer so terribly. Beating myself up about my being better placed doesn't help them a bit. You could sell everything you have, and give to the poor, it wouldn't be a drop in the bucket, and you'd just be one more poor to add to the number.

 

I do remember something about the final scene in the movie "Schindler's List." It impacted me strongly. But what's odd is that the one that concerned himself with remorse, realizing he could have saved more, was the one that had actually done a lot to save some. When the little girl had to give up gathering up the starfish on the beach to throw back into the ocean, for that it has become to dark to see and she is just too tired to pick up and throw another one, will she agonize over those she has to leave behind? And will the old man that laughed at her foolishness for even bothering, sleep well that night, or will he think, too, of the stafish he didn't try to save?

 

But perhaps we are so placed in different lives so that we can help in different ways. Someone more well placed marerially, financially, may be able to do things to work on a bigger scale or just differently than one with less. Of those given more, more is expected. In that movie, Schindler's List, is was becasue Schindler was placed as he was, a wealthy businessman, that he was able to help those he did, and one in a different life place could not have had opportunity to do. And in that story, Schindler didn't start out with that intent, to help anyone, those people. Something in him changed in the course of the story, the events. It was his drive down the road to...wherever....compassion?

 

Jenell

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And Paul, some of us are on different roads in another sense...again, we have different things to learn in different ways...it may be that not everyone is going to travel the road to compassion. Whether at this point in their life, or even ever in their life. Maybe theirs is something else. Humility. Acceptance. Courage. Faithfulness. Maybe wealth offers us some very different opportunities to learn something than poverty. That can only be learned on that road.

 

There was also another deeply impacting scene earlier in Schindler's List, that it took a awhile for me to realize its connection to that final scene. When the cruel comandant was told, I can't remember the exact words, but along the line of, the greatest challenge of power one could meet was told hold the power of life or death over others, and not use it. At the time it was said, it seemed to mean, to have the power to choose to kill others, but not kill them, was the challenge. And of course the slimey comandant laughed it off, promptly ordered some more to be killed or something like that.

But in the final scene, Schindler was confronting he had the power of life and death over others, to save more lives, and didn't use it.

 

i truly think Schindler's List marked a point of a rather dramtic 'enlightenment' that Steven Speilburg had experienced.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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And Paul, some of us are on different roads in another sense...again, we have different things to learn in different ways...it may be that not everyone is going to travel the road to compassion. Whether at this point in their life, or even ever in their life. Maybe theirs is something else. Humility. Acceptance. Courage. Faithfulness. Maybe wealth offers us some very different opportunities to learn something than poverty. That can only be learned on that road.

 

There was also another deeply impacting scene earlier in Schindler's List, that it took a awhile for me to realize its connection to that final scene. When the cruel comandant was told, I can't remember the exact words, but along the line of, the greatest challenge of power one could meet was told hold the power of life or death over others, and not use it. At the time it was said, it seemed to mean, to have the power to choose to kill others, but not kill them, was the challenge. And of course the slimey comandant laughed it off, promptly ordered some more to be killed or something like that.

But in the final scene, Schindler was confronting he had the power of life and death over others, to save more lives, and didn't use it.

 

i truly think Schindler's List marked a point of a rather dramtic 'enlightenment' that Steven Speilburg had experienced.

 

Jenell

 

Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't.

Amon Goeth: You think that's power?

Oskar Schindler: That's what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he's brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he's going to die. And the Emperor... pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.

Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.

Oskar Schindler: That's power, Amon. That is power.

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THANKS!

 

Do you also see the connection, the relationship, to what Schindler confront in himself in that final scene? He had the power to save lives, to grant them that pardon, and didn't use it? At least, as fully as he felt he could have?

 

Jenell

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THANKS!

 

Do you also see the connection, the relationship, to what Schindler confront in himself in that final scene? He had the power to save lives, and didn't use it? At least, as fully as he felt he could have?

 

Jenell

 

I do, but I guess that's why I'm questioning - the power or opportunity to do so much more, but most of us don't. More particularly I am trying to understand why those who espouse Jesus as their ultimate example of how to live their life, how to do God's will, how to be most in touch with God, aren't out there busting their butts to help the needy and oppressed.

 

So far it doesn't answer it for me to say do a little and be comfortable with that.

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