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An Attitude of Gratitude – June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

I’ve been doing some reading on poverty.  The facts are staggering, heart-breaking and overwhelmingly depressing.  We’ve been discussing the Book of James in church the past few weeks and last week the message was based on this passage of the Scriptures: James 1:26-27.  If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  Pastor Brad especially focused on verse 27 and “religion that is pure and faultless.”   We are, as a church, commanded to care for the world’s vulnerable.

I know, I know, it is often difficult to care for ourselves and our children, now God expects us to take on the additional burden of the world’s vulnerable? 

Yes, He does. 

Pay attention to these facts:

  1. Almost half the world – more than three billion people – live on less than $2.50 per day.
  2. Approximately 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 per day.
  3. The poorest 40% of the world’s population accounts for 5% of the world’s income.  The richest 20% accounts for 75% of the world’s income.
  4. 22,000 children die each and every day due to poverty.
  5. Approximately 27-28% of all children in developing countries are underweight or stunted, the majority of these children live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  6. Approximately 72 million children of primary school age in developing countries do not attend school, 57% of them girls.
  7. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. 
  8. There are 350-500 million new cases of malaria every year, with at least 1 million fatalities.  Africa accounts for 90% of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80% of malaria victims worldwide.
  9. 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
  10. 2 in 3 people lacking access to clean water live on less than $2 per day, with 1 in 3 living on less than $1 per day.  That translates to 660 million people living on less than $2 per day and 385 million on less than $1 per day.
  11. Access to piped water averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared to 25% for the poorest 20%.
  12. 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)
  13. Approximately 1.8 million children die each year from diarrhea, that’s almost 5,000 children every day.
  14. Approximately 1.4 million children die each year due to lack of access to clean water, that’s almost 4,000 children every day.
  15. Out of the approximately 2.2 billion children in the world 1 billion live in poverty.
  16. Out of the 1.9 billion children living in developing countries: 640 million do not have adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health care.
  17. Approximately 10.6 million children die each year before they reach the age of 5, and that number is growing.
  18. 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized.
  19. 15 million children are orphaned each year due to HIV/AIDS.
  20. 1.6 billion people, 25% of the world’s population, live without electricity.
  21. The GDP of the 41 most heavily indebted countries is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest individuals combined.
  22. Approximately 790 million people in developing countries are chronically undernourished, almost 66% of those living in Asia and the Pacific.
  23. 12% of the world’s population uses 85% of its water, and those 12% do not live in developing countries.
  24. This info and more can be found here:

These numbers are staggering, I know.  I also know that one person cannot cure all the ills of this world.  One person cannot fix all the problems I listed, or even the ones I left off the list.  But as Christians, as human beings, as members of this world’s population we can band together and do something about it.  Great oceans are built one drop at a time.  Two really great organizations that I have had personal experience with are WorldVision and Compassion International.  If one person makes a difference in the life of one child just think of the possibilities that will be opened up for that child’s community. 

Various members of our church have agreed to sponsor children from one community in Africa through WorldVision.   Altogether more than 200 children are being sponsored, one child at a time.  Is there a better way to express pure religion?  Is there a better way to teach these vulnerable children and families that God does love them and care for them?

Okay, maybe sponsoring a child thousands of miles away is not your cup of tea.  In my community alone there are more than 2,000 children waiting for homes.  Can you become a foster parent?  How about your family becoming a forever family for a child who needs one?  Can you help out at your local food bank?  How about visiting a shut in?  There are convalescent centers full of people who never get visitors and they would love to see you.  Care for the vulnerable.  Care for the lost and disenfranchised.  Spread the love of the Father.  I promise you, you will see a difference in your life, a difference for the better.

My gratitude list for today.

  1. I have access to clean, sanitary water, and plumbing. 
  2. I have a home.
  3. I received an education as a child that enabled me to obtain a job.
  4. I earn more than $2 per day.  I’m apparently among the top 20% of the world’s population, income-wise.
  5. My children are whole and healthy and have all survived past 5 years of age.

I am truly blessed.

Dear Lord, thank you for all these simple blessings that I take for granted each and every day.  Please help me never lose focus on the fact that there are thousands of lives lost every day that are completely preventable.  Please show me the steps You would have me take to contribute towards the eradication of these problems.  Be with these lost children and their families.  Show them Your love and mercy.  Please extend to them Your grace.  I ask this in the name of Your son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN


What are you grateful for today?

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