I refinished my kitchen table and chairs last week. And one night while waiting on my paint to dry, I watched a video about the slaughter taking place in Syria. Slaughter of humans. While my paint dried. And I just sat there in a (hormonal) pile and cried over the chasm.
True, God doesn’t call all of us to hop on a plane and fly to Africa. He doesn’t call all of us to enter the political arena and make laws or fight physical wars. Training up our kids in the ways of the Lord — pouring the love and truth of Jesus into their spirits day-in and day-out — is the call upon many of our lives in this day. And that’s a HUGE calling.
But I don’t want to live blind to the atrocities of earth. I don’t want to close my eyes to the pain of this world and think that someone else will pick up all the pieces. I want to be used-up, however my Father-God wills. Typed from my comfy seat at Starbucks while sipping a latte. Good grief. The chasm.
I don’t tell you this to heap guilt on your (or my) head. Guilt doesn’t motivate. Not for long, any way. The only thing — the only One — that motivates us to do world-shifting things is Jesus. Not because He has a finger pointed and a face scowling, but because of the opposite. His love and kindness delivered us. And when we dwell in the deep waters of redemption, eyes set on eternal things, we can’t help but be moved in compassion for a needy world. We can’t help but open our hands and loose our feet while saying, “Use me up for Your glory, Lord.”
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:17 – 3:18
All of this (slightly uncomfortable talk) makes me think about inspiring people like Kristen Welch. A couple of years ago I heard her speak for the first time. And what struck me was her normalcy. Her quiet spirit that wouldn’t, on the outset, appear to do things like shake nations and set captives free. Yet that’s what God is using her to do. “Just a simple family who said yes when God asked.” And in that saying “yes,” God has used the Welch family to help start Mercy House in Kenya and the Fair Trade Friday Club. A beautiful reminder that God uses normal, everyday humans to do soul-freeing, spirit-resurrecting, world-changing things when we say yes. Amazing.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, in addition to the emotional breakdown during my furniture painting, a couple of months ago I was asked to be a part of the Fair Trade Friday blogging team. And knowing what I know about Mercy House and the Welch family, I was totally honored to partner with them in telling the online world about this opportuntiy that you and I have — from right where we live — to help impoverished families across the world.
What is Fair Trade Friday? “Fair Trade Friday is a monthly membership club that delivers high quality fair traded items to your door. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world. Plus, they are really cute!” Seriously. I personally joined, not because I had to as a part of the blogging team but because I wanted to. The items are beautiful and each come with a story to tell. You can find out more by clicking here.
Maybe fair trade shopping seems like a small thing to do when so much tragedy takes place across the planet. But it’s something. It’s a small something that you and I can do that provides a huge gift to families who were once without hope.
We’re only here on this earth for a vapor of time and we have some choices to make in this day. We have choices to make with our time, our actions, our thoughts, and our resources. In thinking of all the choices that we get to make today, I pray that we’re so full of the grace and love of our Maker, that we can’t help but make choices that pour out Jesus onto a needy, broken, hungry, bound-up world. Let’s keep running this faith race with endurance, sweet friends, eyes set on Him.
Some Easy Action Steps You Can Take Today
- Watch this short but powerful documentary about Mercy House Kenya.
- Consider joining the Fair Trade Friday Club. More info available by clicking here.
- TELL SOMEONE ELSE about Fair Trade Friday by sharing this post online.
Oh and for the record, I still believe there’s a time and place for refinishing furniture. So for those who may be wondering, yes, my table and chairs turned out amazing.
Fill me, Lord…
How has God moved your own heart for our needy world lately?