I watched the Daily Show with Jon Stewart this morning–taped from last night–and he featured former President Jimmy Carter on his show. Carter has just turned 90, and has just returned from Africa for the umpteenth time on a project of eradicating the Guinea Worm, a parasite that had infected 3.5 million people a few years ago. Today there are only 126 reported cases. Carter is also responsible for starting the Habitat for Humanity projects that have made homes available to many needy families. And he has served–with other former presidents–as representative to other countries on various projects.
Regardless of how you felt about him when he was president–if you are old enough to remember back that far–with the exception of the Camp David Accord, when he got Egypt and Israel to agree on peace for the first time, he has done more significant things since he has left office than while president. The biggest thing many former presidents have done is had a library established in their name, something like carving an effigy to leave when you die. But at age 90, Carter is not finished yet.
I say this because it’s obvious he has looked far beyond the “vested interests” of the United States, sometimes a euphemism for helping out oil companies or other conglomerates in other countries. Carter sees the needs overseas, regardless of political boundaries, and is instrumental in meeting those needs.
Much of the reason he’s doing it is out of compassion; you know he won’t get anything out of his efforts. But I’d also like to think he’s doing it because he knows he’s been blessed and he owes something to others in need and to his Creator.
I was sitting in church the other day thinking about the things that God asks us to do. “He has shown thee, O man what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee? But to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8. That puts it quite simply. God requires us to think about other people. Why? Do other people need us? It’s not like we can completely eradicate poverty and disease, but shouldn’t we try? “There will always be poor,” Jesus had said. And if God owns the “cattle on a thousand hills,” why can’t He feed them?
Well, He could. There’s always danger of limiting God and saying He can’t do this or that. But maybe He doesn’t do it because He is looking for something else.
I am one of those who believe that we are saved by faith. Alone. But then what? How do we live our lives when we used to being selfish in everything we do? Is that the kind of person that God wants in heaven?
God provides opportunities to give because He wants us to grow to be more and more like Him every day. Generous. Caring. Compassionate. It’s not enough to be touched by the sad commercial on TV; God wants us to do something about it. And this goes even if we never see the results of our sacrifice.
God isn’t worried about where our money goes, and we shouldn’t be either.
We should be aware of what the action does to us.