My recent life has happened extremely fast. This past January a few friends of mine decided to throw a surprise party for my sixteenth birthday. I was surprised, yes, but at the end of the day I was left with a main focus on how extremely blessed I am to have such a core group of like-minded, Christ-loving brothers and sisters at such a young age. Some time later after turning sixteen, I was given a job. Not long after I acquired my own car. Visiting a college campus sparked me into realizing that a degree is not too far down the road either. All these things, not to mention living in a good house with a strong family, a church family that truly loves and cares about growing ever more confident in Christ instead of simply "walking the walk", a consistent amount of food in the pantry, a secure amount of money, proper hospitals down the road in case of emergencies, and so much more. I along with a majority of people around me have been blessed beyond measure when it comes to earthly needs, and even not-so-necessaries, and still we continue to take every aspect for granted.
Sad, yes, that this is the case but believe it or not the act of taking things for granted is only part of the problem. Looking at children living in Africa it is easy to see a huge marginal difference in how they live life as opposed to how Americans, or any other first-world country does. One of the first things that one notices is the fact that they have so little. As a society, we tend to see this and immediately believe that we are in a better situation. Would it be strange if I told you otherwise?
"For who makes you different than anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? - 1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV
If you are blessed with "stuff"(essentially), why do you believe that you are in a better position than those who have little? Because when it comes down to it, Christ died for you just as much as for those who do not have much. Why? Because both people in different situations were just as lost and broken and distracted and ignorant as the next guy. We are all on an equal level of failure, and we are all on an equal level of grace. For what will become of those possessions anyway? Gone. Worthless. Yet, we still try to convince ourselves (and do a pretty darn good job at it most of the time) that we have more.
I suppose what I'm trying to get at is that I have Jesus and Jesus alone. I don't have "Jesus and this other stuff". He is my everything, whether I want Him to be or not. Because there will be a day when everything I "own" will perish, and it will become all too clear that He was all I had all along.
Problem being, I still have stuff. Is having a house, a car, a job, church, family, hospitals etc. a blessing. Yes! The question is how will we use them? The least if these have been given little physical needs for a complete purpose. Likewise, typical first-world Americans have been given much - for a purpose. How will we use our blessing? Will we leave it at "oh we're just blessed..." and move on with our iPhones and starbucks and youth group like nothing changes? How could we be so ignorant? How could I be so ignorant?
Point being, you have not been blessed, to be blessed. You have been blessed in order that you may be a blessing. This week, challenge yourself to step out of your normal routine and be a blessing to someone else. Make Jesus known. Also, to pray for those in hard situations. Because yes, physical necessities are not everything, but they do make life harder. Pray for strength, confidence, and hope. Pray that they, along with yourself, will continually keep your eyes focused on Jesus.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
- Hebrews 12:2, NIV