I put Cheerios into my shopping cart, and jingling monotonously over the loudspeakers is Dance until the morning light/Forget about the worries on your mind/We can leave them all behind. Half a world away, a mother tries to thrust her baby to strangers and safety on the other side of barbed wire.
My daughter and her friend chatter in the backseat about a missed pass in volleyball and how Honors English is so much work. The same moment in time, a 15-year-old daughter of a pastor is pulled from her bed and forced into a marriage of terror, her father watching broken and helpless.
I read about the mountainous landfill in Ghana, filled with cast-off American clothing. Even the poor of Africa are overwhelmed by the influx of our discarded shirts and dresses. I contemplate the statement: “We’re buying 60 percent more clothes now than we did 15 years ago. But we’re keeping them for half as long.” Meanwhile, a few countries over, a doctor dashes around her city, foraging for any bit of cash she can coax from empty ATM machines.
My house now has two refrigerators in it. Two. Because heaven forbid I go to the grocery store (which is five minutes away) more than once a week. But I justified this because practically everyone in America has more than one fridge and I bought the cheaper one and I buy used clothes and I pull my own weeds instead of paying someone. There’s a whine in my voice and a defensiveness on my face because I don’t want to admit how spoiled I am, despite what meager sacrifices I am making.
Jesus told the story of a master who, before going on a long journey, asked three servants to invest his gold. One received 5 bags of gold, another 3, another one. The first two used the gold to multiply the master’s wealth, and earned great reward on his return. But the servant who received just one bag hid the money away–not squandering it, but not putting it to work either–and the master severely punished him. (Matt. 25)
If I was a servant in that story, I would be a 5-bag servant. I am one of the most privileged people on this planet. I am richer, safer, more educated, and healthier than more than 90% of the world’s population. Maybe 95%.
If the master in Jesus’ parable judged the servant who was careless with one bag of gold, what would have happened if the servant with 5 bags had been equally irresponsible?
What will it be like, on That Day, when I must give an account of myself to God? What will I have to show for the resources and opportunities He has given me? Indeed, it will be by His grace alone that I am even allowed to stand in His presence, but when I present to Him the pile of my good works, will the fire leave behind anything of value? (I Cor. 3)
To whom much is given, from him much will be required. (Luke 12:48)
What is He requiring of me today?