I just wanted to share a small thing, since it's almost Yom Kippur, something God's been dealing with me on lately. This January God led me to Isaiah 58 (about fasting), to be my "theme" for the year. After much prayer and soul-searching, I have to confess that I have failed, mainly, in doing anything outlined in this passage. He has, in fact, been on my case for about a year to spend some time volunteering among those less fortunate and wounded. To my shame, I haven't done it. I have been too busy pursuing my own desires and my own activities and not listened to His voice. In fact, He has been pressing me to give up other activities and take this up instead (since I used the excuse that I have no time for other volunteering).
The crisis came this fall due to a few factors. One of them was reading an article in the paper recently about the crime rates and abortion rates in various first-world countries and the percentage of the population which claims to believe in God and go to church on a regular basis. The unfortunate fact which the study unearthed is that the US has by far the greatest percentage of people who believe in God and attend services, but yet has the greatest percentage of social ills- by a huge margin. I was in disbelief but I went and investigated the original study (which didn't pretend to be conclusive, but did point out this glaring inconsistency) and found out that it was indeed true. (The study did not include third world countries due to a lack of data, but it is my belief that one would discovera different story there.)
I have also been reading a book by Philip Yancey called "Soul Survivor" which outlines biographies of different men of faith who have deeply influenced his faith. The book is not a social comment, but I cannot read it without comparing the lives of these people with mine, and discover mine is lacking in crucial ways.
And, most of all, I began to think of Yeshua and the verse, "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich." Yeshua would have impoverished Himself by just becominghuman, even if He had chosen to be the son of an emperor or king. But He not only chose to belong to the most despised race of all times, but to be the illegitimate child of a teenage nobody. All his life he chose to associate with prostitutes, winos, crooks, and 'trade' workers. I usually run the other way when I see such people coming. We talk about going back to the roots of our faith and maybe even we are missing the point.
The crux of the matter for me was when I asked myself:
When was the last time I gave anyone a cup of water in His name?
When was the last time I gave someone a meal?
Or visited anyone in the hospital or prison?
I have to confess I have never been in a prison at all. So I rely on His
grace but my behavior is that of a goat.