Is it better to give locally than globally?
Here- access to free education, and enforced.
There- in many cases, girls cannot go to school when they begin menstruation. Also, most schools are too far for children to walk to, they can’t afford them, they can’t afford the needed school supplies and often children are needed to work to support the family.
Here- We have access to health care. It’s not perfect, but death due to minor illnesses is anything but common. The rate of death for children in Canada under the age of five is 5/1,000 children.
There- No access to health care, free or otherwise. In Sierra Leone, the rate of death for children was 161/1,000 in 2013. This is due to many factors- war, illness, malnutrition. All are bad for your health.
I was born here, in Canada, through no doing of my own. We have help available in thousands of ways. If we made a little less money, we would qualify for free dental work prescriptions and optical also, here in Alberta (besides our provincial health coverage). If I can’t afford a carseat, one is provided by a health unit. If I need anything, I can go to a church or government office, and they will provide me with help. Heck, I can even have a friend post on Facebook and a flood of help will come. I can go to a food bank if I need food. Maybe it’s not the “best” food, but it is food that will fill my belly, and my children’s bellies. Not one of these options are perfect; there’s many holes in these systems. But there are systems in place.
If I lived in a developing nation, chances are pretty good I would have no husband. It’s a vicious cycle: men are brought up without dads, so when they have children they don’t feel the need to stick around. I would not be able to take my kids to the doctor when they are sick. Seeing as I graduated as a community services worker, there is no chance I would be able to get a job- no community services. If I grew up there, I would probably try to support my kids with selling anything I could find, maybe try my hand at a chicken or goat (if I’m super lucky and can buy one.) Maybe I could get a job at a factory and make clothes for my Canadian sisters, and get paid $1000 a year in dangerous conditions, but that’s unlikely. Most get paid less. My children, once they hit age 5, if they live to that, can get a job in a sweatshop. That’s where 250 million children work. Pretty amazing when you consider that 35 million people live in Canada. In some countries, it is not uncommon to sell your child into slavery. (I am not even going to get into what would happen if I were raped in another country. If you don’t know what happens to women in some countries: find out.) And you know why I don’t have to deal with any of this?
Because I was born here. Through no doing of my own.
And mercy, I’m grateful. It’s not an accident: God put me here, in this place, in this small town. But the minute that my little neck of the world starts to become more important than the rest of the world?
Please, punch me.
The minute that the needs of my neighbor become more important than the needs of my sister in Somalia?
Again, punch me.
We have absolutely no right on this earth to judge what needs are more important. Should we give in our communities? Should we help the people who just had a baby that are down on their luck? Definitely! No doubt about it! Do we help people in our towns? Yes, yes, yes!
Is their plight harder? Is their need more great? Should we STOP giving to other countries and complain that our taxes are helping them?
NO. That’s a flat no.
I’m thankful that I was born into a country that recognizes that basic access to water should be a right of humanity. That living in the turmoil of a typhoon where thousands of people are homeless, for months and indefinitely, is more important than getting every person up to what we think our standard of living should be. I am thankful that I live in a country that recognizes needs here, and abroad.
Matthew 25:40- 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Luke 3:10-1110 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Find the “least of these.” Find them in your town. In your province, in your country. But never forget that the poorest of us is still rich in many means. It is not up to us to put one need above another: we are told to give, give, give. Cheerfully. To whoever is on our hearts. If you have a heart for people that live close to you, that’s great. But never think that one is better or more deserving than the other.
And just because I love this picture:
Blessed are those who give, and won’t be thanked in this life. Matthew 6:3“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
I am so blessed to be born here.