There’s a book I’ve been reading that has been rocking my world the last month. Good News about Injustice by Gary Haugen. Quick Haugen background – he is the President and CEO of a Christian organization called International Justice Mission. From their website, www.ijm.org – “International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.” Lawyers, investigators and social workers (like my very good friend, Ann Steffen) dive deeply into the evil of this world in order to bring a few out of the depths of unimaginable atrocities like child sex slavery.
I’ve always been impressed by Haugen, not only for the work that he is doing, but by the fact that he has seen so many horrible things and still fully proclaims that God is good. It’s not uncommon for me to doubt this. The book has been renewing this in me once again.
There’s a story that he tells that has stuck with me this week. I was planning on writing about Richar, but decided to leave that for next week. =) Haugen is repeating a story he heard from a Pastor about the very well known feeding 5,000 with the fish and loaves miracle:
“The disciples brought complaints about the hungry multitude to Jesus, and he responded compasionately by blessing the bits of food from a boy’s lunch – five loaves of bread and two fishes. ‘Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They ate and all were satisfied’ (Matthew 14:19-20). The speaker then asked us to imagine a scenario in which the disciples just kept thanking Jesus for all the bread and fish – without passing them along to the people. He asked us to imagine the disciples starting to be overwhelmed by the piles of multiplying loaves and fish surrounding them, yelling out to Jesus, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!” – all the while never passing along the food to people. And then beneath the mounting piles of food, the disciples even could be heard complaining to Jesus that he wasn’t doing anything about the hungry multitude.”
This is a ridiculous story. Since we know how it went down, it seems so silly to think that the people in this crowd would actually let a heap of food pile up around them without realizing that they are supposed to pass it along. And even sillier that they would grumble against Jesus for not doing anything about it when they had all the resources right in front of them. Imagine if they had done nothing! But then my laughter at how preposterous this would be tapers off as I think about what I’m doing. In what ways can I use the heaps of blessings that I’ve allowed to pile up around me to effect change in this world, be it financially, educationally, spiritually, technologically and with my time? Haugen goes on to say:
“Looking at the millions of slaves in India or the thousands of child prostitutes in Asia or thousands of torture victims twisting and bleeding in the world’s forgotten jail cells, we can say to God, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for all the power, protection, freedom, and justice you have granted us in sparing us from such fates. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!’
Or we can ask, What have you given me, Father, that I might help those who don’t have power, who don’t have protection, who don’t have freedom, who don’t have justice?”
What are you being called to do with the fish and the loaves you’ve been given to pass on to others?