“Are you willing?”

Last week the Dothan Eagle published an article by Jeremy Wise about Nadia Karnatova. Nadia is on a speaking tour of churches in our area. She is representing the “Operation Christmas Child”, a program sponsored by the Samaritan’s Purse organization. The organization sends shoeboxes all over the world to under-privileged children. It is very similar to a program Westgate participates in. We call ours “Smile boxes”, and they go to poor children in Nicaragua.

Nadia was raised in Ukraine where her father preached Christ illegally. They were so poor she could not go to school until she was nine because of a lack of clothes. That year or the next she got one of the boxes. Her testimony was all about how that shoebox changed her entire view of God and the world.

I was impressed by her closing remarks. She said, “God did not put you somewhere in a poor country.” She’s right of course. We are in the United States of America, and the richest people on the globe live here. Not all of us are rich but I’m sure the overwhelming majority of us are able to dress our children for kindergarten. We have a lot of HDTVs and cellphones are everywhere. Even the poorest among us have food available from a church or governmental agency.

Nadia went on to say, “He put you here because He knows your heart.” She was speaking the truth in love I think. We are not here to enjoy the riches of the land and ignore the poor of the world. “Remember the poor,” Jesus said. It’s not what we spend on ourselves but what we do for others that he recognizes. “If you did it to the least of these…”

“You’re here for a reason,” the young lady said. Then she said the words that have a haunting quality to them. I want us to ponder them seriously in our hearts today. “You’re here for a reason, but are you willing to be used?”

Desperately poor people are found all over the world. Probably not in our neighborhoods, however. We have two or three cars in my neighborhood. We eat at restaurants in my neighborhood. We have nice houses with nice furniture and we wear nice clothes to school and church. Nadia and her siblings had to take turns wearing a pair of shoes because there was only one pair. My neighborhood needs storage space for their shoes.

Is that why we’re here? Did God prosper us so that we could spend it all on ourselves? He has blessed us and he has asked us to remember the poor. Are we willing to be used?

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