Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… – Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
“Global” seems to be the latest buzz word. You’ve got to think, speak, and act “globally.” No more the small-town mindset. Anyone who isn’t sophisticated, well-informed and technology-savvy just isn’t with it these days.
This global philosophy has infiltrated the Christian ranks, too. We’re to pray for the world, for the country, for worldwide missions, for people we don’t know and probably never will. Now, this isn’t bad. Someone needs to pray for world peace and missions.
There are those who can handle this information overload. I’m not one of them.
Quite frankly, it depresses me. I’m overwhelmed by prayer lists that grow longer and more disheartening by the day. I feel helpless when I read of a 101-year-old woman on her way to church who’s mugged by an addict who targets elderly women to get his drug money; of children and animals that are tortured and killed; of government officials who are more interested in playing politics, posturing, and pointing fingers than running the country; of misused money that was sent in good faith to alleviate others’ suffering.
Do I really need to know all this? My “global” prayers seem weak, bumbling, pat, and ineffective.
I keep thinking of the question God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2) and the need to focus on what I have in my hand and do it well. I’m sensing the need to reach out to people around me who are hurting — something I’ve neglected because I’ve been too focused on the “global.”
But God has been saying, “Look to the Lazarus at your gate.” The older I get, the more people whom I know will be hospitalized, lose loved ones, experience crises. These are the Lazaruses at my gate. Yet I’ve insulated and isolated myself from my immediate world in pursuit of the global.
How many decades did Mother Teresa labor in the ghettos of India unnoticed? Now, this woman didn’t think globally. Yet her words resonate in my soul: “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
When we focus too much on the global, we can overlook the people around us —family, neighbors, those we meet at church, in the store, at ballgames, and on the street — because we may think that ministering to them is too small.
But the globe is made up of folks like these, and if we each reached out and touched them, the ripples will be felt in all the world.
Dear God, open my eyes to the Lazarus at my gate today. Amen.
Read and reflect on Luke 16:19–31.