Blessed to be a Blessing

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I have learnt to be aware over the years, just how blessed I am. I used to have a mental shopping list almost of all the nice things I wanted to have or all the things I wanted to achieve but God has taught me that I am abundantly blessed without the need for these shopping lists. A lot of you reading this post will be like me. I know this because if you are reading, then you have an internet connection. To connect to the internet, you require a computer or a smartphone/tablet device. This fact alone places you within the top 40% of wealth in the world.

I live in Australia and my parents worked hard to give me a good education. I am blessed enough to live in a house but I don’t have a lot of money being a full time student at present. I am able to work and be paid for it. I am able to instantly contact my friends through communication networks and the internet. I have a car in which I can get around my city and suburbs with ease, but I am also close enough to walk to a corner store or supermarket to buy what I need to survive. My lifestyle, although I may not think that it is much,
puts me in the category of ‘wealthy’ on the world spectrum.

I could go on for a while about the blessings in my life that sometimes I don’t take enough time to appreciate and I encourage everyone to do this at some point. Write down a list of things you could be thankful for if this helps you! But there is always one thing that bugs me – why doesn’t everyone in the world have access to everything that I have access to?

Robin from Baptist World Aid came to preach at my church about a year ago now. He was preaching on Jesus’ second greatest commandment which we can find in Matthew 22:39 – “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Robin made this passage come alive for me that day by explaining what it meant. Previously, love your neighbour to me meant that I should be nice to all people and treat others with respect. But Robin said that loving your neighbour was more than being nice. Loving your neighbour was about making sure that your neighbour has fair access to everything that you have fair access to. Wow.

So by this definition, if I have access to the internet – my neighbours i.e. everyone else in the world, should also have access to the internet. But maybe let’s pull it back a bit. I saw a meme recently which had an African boy pictured and it read “So you mean to tell me that you have so much clean water that you poop in it?” That hit hard as well. Our “toilet water” is cleaner than most of the water that those in developing countries have access to.

It is hard to know how to help because the gap is so huge. But this Christmas, I challenge you to start somewhere. The rest of this post will explain one way in which you can become involved in changing the world this Christmas.

There are many charities which you can give money to for work in developing countries. Baptist World Aid is one of them, World Vision, Tear, Compassion, the list goes on. And Christmas is one of the best times of year to partner with one of these charities because they have “Christmas Catalogues” which you can purchase gifts for those in developing countries on behalf of yourself or others (the links above will link to their Christmas Gift Catalogues). A lot of them these days are providing gift cards as a way that you can “gift” someone else the joy of giving.

No matter which organisation you choose, people in developing countries will be blessed through your giving. I have partnered with all of the organisations that I have mentioned already at different times. But my favourite organisation to partner with is Gospel for Asia (GFA). GFA are an impressive organisation for a few reasons.

  1. 100% of your donation goes towards the project that you have donated it towards. Other organisations take a percentage of your donation to pay for things such as wages of employees, admin costs, promotional materials, etc. GFA, on the other hand, has all of these ‘other’ costs covered by donors who donate specifically to cover these costs. This allows them to send 100% of donations for projects to the projects themselves.
  2. GFA offer projects to donate towards for both developmental works and for evangelism. So I can not only donate towards water filters or animals for business, but I can also donate towards gifts for missionary works or bibles for developing countries.
  3. Due to offering both developmental and evangelistic projects, GFA have struggled with the government to keep their tax deductible status. GFA refused to separate their developmental and evangelistic projects and has therefore lost its tax deductible status. Although this is often a perk for giving to charitable organisations – this should never be the reason to choose which organisation in which to give to.
  4. GFA do fantastic work in Asia and India and surrounding countries which I keep up with in their GFAworld magazine. They also have some other fantastic resources in the form of free books (e-books and print copies), mp3s and videos which expound more of the heart GFA and their founder, K.P. Yohannan. Click here to learn more.

I challenge you this Christmas to think about your neighbour. How can you give this Christmas so that someone else may feel the love of our Saviour which we celebrate at this time of year? I urge you, whether it is through Gospel for Asia or through another aid organisation, to put a donation on your Christmas list so that together we can help bring the kingdom of God on earth.

– Mike

What I am Reading: The Book of Isaiah, Shall We Tell The President? by Jeffrey Archer

What I am Listening to: Aesthesis by Dead Letter Circus, Page Avenue by Story of the Year, Zion by Hillsong United


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