Inevitably when I remember this, I feel a pang of guilt. How come I live in a house, eat food from my cupboards and refrigerator, carry a cell phone, use a computer like it's no big deal, drive a car, think nothing of traveling five miles away to a grocery store that has stacks of food available, and more in the back room, shop at Target where there's any number of products available to me...and on and on.
Mind you, I'm not rich by American standards...far from it. But I acknowledge that I live better here than the poor people of many other countries do where they are.
Then I realized, now wait... God's the One who placed me here. I didn't lie/cheat/steal my way here...neither did any of my ancestors to my knowledge. We are here, that's all. We didn't do anything wrong, and we aren't doing anything wrong by being here.
So then, why am I here in the States? Do I live here in the States because God loved me more? No, absolutely not.
Why does God grant us the blessings here?
God gives us blessings so we can bless others, right?
So what DO we have the luxury to spend our energy on?
Extra TV shows? Earning just a little more so we can have a bigger house or a third car? Fighting with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Gossipping, arguing, crying, whining....
Did God give us the chance to spend extra energy on spreading the gospel? Were we given the gift of living here because God needed someone to be able to fight on the front lines? To support the front lines of the spiritual battles financially? To give of ourselves in what we consider little ways, to make a huge difference somewhere else?
I don't think we Americans (or other first world countries) need to feel guilty at all about the fact that we live here, and that we tend to have more.
Sometimes where you live dictates that your life looks different. We don't have to feel guilty about that.
What we do need to remember though, is that God gave us these blessings for a reason.
We don't have to concentrate all our efforts on just gathering food, making our tarp-walls tight against the cold, building a fire to cook, etc. Because much of this is so easy for us, we are able to concentrate on bringing the gospel to others. We're able to spend so much more energy on missions - financial energies, physical energies, and prayer energies.
So while I don't believe you should feel guilty simply for being born in America, or any other 'first world country', I do believe each of us then has an obligation to spread God's Word far and wide.
While we're giving a cup of water, tell them it's in Jesus' name. When we give a helpless person a helping hand, let them know it's from God....
Be where you are with no apology - but use that blessing to further the gospel of Jesus Christ.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/superamit/4569922802/">@superamit</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>