We typically want to avoid suffering don’t we? I mean, on a personal level, most of us don’t want to suffer. We often even take that another step and avoid others who are suffering. Jesus was definitely counter to this part of our culture.
He expected to suffer. He even promised his disciples that they would suffer. (Which begs the question: If disciples suffer, and we avoid suffering at all costs – are we really disciples?) But not only that, Jesus sought out those who were suffering. He left his Father’s side (where He was not suffering) to enter a world full of suffering. He noticed the suffering in the crowds that gathered around him.
In our nation, today, do we seek out the suffering? Or do we avoid those parts of town? Do we drive around the “bad neighborhoods” where we know we’ll see someone “less fortunate” than ourselves? Compassion recently partnered with Nooma to make a short film called Corner that hits on this issue. In the video, there is a line that suggests that we “find some suffering and do something about it.”
I want to suggest the same. I need to give up my American dreams of comfort and ease and “seek first the kingdom of God”. Maybe you do to. Maybe we need to recognize that as some of the most wealthy people in the world (yes, even in this economy that is supposedly in the tank, the lower middle class of America is more wealthy than about 95% of the rest of the world), we can do something about much of the suffering we see (if we will indeed see it).
Like many people I can tend to point out problems much more quickly than offer solutions. But here are a few links and ideas to help us “find some suffering and do something about it”:
The coldwater mission later this summer is all about revealing the Kingdom by serving people that have needs our group can meet. Join us…
Compassion – sponsor a child
Kiva – micro loans you give to help someone escape poverty
Help with a soup kitchen
Donate some clothes
TOMS shoes – for every pair of shoes bought, a pair are given free to someone who needs them
Get a couple friends and clean up someone else’s yard
Visit people in the hospital and nursing homes – give them the gift of being there
Use your imagination – share some more ideas in the comments section – how could you find some suffering and do something about it?