Opening Your Eyes
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. —Psalm 82:3
Driving through Lagos, Nigeria—one of the largest cities in the world—is quite an adventure. Driving through the traffic of the busy roads is like walking through a swap meet. As you drive, you can buy anything from chewing gum to tripods to phone cards to household goods, food…almost anything. Hundreds of people station themselves on these busy city streets doing their best to offer their goods, in order to make it day-to-day. The longer I was in Lagos, the less I looked out my window, keeping my eyes looking forward.
On a particularly slow traffic day (it took an hour to drive two miles), the amount of people that came by our car was uncountable. It is easy to say "no" again and again for goods you don't want or need, but it is much harder to say "no" to the small child who knocks on your window asking for money for food, to the crippled man on a skateboard rolling between cars hoping someone will give him some money, or the young girl who walks a blind gentleman past your car and asks if you can spare some change. Stories like these are commonplace in Lagos and all over the world. It got so bad that, at one point, I simply closed my eyes because I couldn't look anymore.
It is easy to feel helpless to the woes of the world. There are so many needy people all around us. But the answer is not to live a life doing what I did in the car that day. We should not shut our eyes to the sorrows and the needs of those who are oppressed and in need. As Christians, we are called to reach out to those who have nothing and to serve others without expectation of repayment. The Bible tells us to defend the weak and maintain the rights of the poor.
Although it is not realistic for people to hand money to each person they pass, there are things we can do. First, open your eyes. Be ready when the Lord provides an opportunity to help someone. Second, do your part. Alone, none of us will solve the world's poverty. But together, each of us doing our part through volunteering or giving, we can help make a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with. Don't shut your eyes as I did in Lagos, because it feels overwhelming. Rather, open them to see that the Lord gave each of us the power to give back, no matter our circumstances.
1 Samuel 2:8; Proverbs 19:17; Luke 14:7-14