#9–Shower.

Tonight at work a woman came in with a Justin Bieber backpack, shorts, and some funky shoes and tangled hair. I guess she comes in a couple times a week, I’d never seen her before, or never noticed. She apparently comes in to use our sink in the bathroom to bathe. My heart goes out to her because if she’s bathing in the bathroom at a Starbucks she must be pretty dwindled on options. It appeared she had a friend with her tonight as well.

Now I don’t know her story or who she is. Obviously she didn’t order anything. She also didn’t make eye-contact. And that was it, she was in and out, she walked by us. It was simple as that.

I’ve just gotten home from work and cleaned off all the grit and grime from my day… I’m thankful for a shower. I’ve never been somewhere where I did not have a shower or did not have access to a shower. And I’ve been a lot of places where I’ve seen homes that did not… but I have never had to experience that… and I’m grateful.

I think just how new clothes can give you a self-esteem boost, the inability to be really clean would be disheartening, it would wear on you, it would be hard to have self-esteem. It would be hard to have self-respect.

Restoring self-respect to people in physical poverty is a goal of the Kingdom. And tonight I really want to dwell on that thought. I hope I see her again and can talk to her. I want to know who she is.

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2%

I read yesterday that 2% of the world’s population own 50% of the world’s wealth. If you own a computer, you’re in that top 2% of the world’s richest people. That’s a little bit humbling, considering, that regardless of your current financial situation with today’s economy, if you own a car, or have a place to live, if you ate today, you’re one of the world’s richest. And as I started to consider this… how humbling… I’ve been born in a place in which, not everything was handed to me, but everything was available, I can aspire to whatever I want, I can dream. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but a child in deep poverty can’t dream.

When I was in Bogota, Colombia, I met a young boy who came to me and a friend of mine, David, who was translating. The little boy asked to be saved, then David began talking to him in Spanish, and after a while they prayed, and David turned to me in tears, because the little boy, no more than 5, had said that he wanted to know Jesus, so that he could be a man of God, and that God would provide for his family. There was hope for this little boy, who was already becoming a man because of circumstance. We were travelling and preaching in a rural mountaineous area, and I had met other boys 10-12 who already were the man of the family, struggling to help their mothers pay for food, living in shacks made of metal, nestled in the hills.

A child who is bound by poverty has no room to dream, they live day to day with worry and hunger. But we ask children all the time “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I would say this is one of America’s greatest treasure. Teaching children to dream. I remember as a child saying that I wanted to be a ballerina who traveled all around the world to perform, and then when I was there, I would tell the people about Jesus (I also wanted to be a missionary), I wanted to be the first person to land on Jupiter, and the first woman to become president (but even at 5 I was under the impression Hilary Clinton would beat me, so I decided she could be president instead of me). And those dreams weren’t just things I thought about, but things I aspired to. I took ballet classes, I read books, I played games, I asked questions. No one told me I couldn’t… It took me until I was 7 or 8 to realize one couldn’t even land on jupiter as it is a gaseous planet. I was a dreamer and people let me dream.

Now it’s possible for me to pursue any of those dreams. I can begin a political career, I can train a little longer and start auditioning for ballet companies, I can go to school to become an astronaut. I can be almost anything I want to be. And as I began to realize my blessings, for in truth, we are extremely blessed in many ways, I began to question “why me?” Out of the billions of lives I could have been chosen to live, why did I get the circumstances that I’ve gotten. I’ve asked this on many occasions when my blessings have been taken from me. But today I wonder why I am the one who drives a car, and lives in a good home, goes to school, and has a job. I’m an educated dreamer.

I think the real question isn’t “why?” because I can’t answer that, but what? What will you do with your wealth? Your knowledge? Your opportunity? Your blessings?

I’m not sure I believe in accidents, or coincidence, I may come closer to believing in fate, or in destiny. I believe things happen for a reason, to be sure. But in the event that you don’t, you have to wonder, why someone else lives in such extreme poverty, and you are so blessed. Perhaps, that very thought doesn’t move you to action as it does for me. But wouldn’t it be nice to think that each person has been blessed for a purpose? And how is it purposeful to gain ridiculous amounts of money and never have love? Being in the 2% richest, also means we have a great amount of power. Here, it may seem like we are struggling. Let’s face it, gas prices go up, everytime we blink. But compared to so much of the world… we have so much. And even when we have nothing, our streets are basically clean, there’s running water, buildings are standing, this isn’t a war zone, there’s still opportunity.

So I ask again, what? What are you willing to do with your dreams?

You have the opportunity to bless the world.

Check out Compassion International to see how you can make a huge difference in the life of a child in poverty.