03 February 2009

my greatest fear: being the world’s most aware (abalone)

(This post also appears here...)

There is a woman who sits outside of the abortion clinic near my house. She has a sign that says “Abortion Kills Children”. And she sits there all day and shames the people going in and out. She is, in a sense, raising awareness. And her sign is correct. But would her life be better used in taking the awareness she has and applying it by volunteering at a crisis center or adoption/counseling hotline? Eight hours a day on the sidewalk and four more hours a day on her knees, fervently pleading for God to move…when all she has to do is put her sign down and move herself.

Her motives are good – she just got stuck on awareness.

When I moved to South Africa in 2004, I had no idea how severe the AIDS crisis was, not to mention the malaria problem and the starvation issue…and over the next few years the world was educated along with me as we learned about the incredible scope of the problem together. Artists and celebrities began to champion the cause of Africa, we bought shirts that donated the profits to Africa, we signed petitions, we even donated money when American Idol took up the cause…we were aware!

Then, a new movement started to rise up. Ever heard of “going green”? All of the sudden, everything was about being green, going green, and doing green (which may or may not be a drug). Africa resumed its position as the world’s alm-seeker and we moved on, figuring that all of our recently-acquired awareness surely helped make the world a better place for Africans.

Did it? Nope.

Tens of thousands of African children will die today, simply because they are hungry and there is no food. 6000 will die from a preventable, treatable disease caused by a little virus known as HIV. 3000 will die because a mosquito carrying malaria bit them.

This is not about activism. It is merely a plea for activity. We spend 90% of our lives becoming more aware and only 10% in any form of activity. Think about. Crunch the numbers. We are a 90/10 people. We ingest unbelievable amounts of information from books, television, radio, and the internet. We get more and more education every year, the baseline standard ever rising. We join causes on Facebook and wear t-shirts proclaiming that some form of awareness will topple the world's injustices. And we never really lift a finger to change anything.

So where do we go? Maybe, we start by praying differently. What if, instead of saying, “God please meet the needs of world’s broken and dying” we prayed, “God use me to meet the needs of the world’s broken and dying.”

We have all of the awareness we need. We now need to be a people that acts upon it.

On earth as it is in heaven...


  1. Great Blog, Kyle! I needed it.

  2. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:36-38

    As you say, we must pray for God to send people to help. I think you'd have to be pretty callous to pray this for long before you also start asking if you're one who should be sent.