Choose Your Own Ending
Let's play choose your own ending. "To choose" implies options, so let's say there are two doors, and you have to pick one. The problem is you don't know what's behind the doors, only that the choice will affect your future, and that the identical doors hold the polar opposite of the other.
So you choose Door #1, and you go inside. The door is shut; walls are thick. It's dark. You feel around but there are no other doors or windows. You're stuck. In the dark. No way out unless someone opens the door for you on the other side.
But let's say you choose Door #2. It's pleasant, smells good, and there in the middle is a desk beneath an apple tree next to a stream. You're not scared when the door is closed because you've noticed two other doors to your left and right. You take your time, pick an apple, find a book, and begin to read.
After a time your look up. You can't go back, but you don't want to, anyway. Do you want to move on? It doesn't look like you have to. You could - stay here. Maybe you do, for a while, or for the rest of your life. But most people, most people will go through another door. This first experience was good so you have no reason to fear moving forward.
Back to the poor guy who chose Door #1. Life's hard in the dark. At first you pound on the door and yell for someone to help, but nobody can hear you. You feel your way through every inch of the room but find no resources to help you get out. You're cold, and tired, and there's nothing more to do. Defeated, you sit in the middle of the darkness, quiet, resigned. Maybe years go by. Or maybe generations.
Hey you (collective you, including me)! We are Door #2 guys. Most of us because our parents were Door #2s and so were their parents. If you have had opportunities to develop your education and your talents, feed your dreams, and choose your future, and it didn't start with you, then credit goes to someone older on the family tree who received a blessing of opportunity - a blessing of a multiplicative nature that you benefit from so fundamentally that it goes unrecognized too often.
But beyond discovering a new gratitude in that, it uncovers a simple truth that one person and one opportunity matters. It makes a difference on a planet full of impoverished people now AND in the future.
So what is my point (yadda yadda yadda)? Development drives deprivation to extinction. But deprivation (Door #1) is not the exception; it's the rule, and it's going to take a lot of innovative and varied development approaches to defeat it. So give what ya got - be it time, talent, or treasure.
Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8
Mission Lazarus dedicates itself to human, family, community, and economic development because it makes a difference in ALL the ways that matter, eternal and temporary. Life on earth may be over in a flash but to the guy in the dark, I have a feeling the suffering seems an eternity. The good news is, it doesn't have to. Just put your hand on the doorknob, and let a little light in; I guarantee, he'll find his way out.