By Kay Moll
God accused Israel of lying on beds adorned with ivory and of lounging on their couches. They dined on expensive food and wine and amused themselves by listening to music. They pampered themselves with expensive lotions. The condition of the poor was deplorable, and the rich did not even notice.
A Desperate Situation
What an indictment for today’s world! In Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, author Ronald J. Sider reports that 1.2 billion people live in abject poverty, trying to live on one dollar a day or less. In addition, another 1.6 billion are seeking to live on two dollars a day. He states that 30,000 children die every day of hunger and preventable diseases.
Sider tells of a young girl in Brazil whose family had almost nothing to eat. The little girl was so hungry that she begged her mother to sell her to a neighbor because she had food. The poverty of one couple, Sebastian and Maria, was so extreme that they were forced to watch their three children agonizingly die of malnutrition. A former president of World Vision visited the family and wrote, “Maria cannot talk about their condition. She tries, but the words just will not come. . . . Tears must be the vocabulary of the anguished soul.”
A Sacrificial Example
The tragedy, according to Sider, is that there are plenty of resources in the world, but they need to be shared. No wonder Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15).
While Jesus’ words seem to have had little impact on the lifestyle of the majority of believers, Ruth and Gladys Dudley took them to heart. For eight decades the two sisters embraced a simple lifestyle. They lived in a modest home. They made their own clothing. They rarely ate out or even purchased something as relatively inexpensive as a candy bar. They did it to make a difference in the lives of others. Between them, the sisters left more than $300,000 to the Lord’s work.
If two women, who determined to live simply in order to help others find Christ, had that kind of impact, what would happen if millions of Christians made a similar commitment?
Kay Moll is a writer and speaker living in Mason, Ohio.