How to save the world!!

I just finished reading an interesting article that was in last months Wired magazine. It basically went into the idea that most people would be willing to give larger amounts to assist one person over larger groups of people.  According to psychologists they believe this is hard wired into most of our brains.  For example you land on two separate sites asking for your help.  One site allows you to assist one person, the donation you send specifically goes to assist that one person with food, education, clothing, transportation, etc.  The second site allows you to make a donation to assist a campaign to provide build a school, feed thousands, etc.  While it would be great to think that we could help all these people, deep inside we know that we can not help all those people, and so we give a little less.  In the first example we see that we can directly affect one person, it becomes personal.  We know there is one life that can be save.  One life we can make a difference in, who hopefully can make a difference in other peoples lives.  Let me use a story to explain the point.

A man was walking along a beach one day, and sees a woman tossing starfish back into the ocean.  He notices that the tide has brought thousands upon thousands of starfish up onto the shore.  He knows that for as long as they sit there they will probably die due to sun.  So he asks the woman, “what is it your doing”.  She replies, “tossing starfish back into the ocean so they can live.”  “But there are so many of them, how can you possibly save them all?”.  She smiles and replies, “I can’t, but I can save this one”,  as she proceeds to toss another one in.

This also reminds me of when I took a trip to Honduras to help do some work for a small impoverished  village located in the mountains.  I remember getting there and seeing how many broken down homes there were. Everyone using what they could find in order to keep their homes in repair, and keep their families safe.  I looked at it all, and thought to myself.  There is so much work to be done here.  If I maintained that outlook I would have been overwhelmed by the shear numbers of people who needed help.  But each day we picked 1 home to work on.  One house we placed a cement floor so they would no longer have to live in the mud. 2 other homes we built or rebuilt the roof.  With each project we increased the quality of living for that person or family.  They no longer needed to worry about keeping dry, or sleeping in the mud, and could now focus on other things, including that of helping others in the village.

So when we look at the world, and think to ourselves how could I possibly help any of these people.  You can’t as long as you focus on the large numbers of people that need help.  But you can make a huge impact in one persons life.  And when you think of the amount of people just here in the US, think about how many people that can affect.

At the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their worth to help the needy.  Thats 2.5%, think about how much you give the government in taxes, or to purchase CD’s, movies, another widescreen TV, or 500 channels of cable TV/internet and phone service.  How much of that do you really use, or need?  Do you really need it.  And if you don’t have money, how about your time.  How much of you time is spent in front of the computer, TV, on the phone, playing games, working, or just doing nothing.  2.5% is about 4 hours of your time.  Think of the impact you could make by just donating a little bit of that time to helping someone else.

The first week of Ramadan focuses on the Mercy of God.  It is a time of reflection, where we examine our lives and focus on the great mercy that God bestows upon us.  Let us all give a little bit of ourselves and be a mercy to one person.



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