In the 1990s, I was involved in relief efforts in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras in Central America. Hurricane Mitch had devastated that city, like many others. So many lives were lost and so many human beings suffered the trauma of seeing neighbours being swept away by the floods. It was a distressing time for everyone – the eyes of the world were temporarily focused on their city – the key word being 'temporarily!'
Already, today’s floods have affected central and northern Queensland before hitting the south east corner where Brisbane is located – and now other Australian states such as Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania have been hit. At the same time, the peoples of Brazil and Sri Lanka are suffering on a massive scale – the eyes of the world are looking this way and that, seeing need at every turn.
The real possibility is that in a short period of time, the eyes of the world will shift to another newsworthy tragedy somewhere in the world, leaving people to rebuild their homes and lives with less and less support from the outside world.
The Bible declares that: ‘He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor’ (Proverbs 22:9 NKJV). It is right that we ‘see’ the plight of the needy, but that we see with an eye of generosity, seizing opportunities to help the poor, the needy, the flooded and the homeless.
Our physical eyes have seen brown, contaminated water rushing through lounge rooms, bedrooms, and school classrooms; we have witnessed people’s lifelong possessions become heaps of rubble on our streets. But with a generous eye, we can see an opportunity to roll up our sleeves, crank up a gurney, pick up a shovel, wash clothes, bake cakes or buy school uniforms and books for a displaced family.
My humble request today is that you focus your gaze on a community of people; whether here in Brisbane or somewhere across our devastated State of Queensland; whether through the endangered parts of Australia or across the globe in Brazil, Africa, or Asia – fix your eye where you can make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t allow your gaze to be limited to the stare of a spectator, but be inspired by a gaze of generosity.
For more information on how you can help please visit myhillsong.com/ausfloods
For more information on Hillsong CityCare and how you can get involved please visit citycare.hillsong.com