You don’t have to be a Daily Mail reader to feel gloomy about the New Year!
Everywhere you go there is talk of tightening belts and accepting pain. I can’t remember a year when people were more pessimistic about the future. It seems that the material prosperity many of us in the UK have come to regard as normal is under serious threat.
I don’t intend to minimise the real pain that many people will experience in 2012. There will be some who will lose jobs and homes. Others will struggle with declining savings, rising prices or lower benefits.
Christians have always campaigned for fairness and equality and tried to relieve the hardships of the poor – and I pray they will continue to do so.
But here are some facts that may help us to get a truer perspective on life here in 2012:
“If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have food in refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 per cent of this world.
If you have money in the bank or in your wallet and some spare change in a dish somewhere you are among the top eight per cent of the world’s wealthy.
I spent some time in the slums of Nairobi earlier this year where the brother of a pastor I met was murdered for the equivalent of a £1 and the average family lives on a dollar a day. By their standards even the poorest of us in the UK have so much. It makes you think, doesn’t it?
And here’s something else. No one could accuse Jesus of being indifferent to the plight of the poor or the oppressed when he was on this earth. But he refused to a political Messiah. He could have been but he wouldn’t. The world he faced was in its way just as militarily insecure, just as socially divided, just as economically deprived but Jesus faced it with a message that was unashamedly spiritual in its emphasis.
The reason was because although he knew food, clothing and shelter were vital for life they do not meet our deepest needs. If we don’t have them at all we suffer. But if we have them in plenty we’ll still be dissatisfied because we are made for something more.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty”
If any of us discover this truth for ourselves in 2012, then this year will be a good one for us after all!
By Colin Frampton
Minister, Sompting Community Church