I just went to a 3-day concert series. It was a Christian music festival and hubby and I got dragged along with family. The festival was sponsored by what I guess is a major Christian radio station in Phoenix. They did giveaways the whole time…including tablets and 100 cruise tickets (with Michael W Smith…ooooohhhh).
The festival was also sponsored by Compassion International, an organization that connects churches with children in need in impoverished countries. Not only does it connect kids with the local church, it also provides them food, medical care, clean water, clothes, and an education. You directly sponsor a child for $38 a month.
I’ve sponsored Maria in Honduras for 12 years through this organization. The festival introduced guests who were alumni of Compassion Intl and showed videos of sponsors getting to visit their kids in their countries. They also pled with concert-goers to sponsor a child there and then. Which was awesome, and I know a bunch of kids got sponsors this weekend (not enough, but each one counts).
The stories were incredible and inspiring and made me very proud to be helping Maria. I could have gone to the music festival for those stories alone. Honestly, it was my favorite part of the whole concert. The rest kind of made me sick.
How many kids could that radio station help with what they paid to send 100 concert-goers on a cruise? How much money did people pay to sit on the floor next to the stage just so they could maybe give a high five to Colton Dixon or get a signature from Matthew West?
In high school, when I started sponsoring Maria, I worked part time at a bookstore and I paid all my bills (insurance, gas, cell phone), including my sponsorship, out of my own earnings. I’m glad I was forced to do that because it taught me to be independent and the value of a strong work ethic and taking good care of my things.
But I dated a boy all throughout high school who was an only child. His parents hailed him as a miracle child–he was their one shot and survived heart complications as a baby. Let me make it real simple for you guys…he was spoiled. 🙂 And when he went to college (one year ahead of me), I watched him change a little bit.
In high school he was the class clown who had been at that school since kindergarden and he was loved by all. But now that he was in college, he wanted to be cool. One weekend he came home to visit and showed off his new $190 pair of Diesel jeans. We had a huge fight about it. I couldn’t stand to think that this guy was spending so much money on an article of clothing just to fit in, while I was barely scrounging up enough to make sure my sponsored girl in Honduras could eat.
I fear I’m coming off a little self righteous in this post. I don’t mean it to be that way. Could I do without my bi-weekly Starbucks and sponsor a second kid? Yes. Could I drive a shittier car and give a contribution to another charity I care about? Yes. I’m at fault here too. I’m also acutely aware and guilty about that every step of the way. Part of what I look forward to about achieving financial freedom is being able to help others more.
I have a heart that breaks for those in need and wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately that means sometimes I can’t enjoy things, like that concert, because I have a stinky attitude that stems from despising the excess we have while others suffer. (This is a little embarrassing because our family bought our tickets and I think they could tell our smiles were forced…and I wanted so badly to be more appreciative of their generosity.)
I just am frustrated that we’re in this rat race to have so much when others have so little.