Every now and then you hear a statistic that nearly knocks you off your feet. This week my pastor mentioned in his sermon that $450 billion dollars will be spent on Christmas shopping this year. That’s mind-numbing enough, but he had one more statistic to add. We could feed the entire world for $15 billion. Quick math shows we could feed everyone who is hungry 30 times over, just on what we will spend on Christmas this year alone. We’ve gotten things upside down in the Kingdom. We love to say, “Jesus first”, but our spending habits dictate otherwise.
I’m fairly certain that at least a portion of that $450 is being generated by those of us who profess to follow Jesus. I don’t think I’d be too far off base in assuming that at least 1/30th of the spending done this Christmas season will be done by Christians. If we can agree that 3% of the shopping dollars spent this year will come from the wallets and change purses of those in the church, we are left with the sobering fact that we could feed the world if not for our own selfishness. Think about it, if we in the church would simply refuse to participate in the social hype of Christmas for a single year, we could feed the world.
I understand that it wouldn’t be that simple, but the raw numbers do not lie. We are forced to admit that the reason hunger still exists in our world is because we are too greedy, too selfish, too self-centered, and too self-absorbed to care. I love buying gifts for my wife. Her smile makes my day. We no longer spend extravagantly, but we do still spend. As a result, another child will go to bed hungry tonight. We as the body of Christ could put an end to that reality tomorrow; but we won’t.
We won’t because we still don’t fully grasp the enormity of the sacrifice of our Savior. We refuse to come to terms with the mission required of those who would call Him, “Lord.” My pastor, Rick Grover, made a very poignant comment in the same sermon. He said “the magnitude of the gift defines the size of the response”. How big was the gift of God when He sent His only Son to die on our behalf? How small and shallow has been our response?
It’s not enough to be convicted by statistics. It’s not enough to think we should do something about the issue. Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:17), so is knowledge without action. Each of us have already had enough “should have’s” and “could have’s” to fill twenty lifetimes. Jesus said the world would know us by our fruit (Matthew 7:16). He also made it clear that those who love Him will put the needs of others before their own (Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 25:31-46). If all of us would take what we spend on Christmas and give it to support the hungry instead, we could feed the world. Now that would be a Christmas to remember. That would be a Christmas worthy of our Lord.