03 February 2010

“We are the world…”

A girlfriend of mine told me last night that musical artists have come together to make a remake of the 1985 charity phenomenon WE ARE THE WORLD in order to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. I had a couple of reactions to the news: the first, “Man, I’m getting old! Was that song really released 25 years ago?”; the second, “are they bringing back all the ‘old’ musicians who sang in the original song or using the talents of the newer musicians of today?” and lastly, “Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J - a rap section? Really?” Hmm. The list of artists to participate in this project is … amazing and I look forward to the premiere of the song and video during the Winter Olympics.

I remember 25 years ago watching the video of this song play – and tearing up at the lyrics – looking at all the musicians who took the time out to record what became a historical, musical, phenomenon that raised money for hunger relief in Africa. The simple words “We Are the World” reminded everyone that we are all in this together. If we have been blessed with abundance, we have a duty to help our brothers and sisters who have less. And people stepped up to the plate. In 1985, the song was played constantly on the radio and made it to #1 on the charts – but the charity founded in support of the song raised over $30 million for the hunger relief effort. $30 million is a lot of money today – but it was a LOT of money a quarter of a decade ago.

But the lesson inherent in this type of “coming together for the common good of all people” is not a new thing. We should be doing it in our every day lives. Especially now when our neighbors and friends (and even some of us) are going through tough economic times and trials. Those of us blessed with jobs and/or financial security have a responsibility to those who may not be in the same position. I am not saying you have to give a handout to EVERYONE who asks, but we have to show compassion in all of our dealings with people. I recently received an email from a dear friend and his family where they just laid it on the line about their financial struggles and where their family is right now. And while they asked for prayers, they were also asking for tangible assistance. My heart was immediately moved to respond and after a telephone conversation with the wife, a plan was put in place to assist them.

There are simple things you can do to assist your friends who may be struggling right now. Things that can be done anonymously and/or without stepping on prideful toes (‘cause yes, it is hard to admit that you are in a position of need – been there, done that). Here are some simple suggestions: cook a meal and invite them over to eat. Once they come over, open up your pantry and refrigerator and invite them to “go shopping” in your house. When you are shopping, if something is on sale, pick up extra and then give the extras to the one in need. Send coupons in the mail of things you know they enjoy. Gift cards (gas, prepaid, grocery) make excellent gifts that can be slipped into a “thinking of you” card – or can be sent anonymously. And include fun stuff too: just because you are going through a rough time doesn’t mean you don’t like to still do fun stuff: send movie ticket passes or information about free events going on around the city or host a game night at your house.

Most importantly, once you do these things: keep it to yourself. You don’t have to go around bragging about what you did and how you helped out and how so-and-so would have surely perished without your assistance and contribution to their life. The Bible admonishes us that we shouldn’t always let our right hand know what our left is doing. And encourages us that what we do in private, God sees and honors. When … if He feels you need public recognition for your actions, He will make that come to pass. Until then, do it from your heart and believe me, as you bless others, you will be blessed. I’m a witness to that.

We are the world. It starts with you. It starts with me. I encourage you to be blessed…and then, be a blessing.

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