There are an estimated 30 Million slaves throughout the world. But we, in Britain, cannot point the finger. We must ask why we tolerate 10,000 or more slaves in the United Kingdom today. We need a stronger law which will rank human trafficking alongside kidnapping and murder. We also need more vigilance on the part of the police, officials, social workers and the public as a whole to spot the signs of workers in conditions with restricted liberty.
Yesterday we sang a song, and 4 words seemed to stand out from the rest. “Dream again, Believe again”. Ten years ago, I wrote about “My Dream” and recently included it in my blog. But I am aware that I need to keep dreaming. Yesterdays’s dream is not adequate for today. As we sang that song, I felt that God was saying to me that it was time to dream again.
Imagine fields of roses and a farm dedicated to the supply of these beautiful flowers to wealthy people in Bangalore, India. Roses represent romance and beauty.
But there is a darker side to this idyllic picture. The farm relied on 4 young boys, held as slaves to supply the labour. Two brothers had been trapped there for 5 years. One boy was just 9 years old.
They had been working on the farm to pay back a loan their parents had taken from the owner. But it was obvious that the loan would never be repaid and the children were effectively slaves. [Read more...]
In a world full of so much suffering, it is easy to lose sight of the beauty all around us in this world we live in. Yes, there is the ugliness of poverty and injustice, but there is so much beauty to be thankful for as well.
Last week, Christine and I went to Yorkshire and visited the beautiful village of West Burton where I had lived, but only as a baby. My parents had moved north to a safe place, far away from the bombs and noise of the second world war, and I had been born there. Travelling in the Yorkshire Dales, the beauty of the hills and the valleys in between took our breath away.
As we look around us at the world, we see so much suffering, poverty, disease and violence. Our leaders, politicians and governments have made such a mess of things. Selfishness, greed and corruption seem to rule everything. We threaten our very existence with nuclear weapons and contempt for our environment. Billions live in poverty and millions of children die every day of preventable diseases.
And yet we see so much beauty all around us. Our natural world is full of beauty and wonders. People have created fantastic music, art and literature. Our scientists are eliminating some diseases such as leprosy, polio and smallpox and there is hope for cures from the killer diseases: malaria, aids and cancer.
When God created us, in his image, he also gave us free wills. But mankind has gone its own way and refused to acknowledge the plan God had for us. But God’s plan has always been one of restoration and reconciliation. Jesus came to institute a new kingdom which would radically change the world we live in. In the Gospels, this is known as the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven.
There are no rules to generosity. We can express financial giving by a value in pounds or dollars. We can define giving as a percentage of income. But we cannot measure a generous heart.
Eugene Cho wrote a book ‘Overrated, Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing to world‘. He makes this amazing statement:
“Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me. In other words, the point of my generosity isn’t just to bless others; it’s also to liberate me.”
We cannot read the words of Jesus without seeing the importance he gives to giving to the poor or to those in need. It is God’s nature to give to all men unconditionally. So, we are encouraged to be givers to those in need. We are not to parade our giving but to give in secret. The true value of our gift is not measured in pounds or dollars but according to what the gift cost us. But if we give joyfully and unreservedly then we cannot help benefitting ourselves by giving. It is a win-win situation!