William Wilberforce is well-known for bringing an end to the British slave trade. In his tireless work to abolish this terrible practice, Wilberforce made it a priority to uncover and expose the atrocities of slavery, expecting that when people realized what was happening, they would not stand for it.
In a speech before Parliament on May 12, 1789, William Wilberforce laid out his argument against the trade, ending his plea with these words:
"Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know."
Knowledge changes the game.
We live in a time in history with unprecedented, instant access to real-time information from all over the globe. We also live in a country that is comfortable and peaceful enough that we can ignore, if we choose, the harsh realities of the world. We can decide what we see and don't see.
Yesterday my oldest son asked me, "Papa, are we rich?" I first explained to him the concept of relativity (which I'm sure was lost on his 6-yr-old mind) and then answered, "Yes son, we are. We have freedom, opportunity, a home to live in, and enough food to eat. We never wonder if we will get a meal on any given day. We are rich." He thought about this and responded, "We should do something to make sure that other people have enough food."
YES. Praise God. He is starting to get it. Oh that we would see things as a child does.
Today I want us to commit to two things: to know and to do. We can choose to know what is happening around the world, and once we know, we can choose to do something about it...or not.
Did you know, for example, that an official famine has been declared in South Sudan*, with 100,000 people at risk of dying of starvation, and at least 5 million in need of assistance? (and did you know that Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria are in about the same spot?)
Now you know. And while we cannot do something about everything, we can make a choice to know, and then ask God what He would have us to do.