A recent experience I had has prompted me to ponder about what is important in our lives.  My son and I were in Wal-Mart today and as I stood waiting to be checked out I noticed a couple of displays.  One was called “Save The Earth Gum” Plant Trees.  The other was called “Feed The Hungry”.  They were mints.

From the research I have done, these two products come from the same company.  By purchasing one product, the money goes toward planting trees, by purchasing the other product you would help provide meals for 7  American families.

This caught my attention.  What I noticed at first was that the entire box of “Save The Earth Gum” was gone.  Not one of the “Feed The Hungry” was gone.  This hit me hard.  This hit my 14-year-old son hard.  I usually have a hard time donating to things like this to begin with, because you are not entirely sure that the money goes where it is supposed to.  The charities that I donate to give 100% of my donation to where I want it to go.  That is why I contribute to them.  Although in this case, I did buy a “Feed The Hungry” mint.  They were actually cheaper than the gum.

I felt a prick at my heart as I sat there looking at the two displays.  I began to wonder what is important to people in America.  As my son and I left the store, we made an effort to look at every display of both products on every aisle.  Not one of the “Feed The Hungry” trays were empty.  In fact, it didn’t look like any of them had been bought at all.  The “Save The Earth Gum” however was gone out of most of the aisle except for one.  That aisle  had a few left in it. I have  never seen that aisle actually open so that could account for the tray being full.

I thought to myself, “How many of the people buying the “Save The Earth Gum” have ever had a starving child”.  How many of them have ever sent their kids to bed at night with tears streaming because they are hungry or they themselves were hungry?  How many of them even have children to understand the pains this causes a parent?

Have we become so “Save the Earth” friendly that we have forgotten about the very people who will be taking care of the earth in the future?  We are so bent on saving the earth that we forget who or what we are saving it for?  Are we not saving it for future generations to enjoy as we have?  What if future generations don’t live to see it?  Do we save the earth so that someday it can sit in orbit uninhabited just there with no one to enjoy the beauty in it?

We have become too callous in our lives.  How often do we look outside of our blessings and see that not everyone has what we have.  Not everyone in our nation of prosperity, freedom, and comfort has food to eat.  It is a sad fact people.  Far too many American’s are going to bed hungry.   I might be wrong, but don’t trees reproduce on their own?  I know I will have trees pop up all over the place.  Some in places that I don’t want them and some where I do.  Our starving children and  neighbors won’t appear again somewhere else in the neighborhood, or in a different spot in our yard.  When they die, they are gone. Life is so tangible.  No, we may not know these people but they are someone’s son, daughter, grandchild, mother, father, sister, brother or grandparent.  If we cannot feel for them then there is no hope for us.

The ugly pride and lack of compassion we have towards others in this country is growing and is quite truthfully sickening.  Too many people think that the way they are important or are influential in this country  is how much money they have or what brand of clothing they wear and how much they paid for it.  Clothing isn’t the only thing on the list of things we measure our worth against.  How about big homes, nice cars, the newest and best techno gadgets that come out etc. Yet, how many are truly grateful for what they have.  Does that $200 pair of shoes make you a better person because you are wearing them?  No, I think what makes a better person is our ability to see a need and do what we can to help no matter our station or financial ability in life is.

My daughter works for a company that is designed completely around charity.  It is a thrift store that people donate used items to that go back up for resale at lower prices for people who don’t have a lot of money to afford.  They also ship a lot of goods to other countries whose people are in need.  She related a story to me that gave me a whole different perspective on what I thought was important.  Sometimes when things are donated at this store, there will be a missing shoe to a pair.  When these items are taken to other countries, these people don’t care if the shoes don’t match.  They are so grateful to have shoes to wear that a matching pair is not important to them.  They don’t care if plaids should never be worn with stripes.  Or perhaps that a certain color should never be worn in a particular season.

We should all ask ourselves this question each day, “What have I done to make this world better today?”  “Have I helped someone who needed me today?”   I ask…how do you want to be measured in life?  I pray that I am measured by the good I do.  Even when I can’t help, but have that desire I hope that God will look on my heart and know that if I could I would.