"The great exchange"

Haiti is an impoverished nation where 80 percent of its people live in great need. One child in 14 never reaches his or her first birthday; another one in five never lives to the age of 4; and voodoo is practiced across the land. Yet, in the middle of the despair, Haiti is experiencing a revival. Ramshackle churches are being filled as many are receiving Christ and being released from demonic oppression.

On a flight home from Haiti, I flipped through the catalog that I found in the seat pocket in front of me. I had just left a country where people were desperate for food, and now I was viewing pages of useless gadgets for sale: spring-loaded "gravity-defying" shoes, a luxury mattress for my dog, even a full-size 80s-style arcade game for the kids. I winced over the stark contrast. People in the developed world are buying luxury beds for their pooches while Haitian children sleep on cold cement floors, I mused. But even as church membership thins in some nations, more and more Haitian Christians are meeting God in profound ways.

On the eve of entering the Promised Land, Moses warned the Israelites that a land of abundance could be a spiritual snare. He urged them to put God first. Otherwise, as they ate well, built homes, and saw their flocks and riches multiply, they would forget Him (Deuteronomy 8:12-14). Moses' urgings remain ever relevant to those of us living in countries where personal affluence is high. Riches and pleasures can choke our faith (Luke 8:14). The antidote? Thanking God for every blessing we receive (Deuteronomy 8:10) and developing a heart of generosity for the poor (15:7-11).

Let's exchange consumerism for compassion, extending God's grace with grateful hearts to those in need. , Sheridan Voysey, Our Daily Journey

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