Did you know we have a record number of people displaced? The world hasn’t had this many displaced people since World War II. According to the UN refugee agency, we have an unprecedented number of 65.3 million people around the world forced out fo their homes for various reasons. Among them are approximately 21.3 million refugees and half of them are children under the age of 18 years old.
10 million are stateless being denied a nationality and access to basic rights. Rights many of us are fortunate to have such as education, healthcare, jobs, and freedom to move and speak as we wish. Every day 34,000 people are forced from their land or homes often violently due to conflict and persecution.
Places like India are experiencing climate change to such a degree that they are facing a severe crisis. Rising temperatures and lower monsoon rainfalls have caused significant loss to their rice production and water supply. Last year, India experienced the hottest heat wave on record that killed over 1,500 people. Where cooler temperatures limited the spread of diseases such as diarrheal infections, Malaria, and vector-borne diseases which are one of the leading causes of child mortality. Sea levels are rising causing damage to coastal cities and people in many areas of the world are migrating for safer and more prosperous living.
National Children’s Alliance reported in 2014 that children in North America are victimized as well.
2014 Children’s Advocacy Center Statistics Highlights 2
Among the over 315,000 children served by Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country in 2014, some startling statistics include:
- 116,940 children were ages 0 to 6 years
- 115,959 children were ages 7 to 12 years
- 81,025 children were ages 13 to 18 years
- 205,438 children reported sexual abuse
- 60,897 children reported physical abuse
- 211,831 children participated in on-site forensic interviewing at a Children’s Advocacy Center
Among the over 244,000 alleged offenders investigated for instances of child abuse in 2014, some startling statistics include:
- 154,529 were 18+ years old
- 26,294 were ages 13 to 17 years
- 20,040 were under age 13 years
- 95,913 were a parent or step-parent of the victim
- 127,358 were related or known to the child victim in another way
- 23,696 were an unrelated person the victim knew
I can confidently tell you that these numbers are not 100% accurate. I believe the numbers are much higher because many children do not report their abuse and many who do are not believed, and these stats do not include verbal abuse. I could go on and on about the problems in our world today, but I won’t. I shared some of this information with you today because it relates to this Sunday’s Gospel message. In Luke 17:5-10 Jesus’ disciples ask him for an increase of faith, and He responded in three ways. First, he tells them how much power they possess with the tiniest of faith by comparing it to a mustard seed. Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It is very tiny and in Jesus day grew to be one of the largest trees in the garden.
If they/we, have the smallest amount of faith they/we have the ability to produce miracles. Don’t ask God for more faith and wait for Him to grant it, use what you have. There is danger in waiting to achieve things. I know if I waited until I was motivated to work out every morning, I would never work out. If I waited until I had just the right amount of money to have a child, I would be childless. Waiting can leave you actionless.
Secondly, Jesus talks to them about servants and what He is trying to convey is that we need to be serving others in humility. There is a price that comes with faith that price is being obedient to God’s commands. He commands us to love one another as He loves us. We shouldn’t expect more because we do what were supposed to. When we obediently do what we are supposed to increase will happen, naturally so we can do more. It’s being grateful for the blessings we have and blessing others. Not everyone has the gift of faith, faith is one of God’s mysteries.
Lastly, Jesus implies that faith isn’t something to just acquire it is something that if you possess no matter how small it is, requires a response by action. Our response through action can change the world for the better. Earlier, in this blog I listed only some of the world’s problems, there are obviously many more. Problems not just on the other side of the world, but in our very own communities, workplaces, schools, nursing homes, etc. and we need to ask ourselves some questions. Questions like, how are we taking action with our faith to serve those in need? How are we making a difference in the world in and outside of our communities? Are we doing enough or can we do more?