You have probably seen the quote going around, "If you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table, not a taller fence". Not sure who quoted this originally or if I even quoted it the exact way it was originally said but you get the point. When we see this quote though, I think we often think of others being more fortunate than us. I have also seen this quote as, "If you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a taller fence". We often think of others having more than they need, rather than ourselves. Often times I think we take this quote and apply it to the rich, the wealthy, those who seem to have more than anyone else. But the truth is, every one of us has more than someone else out there in the world. So we are the rule, not the exception.
We all have something to give, something to offer, from even the smallest amount of money to our time, attention, to the encouragement we have to offer. Inviting others in, to "build a longer table" so to speak, we don't need some lavish meal and fancy home to welcome those in need. We simply need to have a heart open and ready to love, the willingness to sacrifice time and attention, and the desire to live as Jesus did.
There is something we can all do. And in order to be forgiven by God, we don't have to do these things-- He paid the price for our sins and we are saved by grace and grace alone... But from the overflow of our hearts, from a place of loving Jesus and being made more and more like Him, from that heart-stance we will feel the urge, the desire to help others. As we should-- not just feel it but do something with it. Love in action.
I find it to be no coincidence that God started to stir this message inside me for today with it being National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. God has blessed me with a few different opportunities in my life to work in this specific area with helping trafficking survivors and it has opened my eyes to the suffering of many. But it has also opened my eyes to the fact that we can ALL do SOMETHING. Awareness is key, yes, but so is action.
Human trafficking affects us all whether we realize it or not. It is happening all around us and if you are reading this you have most likely already heard many of the signs of trafficking but have you truly thought about how you can help stop it? How you can be a light in the darkest areas of our world? How you can open up your heart and home and life to those who have been abused, used, and have experienced such injustice?
All of our answers to these questions are going to look different but we can still answer all of them with a resounding, "YES, I CAN do something". Because you can. We can. Together, as the church, as the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ can all do something.
Consider becoming a foster parent, volunteer with a ministry or non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates survivors, give to a local homeless shelter, volunteer with after-school programs with "at-risk" teens, become a part of a trafficking rescue hotline, etc... There are endless ways we can help. As we recognize this day as Human Trafficking Awareness Day, let us recognize the issue, yes, but not look at the issue in such despair. Instead, let us look at this epidemic, recognize our God is forever bigger and stronger than any injustice in this world, pray for freedom for ALL, and let us look at where we are, what we have, what we can do and do something today. You don't have to be rich or even own a kitchen table in order to "build a longer table" and you most certainly don't need any sort of specific qualifications in order to be an abolitionist.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
"My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action." 1 John 3:18
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn..." Isaiah 61:1-2
Here are some local as well as national and international resources to find out more about what Human Trafficking is and how you can show love in action to survivors:
- International Justice Mission (ijm.org)
- Atlanta Dream Center-Out of Darkness (outofdarkness.org)
- Redeem (takethecity.com/redeem)
- Micah's Promise (micahspromise.org)
- Wellspring Living (wellspringliving.org)
- Polaris (pkolarisproject.org)
- A21 Campaign (A21.org)
- Project Rescue/Rescue Arts (projectrescue.com)
These are just a few of the many programs you can check out. Also, check out how you can help at your local homeless as well as women and children's shelters, Valley Rescue missions, and foster homes.