When Something Affects Us All
Our perspectives change when something affects us personally.
People in the Midwest don’t get too rattled by hurricanes. People on the coast do.
People in the south don’t worry much about snowstorms. People in the north do.
Children don’t worry about retirement. Retirees don’t worry about homework. Farmers rarely check the morning commute and city dwellers don’t pay much attention to grain prices.
However, this doesn’t mean none of these items are connected. Hurricanes on the coast can spawn tornadoes in the Midwest. Snowstorms can snarl air-traffic throughout the country. Children who don’t do their homework might not be able to provide the services retirees need. And city dwellers will be impacted by grain markets when the price of their morning bagel goes up.
Presently, our entire nation is learning a lesson in things that affect us all. We have had government shut-downs before, but this is the longest. And it is affecting us all. Perhaps you have seen pictures of trash littering the landscape of our national parks because the employees who normally pick it up aren’t working. In my part of the country, not only are government agencies sending their workers home, but the service industries that support them are suffering. Restaurants are adjusting orders from venders and venders are adjusting orders from suppliers.
People living from paycheck to paycheck are stressed and some of their creditors are short on compassion. It is beginning to affect us all.
As humans, we have an amazing ability to detach ourselves from things we don’t think will have an ultimate impact on our lives. Poverty and crime are problematic in society, but we don’t worry about either one until a robbery is reported in our neighborhood or we discover a friend is about to become homeless. We pay little attention to the specifics behind diseases until someone we love is struck down.
Detachment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We couldn’t survive if we had to think about all of the world’s problems all of the time. In a sense, detachment is a gift from God that helps us maintain our sanity.
But every now and then it is good to be reminded how many things that affect some of us really affect us all.
The Bible makes this truth crystal clear. In the Apostle Paul’s teaching on the church, which he refers to as the “Body”, he writes: “If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ Nor can the head say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we consider less honorable, we treat with greater honor. And our unpresentable parts are treated with special modesty, whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God has composed the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have mutual concern for one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-26)
We read it.
We hear it.
But until we experience it, we don’t completely understand it.
Very little happens that doesn’t affect us all.