When I first started learning about the love-your-neighbor-as-yourself mentality, my spirit grabbed it. I mean, I was really excited. I said, “This is it!”
But then when God started teaching me about poverty, I really started digging. I’ve been researching poverty ever since. Poverty is a whole world of interconnected causes and consequences. The more I learned, the more I understood poverty’s complications, and the more I understood how people get trapped in it. And I could feel myself shifting.
I used to look at a homeless guy and say, “Man, you know what, how about you just go get a job. Shave, and go get a job at McDonald’s. It’s not that hard.” That’s how I used to look at it. I had no compassion.
Then my buddy called me and said, “Hey, I want to try this ‘Something to Eat’ program. It’s a food packaging program that brings kids together. We can package meals and send them all over the world. I need your help getting it going.” I said, “Let’s go, man.” Right away, it connected with my spirit, and I said, “That’s part of loving your neighbor as yourself. I’m going to take that route.” So I funded it. And it seemed good to me. When I prayed about it, I felt really good about it. I understood perfectly. Hunger initiatives were my next step.
And man, I started to get excited. These Something to Eat events were awesome. Now I understood why I was playing the game. Because I am a baseball player, I get to help fund these events. And not only do I assist with the funding, but I get to help package meals. I get to help groups of kids come together and help people who are in need. I get to join with these amazing kids in order to serve people. We work all day to package food and send it to people who are hungry, and we don’t even know any of the people we send it to. We’ve sent food to Uganda. We’ve sent food to Guatemala. We’ve sent it to the Dominican Republic and Kenya. I mean, we’re just sending food. I don’t care where we send it! I just want to help. This is part of it. I get to be a baseball player who helps doing food initiatives.
The Something to Eat events were so fulfilling that I started looking more into it, trying to learn more about the needs of the people who receive the food we send. And then everywhere I looked, everything I read, I learned something that shocked me. Wherever there is an issue, wherever there is poverty and people cannot feed themselves, there you will find trafficking. Human trafficking.
And I said, “Trafficking? As in slavery?” Didn’t that end with Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation? I realized I still had even more to learn!
More on this next time. See you Wednesday.