I recently read a magazine article titled, “Drifting Toward Hope” by a man named Vinh Chung. As a small child, Chung was a refugee from Vietnam – who set out with his family on a small boat. Somehow, they were rescued at sea, and his family was taken in by a Lutheran church in Arkansas. Life was extremely hard growing up but he worked hard, went to Medical school and became a doctor.
In 2002, he returned to Vietnam, and was appalled at how his relatives lived in dire poverty. He wrote, “Visiting them was like walking into a parallel universe – the life that would have been mine – had the wind blown our boat in a different direction.”
Chung went on to write, “In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, ‘When someone has been given much, much will be required…’ I used to wonder who Jesus meant, because I sure didn’t think it was my family. The way I saw it, we had been given nothing; entrusted with nothing. I hoped that rich and powerful people would read Jesus’s words and take them to heart.”
“But when I went to Vietnam, I finally understood: He meant me. I was the one plucked from the South China Sea. I was the one granted asylum in a nation where education is available to everyone, and prosperity is attainable for anyone. I worked hard to get where I am today, but the humbling truth is that my hard work was possible because of a blessing I did nothing to deserve. And that blessing is something I must pass on, in any way I can.”
When I read this article, I found Chung’s story compelling. Indeed, in the words of Genesis, we have been blessed in order to be a blessing to others. And it has been the witness of countless generations that our lives take on great meaning and hope when we find ways to give back.
Let us pray: Generous God, you have blessed us in ways great and small. Open our eyes to see the many ways in which we might share from our abundance; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
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