Behold this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but they did not aid the poor and needy. Ezek. 16:49
Recently, I got into a discussion with someone about the generosity of Americans. This individual was disturbed at the suggestion that America was not the most generous nation on earth. He may be right; in fact he probably is. I don’t exactly know. Relative to other nations, America does give away billions of dollars more.
However, I offered a few statistics as food for thought. In 2008 Americans gave away over $300 billion to charities. That’s incredible! On the other hand, our economy is roughly $14 trillion, which means Americans gave away about 2% of our GDP. Seems a little low when you look at it that way.
When I think of the destruction of Sodom, I must admit their failure to support the poor and needy is not the first thing that comes to mind. The account in Genesis seems to focus more on the injustices and perversions than on the excesses of their lifestyles and disregard for the needy.
However, this passage does expose their guilt, and ours. As Americans, it strikes close to home, and begs the question: Living in America today, are we really much different from the people of Sodom who Ezekiel was writing about? Do we truly support the poor and the needy as God calls us to?
According to this verse, the people of Sodom had an abundance of food and stuff. They had “prosperous ease” and apparently were pretty proud of it too. And in the midst of all their abundance and prosperity they forgot one thing – the poor and the needy. Is this a picture of America today?
We certainly don’t want to use too broad a brush. There is unquestionable sacrifice by many Americans for the sake of the Gospel. If you are reading this you may be one of those already sacrificing. We are truly humbled to meet people who give up so much (at least according to this world) for Jesus, and we are thankful for their example and eternal perspective. But for the sake of argument, let’s at least admit that on some level (relative to most of the world) we have (1) excess food, (2) prosperous ease, (3) varying degrees of pride (worldly and spiritual), and (4) a general lack of concern for the needy.
So what’s the point? Jesus told us not to accumulate treasure here on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but rather to accumulate treasure in heaven. Matthew 6:19. The issue is where our treasure is. If we really take Jesus at His word and believe this to be true, then why in the world do Christians spend so much money on ridiculous junk? How dense can we be?
We spend absurd sums of money (I mean millions) on things that will utterly evaporate in an instant when Christ returns. Meanwhile, the poor suffer daily. Children are going to bed right now who haven’t eaten today; or the day before. Some of them have absolutely nothing to their name (including basic love and affection) and yet the money we Americans spend on a single meal would clothe and feed some of them for longer than we can imagine.
In a matter of a few short years (and it doesn’t matter how old you are – it’s still a few short years) we will meet the God of the universe. Imagine that. We will stand before His throne and witness first hand all the fullness and splendor and beauty of His glory. When we do, I can’t help but ask: will the sin of Sodom be our sin?