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When I see someone being brave or read about their courage, I love it. When I face a situation where I have to be brave, I loath it. Why? Because to be truly brave, I must be truly afraid.

Fear and bravery are two sides to the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.

Fear feels terrible. A stomach that drops down the Grand Canyon. Hands that feel cold and clammy like a sponge that has been sitting in the sink for a few hours. Sweaty armpits that smell unnaturally pungent. Uncertainty that feels like a coffin I can’t get out of. The possibility of losing something we value looms like a skyscraper casting its massive shadow over us.

But, it seems as though it pleases God to put us in situations where we are afraid. How do I know? Because “do not be afraid”, “be brave”, or something like it, is said around 365 times in the Bible - once for every day of the year. I also know because it seems that God has put me there many times recently and I don’t get the sense that He is disappointed in what I am experiencing.

Maybe He wants us to grow, wants us to know what bravery is, maybe He wants us to know what trusting completely feels like. I don’t know what His specific reason is, but it does seem to be important to Him even if I don’t like it.

It’s okay to be afraid. It’s good to be brave. It’s okay to feel sad when you face something requiring bravery. It’s okay to wish that you didn’t have to be brave, to wish that things were easier. He won’t leave you to face it alone. He will walk with you each and every time you need to be brave.

“Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, I will also help you,

I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

- Isaiah 41:10

What if we could create a system where everyone was able to provide what they need for themselves and their families just by working hard? That's not the case right now because people all over the world need help meeting their basic needs even when they work hard, long hours.

This Is Our Current System

In our current system, wages are pushed down so far that they are at the poverty level. This makes it virtually impossible to provide for your family's basic needs like shelter, food, education for your children, and health services. This is where Charities step in. They see the need and step in to meet those needs in the best way they can. Because we see those people in need, we want to help and support the Charity's mission. The Charities are needed, there's no doubt about that.

To a certain extent, we as consumers get a double benefit. We get low prices and we feel good when we donate to Charities that are helping the poor.

How do we break this cycle? Is there a different system where the poor would be capable of providing for themselves?

The Improved System

In the improved system, living wages are paid to the hard workers. Instead of the Charities providing the education for their children, medical services, food, and shelter, the workers are able to provide all of it for themselves. The need for Charities will most likely never be completely eliminated because we will always have people who won't be able to work like you or I, but the need could be greatly reduced.

Not only do the workers have the ability to provide for themselves and their families, but the workers are able to use their wages to pay for teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers who are providing services for them. These providers then use their wages to pay for the things they need and so on and so on.

But for us consumers, it might not feel as good. We will have to pay higher prices. We also might not get the good feelings of donating to a charity because we have fewer resources from which to give. So, it could feel doubly negative in a way. The question we need to ask ourselves is what sort of system do we want to play in - what sort of system does Jesus want us to play in?

The System Plays In So Many Ways

Fashion is not the only way that this game gets played. When I think about how many items I purchase from different countries, it starts to fill up the map.

I've started redefining what I find desirable - something that is well made and made well. If we start to redefine it, maybe others would start to share our outlook. It only takes a few people to stare up in the sky to get an entire crowd to look in the same direction.

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness" - Mahatma Gandhi

"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord. -Jeremiah 22:16

If you are wondering where to begin your journey helping to shape the system into something better, our website is full of companies that are making the effort to ensure fair wages are paid. Don't forget: we don't get any financial support from any company referenced on this website, so there is no benefit to us.

Solomon, arguably the wisest person who ever lived, missed a big idea.

Solomon tried everything to find joy, to find meaning - or did he? Was there something he missed? Something he didn't try that could have changed his opinion that everything was meaningless?

Yes! He missed something BIG.

He tried building stuff.

He tried being rich.

He tried laughing.

He tried wine.

He tried sex.

He tried wisdom.

He tried everything under the sun.

Except, he missed something big. He didn't try loving his neighbor as himself.

What if Solomon thought about his neighbor while he built stuff? Could his wealth have meant more if he used it for the benefit of others or spent it so that others could have better lives? What if the wine he drank had some love for the workers in it as an ingredient? What if his laughter was full of the joy gained by the knowledge that his efforts resulted in others being better off? What if he took better care of the shepherds who took care of the flocks he owned?

It seems that Jesus found a lot of meaning and joy in His expression of love for us:

"looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

-Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Solomon's efforts resulted in what he found to be meaningless:

"I said in my heart, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.' But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, 'It is mad', and of pleasure, 'What use is it?'

I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine - my heart still guiding me with wisdom - and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem.

Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun."

-Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 ESV

Solomon couldn't find joy, couldn't find meaning perhaps because he acted with himself as the sole benefactor. Christ found joy, he knew that others were going to benefit by his actions.


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