Business Class, Hunger, & Me


Larry Downs-Day in the LifeBY:
  Larry A. Downs

E-MAIL ADDRESS:  ldowns@thomasnelson.com

BIBLE TEXT:  Matthew 25:34-45

PERSONAL REFLECTION:  The other month I was sitting in Business Class, some 35,000 feet in the air, headed for yet another meeting in a foreign city. At my fingertips, my choice of more than twenty movies with a Bose head set to capture every little detail. Full size pillows, blankets, and a 90% recline sleeper bed seat. The little care bag I received included little details everyone needs: Flight socks, sleep mask, lip balm, dental pack, pen, and sundry other little goodies that I would never use.

“Mr. Downs, for your main course tonight, would you like the fillet, the shrimp, or would you prefer the…”

I heard her, but I just didn’t want to look up, not yet.

“Mr. Downs.” She touched my shoulder. “Mr. Downs?”

I quickly blotted my eyes and looked up from the book I was reading. “I’ll have the fillet, please.” My look begged her not to ask me any more questions, just not now, and she obliged.

I quickly returned to my book…and read the pages again.

  • Today, more than 26,500 children will die of preventable causes related to their poverty. And this will repeat itself tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that as well.
  • Some 400 Million children will go to bed hungry tonight.
  • Some 850 Million do not have enough food to sustain them today.
  • 25,000 people will die today from hunger or hunger related diseases.
  • In Africa, 1 of every 6 children will die before they celebrate their 5th birthday.

These are thoughts and captions that are underlined in a book I had refused to publish. I had become calloused to the message. Those were other people’s problems, other people’s children.

It is also the only book where I recently asked the author to forgive me for my attitude toward his message and told him how pleased I am that we published it in Spanish. The Hole in Our Gospel by Dr. Richard Stearns, President of World Vision US, is by far the most powerful call to action book for social responsibility across the church I have ever read.

There I was sitting in Business Class, with all the quickly fading amenities of the privileged, while more than 10,000 children died during the course of my 10- hour flight.

The numbers are staggering – is there something we can do? Or have we become deaf to the cry of the hungry?

PRAYER: Lord, cut away the calloused sections of my heart, give me a heart that breaks for what breaks yours.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Larry is a father of 5, husband of 1, and loves making a difference in the world through what he does at Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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