Imagine what it would be like if during the next 34 days the entire population of Detroit, Michigan lost their lives. It would be the most catastrophic event in America’s history. That is more than twice the amount of war deaths the United States suffered during the 44 months of World War II. It is difficult to comprehend what it would be like if one million Americans died in just 816 hours…but what if those deaths occurred needlessly? What if they occurred from neglect? What if all those men, women and children died simply because we refused to help them? It is impossible to believe that we would ever allow that to happen. We are convinced we would never just stand by and let a million people die…and yet we do exactly that everyday.

Every 34 days we have the opportunity to save the lives of one million people, many of them children under the age of five, but we don’t. Every 12 months there are 10,950,000 dead as a result of extreme poverty. That is more people than the entire population of the state of Michigan. But we do not seem the least bit concerned. Our priorities are focused elsewhere. How can a million people die in such a short span of time without the world even noticing?

34 days is approximately the length of time between Thanksgiving and New Years. While we enjoy family and friends, exchanging gifts and traditional holiday food a million human beings are fighting for their lives and losing that battle. It doesn’t make us bad people because we were born into prosperity. It doesn’t make us evil because we can afford to splurge on our families. It doesn’t make us selfish when we have more than enough food to eat…but it does mean that we have a responsibility to share our good fortune with others, especially when those efforts can save lives.

What if someone you knew personally was going to die in just over a month if you did not intercede on their behalf? What if you could save their life with ten minutes of your time and a ten-dollar bill – would you do it? Or would you turn away and let that person die a slow painful death while you used the ten minutes to watch an old re-run on TV as you gulped down $10.00 worth of greasy fast food? All of us would feel compelled to help if the victim was right in front of us. If we could hear their desperate cries none of us would be able to refuse them, but when we don’t have to actually face the person it seems much easier for us to let their life end.

Try this. Mark today’s date on the calendar and then mark the date 34 days from now. When the second date arrives reflect on how quickly the time passed. Stop and consider how you spent your time and money during those 34 days. What did you do to make the world a better place? What effort did you make to save another human being’s life? You had one million chances to prevent death; did you make any attempt at all to feed someone, or to provide life saving vaccines or to make clean water available to families?…Or did you spend your time in ways so empty and meaningless that you can’t even remember what you did only a few weeks before?

Life passes us by at an incredible rate. 34 days goes by so quickly we are barely aware of it. But for those suffering in extreme poverty and facing the last 34 days of their life time takes on a much deeper meaning. If you are desperately waiting for help to arrive, time becomes your greatest enemy. As you grow weaker and lose hope, time seems to speed up. Tragically, each day time runs out for 30,000 human beings. Meanwhile in our lives we have time to spare. In fact we’re often bored because we have so much time on our hands. We actually have to find things to do to keep us busy so the time will pass, and too often the things we choose to do are a total waste of time.

How would you feel if you were given a month to live unless someone stepped forward and provided you with food, water and medical care? How much would your frustration and panic increase as each day went by without help arriving? You would be bewildered that no one would come forward and offer you assistance. How could this be? In a world where so many have so much, how could they refuse to share even a tiny portion of their time and money in order to save your life?

In the next 5 weeks one million innocent people will die, through no fault of their own, and in the following 5 weeks it will happen again, and it will continue to happen until we demonstrate the courage and intelligence to make it stop. How many days, weeks, months and years will we wait? How many millions more will have to die waiting for the help that we never send?

Over the next 34 days think about the one million people who will needlessly die from extreme poverty. Please consider making a monthly donation to the relief organization of your choice to help lower this terrible death rate. Use a portion of your free time to help raise awareness about this ongoing slaughter. Over the next 34 days you can do something profoundly meaningful with your time and money that will have an enduring effect on the lives of others. What could you do during the next month that is more important than saving a human life?




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