What will you leave behind that is important? Why will it matter that you ever existed?

We all face death – that sad fact is inevitable, but while we are alive we can live in such a way that we leave behind many great accomplishments that will continue to produce positive results for humanity long after our passing. The decisions we make concerning how we use our time, talents and money can have an enormous impact on the world not only while we are present but also for generations to come after we’re gone. This is especially true when it comes to the ongoing crisis of extreme poverty.

Obviously, no one likes to dwell on their own mortality, but the realization that we only have a limited amount of time in this world, and that the end could come at any moment, should drive us to make the best use of each day. None of us knows with any certainty how long we’re going to live, therefore, we should feel a sense of urgency to do the most good with the time we have. Each day we are presented with the opportunity to save the lives of those in extreme poverty. How can we waste our time when they are running out of time?

When you die, what will be the results of your life? Most of us will have raised a family, had a variety of jobs or a career, owned a home and accumulated countless other material possessions, but what will you have specifically done to make the world a better place? How much did you think of others instead of yourself? Did you let the trivial, unimportant things in life distract you and eat up valuable time or did you spend it wisely making every moment count? When each of us dies judgments will be made regarding what type of life we led. Did we live selfishly or did we reach out and help children suffering from hunger and disease? Did we spend our time and money on more and more possessions or did we share our good fortune with those who had nothing?

Since we have a limited number of years available to us, we each have to decide for ourselves what is the most productive and important use for that time. Stop and ask yourself what could you possibly do today that is more important than saving the life of another human being? Do you have anything planned that is more urgent than saving an innocent child? What single event or activity do you have scheduled that is more critical than preserving life? All of our other pursuits pale in comparison. Too often we get so caught up in our own personal worlds that we forget about the life and death struggle that is continually being waged by 1 out of every 6 humans on earth.

Most of us are unaware of how we relentlessly waste time. You sit down to watch your favorite television show. An hour later you are thinking that it wasn’t a very good episode this week. During the 60 minutes that you were mindlessly staring at the TV 1,250 human beings died from extreme poverty.  1,040 of those were children many under the age of five. You could have possibly saved at least one of those lives and maybe many more but your show was more important to you.

You go to the stadium to watch your favorite team. You buy 4 tickets at $25.00 each. You spend another $25.00 on food. The game lasts about 3 hours. You have spent $125.00 while 3,750 people died from extreme poverty. Your team loses and you go home feeling lousy because the hotdog you ate at the game was undercooked. The $125.00 you blew could have bought enough meals to feed 500 children facing starvation. But 3 hours of fun was more important than 500 lives.

You go to the mall to look for a new pair of shoes. 4 hours later you leave with 3 new pair and 2 complete outfits and you are wondering if you have enough closet space to squeeze them into. This brings you up to two dozen pairs of shoes but you know you’re going to eventually need more. You spent right at $300.00. 5,000 people have died during your shopping spree and the money you spent could have been used to vaccinate children against a myriad of diseases. How do human lives compare to new clothes?            

Each day that you waste on the meaningless and the worthless is a day you will never get back. It is gone forever, and whatever opportunities you might have had to improve the world during those 24 hours will be gone as well. Time is the most valuable commodity there is. It is far more precious than money or possessions. At the end of our lives it is the one thing we will all wish we had more of. It is imperative to realize that time is the enemy for those trapped in extreme poverty. When we selfishly waste our lives we are denying them the chance to live.

However, when you decide to help those in extreme poverty there is a ripple effect, because saving one life means you are in effect saving future lives as well. The child who survives today because you fed them or vaccinated them or provided them with safe water can go on to lead a productive life helping others as well, thereby magnifying your original contribution many times over. But when you spend the money to go to a game or to the mall that time and money is gone forever.

When your life does come to an end, you don’t want to be filled with regrets about how you wasted all those years and achieved nothing of value. Don’t be one of those people who wandered through life without purpose and did nothing but consume and reproduce. Give your life meaning and value. Make your life count for something. Be a part of an effort that will enhance your life as well as the lives of countless others. Use your time and your abilities to help change the world. No matter what your age, race, gender, religious beliefs, political persuasion or economic status you can contribute in a meaningful way to ending extreme poverty. We can all be part of a worldwide effort to save the lives of millions of children each year.

You have one chance at this life and that is why it is so important to do the right thing. You can start today, right now, to live in a way that makes the world safer and healthier for everyone. You can immediately begin to save the lives of the innocent trapped in extreme poverty. You may own fewer clothes or miss a game once in a while but that is a small trade-off to allow others to live. When you come to the end of your life you will be able to look back with pride and humility realizing that you did all you could to improve the world and make life better for those in need. It won’t matter how many pairs of shoes are in your closet or whether your team won the championship that year. All that will matter is that you led a life filled with purpose and compassion. You led a life that enriched others. You led a life that helped change the world.




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