Reflection #21: What do you have to give? / A.J. Hendry

Reading: Luke 21

It’s easy to be paralysed by the overwhelming need in the world, to think the world’s to big, the injustices to great, that you’re to small.

But, we all have something to give.

When I’m faced with something that I believe needs changing, I look down and ask, what is in my hands? What I have to give, I give. That might be my time, my energy, my voice, my ears, or simply my prayers. I cannot give everything to everything, but I can give what I have to give. I can do what I can do.

I take courage from my whānau who have experienced homelessness, from young people, from tangata whenua, from those who have had so much taken from them, yet still give so much of themselves, fighting not just for their own Liberation, but for all of us.

I am reminded of the poor widow in this passage, she barely had a cent to her name, but what she had, she gave. That is generosity, that is courage, that is how the world is going to change. When those who have, give with the same reckless abandon as the poor widow, the world will change. When those with power, lay it down, when those with wealth, return it to the people, when those with land, give land back, when those with their hands full give it to the people, the world will change.

When celebrities or big corporates give to charities, or donate to this cause or that, I don’t celebrate them. Many are doing the bare minimum that they can do, while still propping up and benefiting from the systems and structures that are oppressing our whānau. They have so much to give, yet they give only “a tiny part of their surplus”, no the real hero’s are the ones who give all that is in their hands to give. Who don’t hold back, who give because it is right, because it is Just, because you and I, we share one humanity, and if you hunger, than I starve as well.

The man who has been homeless for years, who has nothing, yet gives his last bit of kai to a brother whose new to the street. The wahine toa, who has suffered from the racist and colonized systems we have created, yet still risks herself by using her voice in white spaces, speaking up in pursuit of our collective Liberation. The young person, who feels crushed by the system, who has nothing and no one, yet will be there for a friend who wasn’t there for her, because it’s right, and because that’s what we do for one another.

These are the hero’s. Look to them and take courage. You don’t have to be everything to everyone, you don’t have to do everything there is to do, but you can ask the question, what do I have to give in this situation, to these people, for this cause? And when you have done that, look down, take note of what is in your hands, and give it freely.

A.J. Hendry

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