A few years ago, a commercial asked, “What would you do?” for a certain ice-cream sandwich. There were people willing to ski the Alps, jump from planes, cross the desert, etc. All for an ice-cream sandwich.
Now, I’ve had that particular brand of ice-cream sandwich. And it’s good. But it’s not THAT good.
And obviously, it was a marketing campaign, not something to be taken literally. But I think it’s indicative of our culture, isn’t it? We are willing to do almost anything just to indulge ourselves for a few moments. We will jump through hoops (perhaps even from planes) for a few seconds of pleasure.
But I wonder what we’d be willing to do so that someone else — someone living in poverty — could have just a few moments of indulgence?
As I was in Guatemala last week, I couldn’t help but think about how overwhelming it must be for the families we visited. The obstacles of poverty never let up.
A child gets sick. A father loses his job. The roof falls apart. The rains flood your tiny home. The groceries run out. Like ocean waves that just keep coming … one after another … after another. There’s no break. There’s no calm. No peace.
“Wouldn’t it be nice,” I thought, “if they could just get a break… even for a few minutes. To not worry about how they’re going to feed the kids tonight. Or where they’re going to find enough money to fix the roof.
Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just breathe for a moment without another wave of poverty hitting them in the face?”
An ice-cream sandwich is gone in a matter of minutes. The pleasure fades. Not even the taste lingers on. But if we could give a break to someone drowning in poverty, I would bet that it would leave a lasting impression.
At the risk of this sounding like another Compassion commercial, I’m not asking you to sponsor a child  right now (though that would be wonderful if you did!). No, I’m simply asking, “What would you do … to give a few moments of pleasure to a person drowning in poverty?”
When posed with this question, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to answer.
Would I quit my job? Would I change the way I eat? Would I be willing to vote a certain way? It’s so much tougher to answer what I’m willing to do for someone else’s pleasure, as opposed to my own.
Now, if you threw in an ice-cream sandwich …