Did you ever get a Happy Fun Ball? It was a toy ball that swept the nation back in the 90’s. Everyone had one! It was produced by Wacky Products Incorporated (and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited) and sold for just $14.95. I bought one, before I knew that it could suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. I missed the commercial describing this possibility and wound up in the hospital with seven broken bones. If only I had known….
The (Saturday Night Live) commercial gave all these warnings about Happy Fun Ball, just like pharmaceutical companies do for the medications they advertise on TV. Have you ever listened to all of the possible side-effects these various drugs might produce? You’d be crazy to try any of those drugs when they cause even more health problems! If death is ever a side-effect, why does the FDA approve those drugs??!?!?
Speaking of drugs and diseases, there’s an ailment that is spreading all over our nation: Charity ADHD. Do you suffer from this? Does anyone you know suffer from this?
Charity ADHD* is a condition where you want to fix all of the world’s problems but you can’t focus long enough on one issue before the next shiny, trendy one pops into view. You pour all your energy into helping the poor, then move on to raising awareness about human trafficking, get sidetracked by the homeless problem in your city, find passion for providing clean water and sanitation to underdeveloped countries overtaking you, and then this…and then that…and then the next thing….
Here’s the condition that leads to Charity ADHD. We want to make a difference in the name of Jesus. We talk about building the Kingdom of God and bringing justice to the world. To act justly, love mercy, etc., etc. All very good, important things–things that God wants us to pursue!
But when we don’t stick around for the long haul…when we don’t find out what addressing any justice/charity issue really needs, we end up either doing more harm than good or we don’t even end up making much of a difference. So many of the world’s problems need a consistent presence from us and require systemic change. Individually, we must stick to what God puts on our heart and work with long range goals in mind.
So many times, we buy into the idea that our haphazard way of trying to help will truly help. We throw money at a situation, move on to the next charity of the moment, and completely forget about how we were trying to make a difference in the other situation. We think that giving someone who is “poor” something that they don’t have is what they really need. That’s not always the case, though we Americans fall for that trick all of the time.
I don’t have great answers for solving any of the problems I referred to earlier. I do know that God’s Church needs to figure out how to stop from having charity ADHD because
*By the way, I’m trademarking that phrase, so get ready to shell out some serious coin to me!