"Hey Dad," said Bob as he bounded into the den, "I need to gather some information for school on the cost of the election. May I use your computer?"
"Sure," said Dad looking up from his book smiling. "I'm always ready to help my kids with their schoolwork."
"Mom," called Sue as she came to the kitchen, "our class is doing research on the importance of clean water. May I use your computer?"
"I just finished typing my minutes from today's meeting so go ahead," said Mom, rising from her desk.
The next morning during breakfast Bob said, "Did you know that during the campaign, our presidential candidates spent over one and one-half billion dollars?"
"Do you know," interrupted Sue, "that when people don't have clean drinking water they get really sick." Then looking at Bob for emphasis she added, "With diarrhea!"
Bob, trying to ignore her, went on, "And in North Dakota the two leading candidates spent nearly $8 million in their bids for the Senate."
"I found out," persisted Sue, "that over 2,000 children die every day from the diseases they get from that dirty water!"
"That many every day?," asked Mom.
"Yes, every day!" said Sue. "Over 800 million people can't find clean water and another two and a half million don't have a separate place to go to the bathroom. That's what causes all the disease."
"That is so sad," said Mom.
"Since we're throwing facts around at the breakfast table this morning," said Dad, "I just read an article that said that on Black Friday people spend over 11 million dollars."
Chuckling, Bob added, "I heard that one year on Black Friday some lady used pepper spray to clear the aisle so she could get what she wanted."
"That's not funny," interrupted Mom. "That's terrible!"
"I know it's terrible," said Bob, "But I still think it's kinda funny."
"I heard that sometimes people get hurt on Black Friday," said Sue.
"I hate to break up this cheerful conversation," quipped Dad, "but it is time for devotions before you head off to school. Rather than reading what I'd planned though, I'll just ask what we can learn from all this information," finished Dad.
After a little thought, Bob said, "If some of the money spent on campaigns was spent on getting clean water, less children would die."
Bob turned to Sue and asked, "What does it cost to dig a well?"
"Let's see," said Sue, digging through her notes. "Here it is; depending on the country, land and conditions it can cost between $5,000 and $15,000 to dig a well that provides clean water to hundreds of people."
"Why don't people just dig wells themselves?" asked Mom.
"What I read," said Sue, "was that people in these areas are so poor that they hardly have enough to eat to stay alive so they can't afford to dig wells."
"That makes sense," said Mom.
"If the candidates spent even half of that campaign money on digging wells, thousands of people would have clean water," said Bob.
"That would certainly be true," said Dad. "But let's ask another question: Are there ways, other than limiting campaign spending, to come up with money to help dig wells?"
After a few seconds of silence, Bob said, "But there's nothing wrong with wanting that new game system at a great price, is there?"
"Or those totally awesome boots?" asked Sue.
"Not directly," said Dad, "but we must guard against greed. Your assignment for the weekend is to find Bible verses that talk about greed."
"This is something we should all think about," said Mom, glancing at the clock. "Right now, you need to get off to school and we need to get to work."
Jesus said in Luke 12:15, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." As we approach Christmas, these words should challenge our decisions.
Helen McCormack writes the Reflections column every six weeks. Se and her husband, David, serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators.