By Michael E. Brooks
“You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6 NKJV).
It is hard to describe lifestyle and cultural differences between the U.S. and Bangladesh. The people here have little or no comprehension of how people live in the U.S. We perhaps have even less idea of what it is like to be in a village of Bangladesh.
At least they see television shows and movies with the Hollywood image of our country. As inaccurate as that is, it is more than most of us have seen of Bangladesh.
An article in this morning’s Dhaka newspaper gave some interesting statistics. The article was about how to increase the production of rice, without doing environmental harm to the water table or other ecological elements.
The importance of the discussion was emphasized by pointing out that rice accounts for 93% of cereal (grain) consumption in Bangladesh. It provides 75% of the calorie intake. Fifty percent of household expenditures are used for the purchase of rice.
It is hard for the average American to comprehend how one food can be so totally necessary to an entire nation. When the price of rice goes up even a few cents (Taka) per kilogram it is devastating to most of the population. If there is a poor crop because of floods, or drought, or hail or insect depredation, all of which are common, it is a national disaster of immense magnitude.
Such crop loss does not affect only the poor, or the farmer; the entire population is dependent upon producing enough rice domestically to feed themselves. There is no money to import food. If the crop fails, people starve.
Most Americans do not recognize this degree of dependency. We live under the assumption that we will have enough of what we need, and if something happens to part of our food, or other necessities, we will adjust with something else. Much of the world does not have that capacity.
The fact is that we are all dependent — we just don’t always know it. No human is self-sufficient. We need help with our food, our shelter, our clothing, and all other aspects of our lives.
Far more importantly, we need help with relationships, emotions, and intellectual and spiritual matters. Most of all we need help with our eternal destiny. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
By Michael E. Brooks