13 November 2011

That's a lot of birthdays!

This year my birthday was extra special, not just because I spent it in Peru, but because October 31, 2011 was also the supposed birthday of the world's 7 billionth person. For some perspective, when I was born in 1985, the world population was approximately 4.850 billion. Now just 26 years later, 2.150 billion more people occupy the planet. That's a whole lot of birthdays; that's a whole lot of people!

But what struck me more was thinking that, beyond it being just an incredible number of people, this also means that there are that many more people who need the love of Jesus. 

In the last couple of months I've been to four of what we consider mega-cities. Mega-cities are just that: MEGA. They go on and on and contain millions of people, often millions of people in very small spaces. Not growing up in a big city, I'm still impressed by huge crowds. I walked through those cities, seeing their magnitude and meeting their people, and thinking...

It's impossible! 
The cities are just too big. 
There are just too many people. 
There are just too few workers.

When you stand looking at the size of the need and the depth of the lostness, and then stand and look back at the resources and workers you have to offer, it's overwhelming. In the economy of man, it would never be enough. 7 billion people?! There's no way that we can reach that many people with the Gospel. People aren't giving enough! People aren't going enough!

Thankfully, we aren't constrained to man's economy. We serve a God who brings glory to Himself by doing much with very little. He is in the business of doing the impossible and doing it in improbable ways. He didn't wake up on the 31st and say, "7 billion people!? How'd that happen?" No, he knows every one of those 7 billion people by name. He formed them in their mothers, He knows the number of the hairs on their heads, and He desires that "not any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). There is no earthly way for us to keep up with the population growth that is rapidly outpacing us, but that doesn't give us an excuse to despair and throw in the towel. We must remain faithful to the task to which we have been called, and remember Who's hands everything rests. (Hint: Not ours!) "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow" (1 Corinthians 3:7). 

But do take this milestone as encouragement to look around for ways to influence the people in your life, and to share the love of Christ!

Below is from a photojournalism blog. I loved the photos from around the world (there's even one from Lima!) and hope you enjoy them too:

United Nations marks 7 billionth baby(See the entire post here.)
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- One South African mother, just 19, named her newborn "Enough" 
and shrugged off a nurse who questioned whether she was old enough to know how
 many children she wanted.
In Nigeria, newborn twins have to share a bassinet in a crowded public hospital that 
doesn't have enough electricity. "Where there is life, there is hope," their mother said. 
But as the world's population surpasses 7 billion, fears were stirred anew about how the 
planet will cope with the needs of so many humans.
The United Nations marked the milestone Monday, even though it is impossible to pinpoint 
the arrival of the globe's 7 billionth occupant because millions of people are born and die 
each day.

In this Saturday Oct. 22, 2011, photo, newly born babies are seen at the district women's hospital, in Allahabad, in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh. In a report, U.N. Population Fund said the world population is expected to reach 7 billion on Oct. 31, 2011. The agency said "it cannot pinpoint the exact moment when or the exact place where that child will be born" but demographers expect the birthplace to be in Uttar Pradesh, in the world's second-most populous country with 1.2 billion people. AP / Rajesh Kumar Sing
An Indian elderly woman sits in front of her house as children arrive from school on a street in Lucknow, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
An Indian woman carries her child as she walks back home in Allahabad, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
An Indian nurse observes newly born babies at a hospital in Gauhati, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Anupam Nath
Father of Nargis, a symbolic 7 billionth baby, looks at his daughter at the Community Health Center in Mall, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lucknow, India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
Mother Vinita, 23, carries her symbolic 7 billionth girl child, Nargis, at the Community Health Center in Mall, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lucknow, India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
Arti, 28, mother of six children (sitting from left to right) prepares food for them, in Allahabad, in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.
AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
School children return from school in an overcrowd vehicle , in Allahabad, in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011.
 AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
A Pakistani girl holds her newly born younger brother as she stands beside her mother buying used clothes at a weekly bazaar in Peshawar, Pakistan on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.
AP / Mohammad Sajjad
Children are seen at a kindergarten in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq,
Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.
AP / Nabil al-Jurani
Afghan woman, Aziza Shir, 21, holds her three-week-old daughter Mjdah as other women and their children having breakfast together in a poor neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Muhammed Muheisen
Afghan woman, Fatimah Mohammed, 21, comforts her crying eight-month-old daughter Sakinah while sitting by her home in a poor neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Muhammed Muheisen
Tourists crowd a hot spring pool in southwestern China's Chongqing city on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.
Newborn girl Yazuri Tarmeno cries as her mother Maria Vega cuddles her at the Maternity hospital in Lima, Peru, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Karel Navarro
Three-day-old Emirati boy, Salem is held by his father, Abdullah al Kotbi at the Al Wasl hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday Oct. 30, 2011.
AP / Kamran Jebreili

Nurses hold newborn babies in Sidon, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Mohammed Zaatari
Women sit with their newborn babies in a ward of the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria,
 Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.
AP / Sunday Alamba
In this photo provided by the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Buthaina looks at her new born child at the El Fasher Women's Hospital in North Darfur, Sudan, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Sudan's population has reached 33 million people, with approximately 6 million living in Darfur's three states.
AP / Albert Gonzalez Farran

You can check out National Geographic's special on the population mark here. 

Also, interesting article from an IMB writer about this.

No comments:

Post a Comment