Proximity Equals Responsibility

I have recently been thinking about the old saying – “proximity equals responsibility”?

You know…’If you live among the poor you have the responsibility for caring for the poor or if you work with someone who is going through a hard time you have responsibility to encourage them.’ Where we live and work and do life bears great weight on what and who we are responsible to care for. 

This has all been causing me to think about the plight of orphans around the world and how for the majority of us they are far outside our proximity. And being out of proximity means they easily fall outside of our sense of responsibility. 

I can’t help but think that the responsibility for caring for these millions of children cannot fall solely on those who live near them. Most of them can barely care for themselves as they live in rampant poverty. 

The responsibility must be upon those who may not necessarily have proximity to them but the means to help. Maybe we need to add alongside our original principle – “Prosperity equals responsibility.” The more we have been given, the more responsibility we have to care for those without and in need increases. 

On top of the means to help is the explicit and implicit Biblical call to help. We have many texts that clearly call us to care for the fatherless (Ex 22:22, Deut 24:17, Deut 26:12, Psalm 10:18, etc) and the very expression of God being “the father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) calls us to be the same. As His people, purchased by the blood of His son and adopted into His family we are called to care for the things He cares for and hate the things He hates.    

All that said, are we in the West really that far removed from the plight of the orphans? How many of us get online daily to check the latest scores on the big game or to check email? How many of us have cable TV? How many of us have cell phones with internet access everywhere we go? All this media daily streams information, images, and video from around the world. We may need to search for it and intentionally plan to subscribe to certain feeds and sites but they are there. Never in the history of the world have we had such intimate access to those living thousands of miles away. In light of this there is a real sense in which our proximity is truly as far as our computer, our television, our email, or our phone is to us.

I want to encourage everyone reading this (including myself!) to make some sort of interaction with the orphans of the world a part of your daily life. 

  • Watch a video a day.
  • Read a news story a day.
  • Read a blog post a day.

Live in proximity to the orphans of the world and follow God’s leading in how you will be responsible for caring for them. Who knows what God might do!

6 thoughts on “Proximity Equals Responsibility

  1. Great post! I believe in this day and age, proximity is global, with the endless possibilities of how we can help orphans and the poor. “Prosperity equals responsibility”–AMEN!

    The “world news” headlines on are a great, easy way for me to connect to the rest of the world. If I see something that relates to the suffering, poor, orphaned, widowed, I’ll Google it further. That’s where I find a lot of the articles I post on our blog, the latest being about child labor in the gold mines of Africa.

    Thanks for the encouraging post.

  2. This is compelling, Jason! It’s getting me really excited about Ministries of Mercy too. Often, my obstacle is just practical planning and intentionality….like you said, we may need to go look for it and that’s where I can feel lost. Do you subscribe to any feeds or frequent websites that might be helpful? I figured you of all people would have good connections!


  3. Szia Jason (hello in Hungarian!)

    Thanks for getting the word about orphans (and adoption) out there.

    Great article, I am praying that the Church wakes up and realizes that we are dropping the ball big time on James 1:27.

    off topic- I think I remember that your sweet wife told me you are Hungarian…me too and our first adoption was a Hungarian 😉

    Blessings to you and praying that your voice and words are heard by many and that God uses it to the furtherance of His Kingdom.

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  4. Pingback: Haiti Photos « The ABBA Fund Blog

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