And, there's another side to this. That bowl of rice can indeed be food for the hungry or it can also be the next "fix" for the drug addict or the next drink for the alcoholic. Our hearts and compassion naturally go out to those who feel so hopeless and helpless because of their physical situation. We do not want to lose sight of our need to help them. But often we do.
I would say that most Americans have horizons that have "shrunk" in a different way, often blinding us from acts of compassion and love toward those mentioned earlier. Despite the world in which we live where, for the vast majority of us, our needs and even many of our wants are fulfilled, we are often missing our internal call to follow any innate morality and sense of fairness and justice by serving others. In fact, it is the material things of this world which are blinding us. Our horizons have shrunk from where God wants them to be to instead be that next vacation, that new car, a new house, or, in some very unfortunate cases, perhaps a new spouse.
We speak a lot these days of the "greatest generation" -- those folks who came into adulthood during World War II. They had a horizon that was broader than all of this. Their horizon, I believe, called for a peaceful and God-loving world from which prosperity would naturally spring forth. They wanted to raise their families without the spector of war or evil run rampant in the world. Yes, they wanted to be prosperous but only after they first focused on showing God's love to those arouund them. I realize that I am making this all much simpler and typified than it actually was but I do believe that part of that generation's "greatness" was the result of having goals that were much bigger than their own personal next bowl of rice, in whatever form that rice can be.
There is a group of people, right now, who are in the final half of an experiment with "30 days of nothing". This idea spread primarily through the online community and bloggers. The concept is, for 30 days, to not buy anything you don't have to have. Focus on meals at home, avoid rampant consumerism, walk instead of drive when you can, even minimize computer time. I have followed one person as they have blogged about this experience and she has relayed many difficulties through this but, fact is, I believe she has done far better than I could have done.
I know that my horizon is not that next meal. I am nowhere close to knowing what the pain and anguish of that would be. My meals -- my basic "needs" -- are covered. Thank God for that. I am truly blessed. The problem is, though, that my horizon is instead far too often focused upon material wants for myself and my family. If my horizon can instead be that others do not have "shrunken" horizons limited to their next meal or the next fix for their addiction, and my actions can live out the pursit of that horizon, then I believe that I will be doing what God calls me to do.