Saturday, March 28, 2009

Something has to give

You know life is full these days when the blog worthy material is just sitting in line waiting to be written but the copywriter can't seem to catch a break, let alone a breath to write it. But, it is 12:15 am and I can't sleep so perhaps if I don't put you to sleep, at least maybe I can put me to sleep. Normally, I try to blog in themes, like Pastors or Job or life or something like that, and I think I will attempt to do that this morning.

But, my mind is raw, like a video playing over and over again, as images and conversations and realities that are my reality, at least through my window. And so I think organization will have to wait yet another day. I spent the good part of the morning worrying about life and money. It seems every day there is another email or blog or website that is lamenting about the recession and depression. I have never been in a place where I am this dependent upon people to survive, I mean, in a such a direct way. If people don't give, I don't get.

But during this worry session, I realized, that in reality, we all receive from the Lord. Though we may have jobs that seem secure, we are never really secure. We may think we are secure but we are all like me, dependent, not on people, but upon God who sends the rain and provides the food, who cares for his children and provides their daily bread.

It is hard to justify feeling this worry as you live with people who pray, literally, for their daily bread. I see little kids begging for money or mothers selling bananas alongside a polluted highway or a young man desperate for some steady work and I just break inside. If I am honest, no, I am being honest, I don't want to be that dependent for my daily bread. I have no clue what it is like to pray for my daily bread. And, I don't really want to find out.

I just cringe as I think back on the money I have wasted in my life. I cringe when I think of the ignorance that exists in America about the suffering in the world.. And most of all, I cringe that I will ever have to be one. I cringe because I want to love the poor but I don't want to be the poor. And my reasons for not wanting to be poor are perhaps the same reasons that are keeping me from really trusting God with my whole life. This is the hardest thing about Africa. It works on you and works on you and breaks you until you cry mercy. I can't live here and remain the same. What does it mean? I don't know, but something has to give.

And, it is this struggle that reveals deep within me something that brings great concern, that is, perhaps, money is keeping me from even understanding what it means to be a Christ follower. As Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." If I am serving God and God alone, than money will have no influence on me. If I trust God and God alone, it will not lead me to worry, it will not tempt me to earn more, it will not control how I live and lead my ambitions. But if I have put my faith in money, than when money fails, my life will fail. I know that in this time of recession many Christians are being put in situations where they too are facing poverty and I assume they are feeling the same things that I am.

And for us, I have to pose the question, "Do we love God more than money?" Are we more broken by our sin than by our bank account? Are we more anxious about our stocks portfolio than our fruit of the spirit? Do we fear financial poverty more than spiritual poverty?"

Because it seems to me that times like these reveal the true motives behind the surface and we best be studying our hearts and making decisions to prepare ourselves for eternity rather than this earth. How foolish it is for those who gain the world and yet forfeit their souls, especially Christians. How many Christians say they are Christians and yet are really just servants and lovers of money. They don't serve God at all. So, I speak to me and I speak to thee that we not waste this time of recession for a rare and necessary glimpse into our souls. Do we really trust and follow God, even in difficult times? May this wake up call be to us a gift from God.

Jas 1:9-12 - When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

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