I was going to post a few pics of the girls, but my internet is freaking out a little today for some reason. Sorry no pics:(
My church back home is doing the ESV One year Bible so I found a downloadable chart that matches theirs and I'm doing it from here. God's Word is so refreshing. I just want more of it. This passage is not from my daily reading, but I was cross referencing some stuff and came across it. Do you know how many verses are in the Bible that talk about not loving our possessions and giving to the poor? A lot. Anyway, this one struck me:
"Take care and be on your guard against all coveteousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." -Luke 12:15 ESV.
I've never thought alot about "being on my guard" against coveting stuff. It kind of makes me think that I should be fighting my fleshly love of possessions much more than I do.
You know, when I first met Darren, I thought he was a little too radical when it came to his view of possessions. I really like "stuff" and it made me uncomfortable. I didn't truly understand where he was even coming from. Now I realize why he was able to view possessions more objectively: He had been to Africa--twice! I have the feeling that I am still so much of a "baby" in the learning stages of how to make sure my life doesn't consist of possessions. To say that God has taken the blinders off over here would be an understatement and I haven't even left Lusaka.
Here's some perspective for you. Let me just say that I generally kind of hate statistics...ya know like 50% are wrong. (that's a joke) Seriously, I'm sure there's always some give and take in these numbers, but bear with me. And please understand that this is coming from an overweight woman who loves food way too much and wastes way too much money and time on clothing and entertainment. This entire post will probably strike you as irony if you know me at all. But here are some statistics to jog your brain:
People in the US spend between 30-50 billion dollars a year on diets and related expenditures to reduce calorie intake.
Over 2.8 billion try to survive on less than two dollars a day.
Listened to a sermon today about giving where the pastor commented that "God is not decieved by the American Dream." How sad is it that I'm His child and I feel like most of the time I am not even TRYING to fight my covetous heart. It's so pathetically normal to me to make myself happy and forget about the "least of these", that is seems "out of character" or "special" to not think about myself. And then I'm really proud of that "moment".
In Matthew 25 Jesus makes a pretty clear statement that how we treat the poor is a direct reflection of our relationship to Christ:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Of course, Jesus is not saying that we merit heaven based on the degree that we lessened physical suffering in this world, but here and in numerous other passages, he states that humbling ourselves to give to the least of these is a fruit of a salvation we have already been given. It makes me look at my life and wonder if I really look any different sometimes? There are no half sheep/ half goats by the way.
I am not pointing fingers and I do not pretend in the slightest to be fully accomplishing what God's Word explicitately commands, in fact I feel like I'm just uncovering the tip of a very big iceberg, but I am so thankful that God has put me here for this time to teach me what I need to learn. I'll admit that in some ways it's easier to be passionate about this over here. Poverty is in your face every day and you don't feel the constant need to keep up with anyone. Plus most of the stuff over here isn't mine so while I feel a great sense of stewardship, I don't feel really tied to anything here and I'm not like buying new stuff all the time trying to show off a home that isn't mine. Shouldn't we be that way about heaven? Shouldn't we care for the things God has given us and enjoy then without coveting more stuff and ignoring the starving world around us because THAT's our true home and not this one?
Again, lest I be taken for a depressing grinch, I do not see a biblical mandate for excluding our lives of pleasure...that's impossible and actually Anti-biblical and I think our children and spouses would find us miserable people to live with. However, there is a Biblical mandate to give and care for the poor. To what degree is a matter of prayer and consideration. I know in my life I could be doing more.
Just some thoughts...
Please pray as we continue to wrestle wtih decisions surrounding Keira's adoption. At some point we have got to set a court date for Evolet and if everything with Keira drags out it could really mess that up. Please pray for us to have wisdom. Hopefully I can upload photos again soon. The kids have been extra cute lately:)