Saturday, October 16, 2010

we must decrease

Did you catch Ann's post today?  Here is an excerpt that really struck me:

"My last night in Guatemala, Shaun who had guided us through Guatemala with Compassion, had said it across the table to us, and this is what I remember, the Gordian Knot I can’t quite figure out how to slice: “The world, your community.. even your family — they are going to try to push you back to the middle. North America feels pretty comfortable in the middle. Balance, everyone says. I don’t know what Jesus is going to say to you.. How He might direct your life now…  just don’t assume He wants you to live in the middle. Be open to the possibility …. Of something radically different.” "

I was also struck by this:

"I’m half-hearted brave through the check-out. We buy two pair of leotards. I have no idea if we should. The girls do need them. It’s October. This is Canada. But thirty one days ago I saw kids who had no shoes, living in a dump in Guatemala. Do we really need leotards? Do I really need a new dress, a sweater for travelling to Relevant next week? Do I really need a haircut? Mascara? Every time I open my wallet, I twist, conflicted." 

I could feel Ann's conflict.  She is speaking at a blog conference next week and obviously wants to look nice.  She is agoraphobic and sometimes fights intense fear when leaving her home.  Perhaps a new outfit would boost her confidence.  And yet, surely she already has something in her closet that will do just fine?  

All of us have a similar inner battle, whether it be clothes, furnishings, our mode of transportation, activities, even certain foods.  Do we really need it, considering that some children go days without food in some countries?  

Usually the answer is a clear no (although I'm glad she got her girls the winter tights).

So, if a clear no, why are so many of us comfortable in the middle? 

Partly, it's mob mentality.  Everyone is doing it.   

To be set apart for Christ, to live radically, to end abject poverty--we have to lower ourselves....As Jesus did when he became Jesus did when he washed the disciples' feet....As Jesus did when he was beaten, taunted, tortured....for us.  

We have to live humbly.   Live below the mob.  Let the mob whisper about us.  Wear the older outfit and risk looking as though we belong to the lower class.  Drive the older car.  Buy the cheaper meat.  Buy the cheaper mascara...the cheaper haircut.   

We have to decrease, so He can increase.

Ann is right.  "God gives the world enough of what it needs.  He just doesn't distribute it."

Dear Lord, I thank you for your generous gifts.  And I pray for North America--for those of us in the middle.  Help us to live radically, bravely, sacrificially.  Help us to be humble distributors of your wealth--knowing that we deserve none of it, own none of it.  May we live knowing that our value comes from you, and not from our lifestyle. May we be set apart for your purposes.  In your name I pray, Amen.

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