Thursday, July 15, 2010

Radical

While Jonathan has been away at camp, I've been reading Radical by David Platt. I have also been listening to some of the podcasts from The Church at Brook Hill, where he pastors. Here are some of my thoughts on what I've been learning/ reading:

There are millions of people in the world that live and die in poverty. "We are not inconvenienced by extreme poverty because those stricken by it are not only poor, but powerless. Millions of them die quietly in relative obscurity, while we comfortably ignore them in our affluence and pretend that they don’t even exist. Can I believe the gospel and turn a deaf ear to the starving and unreached?" (from the podcast The Secret Church: The Gospel, Possesions and Prosperity Part 1)

On the whole, we as Christians give 2% of our income to the church and 2% of that to overseas missions. One statistic read that out of every $100 we earn, we give 5 cents to missions overseas. We spend more money than that on our pets!

My eyes are being opened that this is a problem in our hearts, in my heart! It's not like I haven't been exposed to the poverty of the world. I've seen it. I've been to India, the Philippines, and Mexico. I've heard them say "You Americans are so rich. Why don't you share?" I thought to myself then, "No I'm not wealthy, at least not compared to many people that I know." But the truth of the matter is that if I have clean water, food, shelter and good health, I am incredibly rich! So many people in the world do not have anything close to what I am blessed to have at my fingertips everyday in the US. I don't even think twice about these things! At times I am gripped with compassion, but I get caught up in "my world" here in America and quickly lose my motivation to make a diffence in the lives of the poor and needy.

I took this picture in India last year. These people lived right next to the missionary's house, and this isn't even the worst of the living conditions that I saw there. Somehow this family was able to send the oldest boy to school. So many other children are not so lucky.

The question remains: how can I live in such affluence while so many had no food, water, clothes or shelter…even my own brothers and sisters in Christ? Why do I waste money on things I don’t need? Do I need more clothes? Can’t I live without the little “extras” that I like to have? I am ashamed to say that I have such a materialistic mind-set. Much of what I have written about on this blog has been about me, my things, what I want or what I have. This should not be so. It goes against the true meaning of being a Christian. I am meant to exhibit the glory of God, not to make much of myself.

The fact is that the Bible says more about money than faith and prayer, heaven and hell combined! There are 2300 verses about it! The Bible is too clear…what it says is not necessarily easy though. So now I am at a cross-road. Am I willing to obey God’s word even if it cost me dearly, even if it goes against everything I've learned from my affluent culture? Am I willing to be radical for Christ? Am I willing to give up my selfish desires for how to spend my money in order to reach a poor and dying world for Christ?

I pray God will show me where to go from here. "What if the reason we have breath is because we have been saved for a global mission? And what if anything less than passionate involvement in global mission is actually selling God short by frustrating the very purpose for which he created us." (excerpt from Radical) The cost of staying in the bubble of my culture's affluence is very great. If I stay here, I will waste my life and the people I should be reaching may go unreached. I have made my faith comfortable, but Jesus calls us to RADICAL faith. He said "take up your cross and follow me." Jesus is someone worth losing everything for, worth giving up everything for. He gives all. He asks all. I have a Master that demands radical obedience and a mission that warrents radical urgency. How can I sit here and waste my life? I say I believe in him. Will I act on what he says? Will I risk it all for his glory?

We are called as Christians to proclaim the glory of God to the ends of the earth. Will I?

1 comment:

meaghantothemax said...

Hey, sorry to comment on such an old post, but I just found your blog and it popped up on the bottom of the more recent post I was reading. That book sounds really interesting - most North Americans (except for our indigenous populations, sadly) are so insanely well-off compared to the rest of the world, but our culture is still constantly pushing the idea that we need more.

I think a lot about a book I saw recently called "where children sleep." One picture has stuck with me and comes to mind every time I'm in a shopping centre or thinking about buying frivolous things for myself - it was of a young boy in Cambodia whose entire family lived and worked in a giant dump, and he slept on a bed made of used tires.

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