Saturday, January 30, 2010

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

As my few blog "followers" have probably already come to know, I'm getting worked on BIG TIME by the Lord regarding my faith in action. James 2 talks about this when he writes, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" He isn't talking about a works based belief here, because we cannot get to heaven by works, only by grace... but he is challenging believers in saying that if you have faith, deeds should follow. We should care about others and DO something. Through following the walks and testimonies of other believers living out their faith in amazing action (check out blogs here, here, here, and here), as well as reading books challenging me on the topic (see the ones listed on my bookshelf to the right), being reminded of scripture that speaks to the truth of the matter, and overall feeling a conviction from the Holy Spirit to listen up and do something... I am constantly reminded that God has called me and other believers to something greater than what this life, this world has to offer and says is worthwhile.

Today, I have been using my "snow day" - remember that means ICE DAY in Memphis - to read, count up change for The ABC Challenge 2010 (very excited to hear the results), balance the checkbook, and spend some time with my man. During the reading portion of my day I have dived into Jen Hatmaker's book, INTERRUPTED: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith. Ladies and Gents, 34 pages into this 168 page book, I am rocked! I cannot read more until I share what's rocking me. I encourage you ALL to pick up this book... it's an "easy" read in the sense that the pages are small, font is big, and Jen Hatmaker is a great writer that keeps you interested.

I'm going to share the quotes I've underlined thus far, hoping it encourages you to go pick it up yourself and be ready to heed a challenge! A challenge to step outside of ourselves and begin caring for those around us.

Hatmaker ends her introduction to the book by saying, "So then, let me tell you how my consumer, comfortable life was divinely interrupted - and perhaps yours will be too."

Quotes that rock me:
I am still stunned by my capacity to spin Scripture, see what I wanted, ignore what I didn't, and use the Word to defend my life rather than define it.
We were the opposite of counterculture. We were a mirror image of culture, just a churched-up version.
by Shane Claiborne in The Irresistible Revolution: I developed a spiritual form of bulimia where I did my devotions, read all the new Christian books and saw the Christian movies, and then vomited information up to friends, small groups, and pastors. But it never had the chance to digest. I had gorged myself on all the products of the Christian industrial complex but was spiritually starving to death. I was marked by an overconsumption but malnourished spiritually, suffocated by Christianity but thirsty for God.
"God raise up in me a holy passion."
And from the depths of heaven, this is what I heard: "You do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of my sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are my youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around. If you truly love Me, you will feed My lambs. My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you're blessing blessed people and dreaming about your next house."
All of a sudden, I saw my exact reflection in Peter: devoted but selfish, committed but misguided. And that is not going to be enough. It won't suffice to claim good intentions. Saying "I meant well" is not going to cut it. Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, "Oh? Were You serious about all that?"
For all my self-proclaimed love of God's Word, what I really loved were the parts that worked for me. For my good. For my blessings.
I submit the following not to shame the rich West but to offer perspective... These are pretty agreed-upon statistics, and if I encountered a discrepancy in the research, I went with the more conservative number:
    • Of the 6 billion people on planet Earth, about 1.2 billion live on $.23 a day.
    • Half the world lives on less than $2 a day.
    • The wealthiest 1 billion people average $70 a day. (This places you and me in the upper, upper, upper percentages of the global population.)
      • If you make $35,000 annually, you are in the top 4 percent.
      • If you make $50,000 annually, the top 1 percent.
    • Someone dies of hunger every 16 seconds.
    • Last year 22 million people died of preventable diseases; 10 million were children.
    • 27 million children and adults are trapped in slavery (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves) because of economic crisis. More slaves exist today than ever before in human history.
    • More than 143 million children in the world have been orphaned or abandoned (equivalent to more than half the population of the United States).
    • In the last hour:
      • 1,625 children were forced to the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.
      • 115 children became prostitutes.
      • 66 children under the age of fifteen were infected with HIV.
    • Roughly 1 billion people in the world do not have suitable housing, and 100 million are entirely homeless.
When God shook Israel awake from her violent slumber, He said, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arragant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy" (Ezekiel 16:49, emphasis added). I humbly propose that God is calling rich believers in America (which is all of us) to the same reform. I optimistically believe that most are unconcerned because we're unaware.

Do we realize, do we know how good we have it? More like this, do I KNOW how good I have it? How blessed I am? How I have an opportunity to make a difference, one child, one person at a time? I do not want to sit idly by and use the excuse that I cannot make a difference. The excuse that the problem is too large for my help to matter. That's a LIE. That's an EXCUSE. I can make a difference and the reality is my faith, my Lord, my Bible calls me to do so. Enough with the excuses, time to activate and do something. If we all stepped up to the plate, we'd make a mighty difference. And the reality is... God doesn't need us to do something, but HOW BLESSED can we be to be a part of God's purpose and calling.

Rocked this Saturday... Wrecked and Wondering.

1 comment:

Elian said...

Right on sister