Posted by: minnow | November 12, 2009

RENEWED EYES

My son posted a video about a young girl, age 3, who was murdered after a history of suffering from child abuse.  His comment upon posting it was that he believed we could do something about those kinds of situations.  I found myself doubting his “can do” attitude.  I want to think it is actually possible to make a positive difference in the world.  Yet, I find myself thinking instead–“If I, as someone who actually sees the need for change and even has a few ideas as to how we can make change happen, am full of excuses then is there really any hope to be had?”

Being feet and hands of change is what I admire most about the people at the Refuge, and place like the Refuge (though I haven’t found many others).  Wasn’t being the change that America needs the theme song of our current president’s campaign?  But all that he is able to do is so full of politics (We can’t exactly re-invent Washington in a year.) that I seriously have my doubts as to what government can accomplish.  If we spend the next 20 years paring government down to the bare bones and throwing out the trash we would still end up with a surplus of bureaucracy and a lack of real help for the people with real need.  Sadly, the same can be said for most of Building-Based Christianity as well.

I understand that different people have different gifts  and that we should serve God to the best of our abilities in the areas where we are gifted.  I realize that vision  goes a long way to fuel the tank.  I get that counting the cost  is probably not the worst advice.  But seriously, is there really not one tiny place each one of us can give a little more, make a small “sacrifice”, be inconvenienced just a bit?  Does the gifting, vision, and cost counting really add up to a lot of talk (nice sounding blogs) and not much else?

I have been working the food bank that operates out of the fellowship my family is a part of for the last year or so.  I have not made it every week; I nearly missed a whole month while our family was moving.  Still, it is a tiny gift of time–just two hours a week–and makes a small but consistent difference–in a city of 80,000 we serve approximately 90 households.  I would like to do more and someday I may. 

Right now I am full of excuses why I cannot do more.  I homeschool two teenagers.  I have a four year old at home. I work almost forty hours a week on a graveyard shift.  Reasonable excuses but even so I could  do more.  I could get back on track with recycling (It was disrupted by our move).  I could give money to my missionary friend in Africa.  I could reach out to my new neighbors. 

Truly, each one of us could always do something else, something more, something different with the budget to make a little extra room for giving.  But, this post is not meant to induce a guilt trip.  When I was part of a fellowship I resented the pulpit pleas that guilted congregations into giving and I NEVER want to go there.  My point is–we as followers of a generous, sacrificial God need to renew our minds.  We need to tune our ears to His voice, remind ourselves that sometimes  He uses us to be the provision for others.  Not always, but sometimes.  And, not to the point of causing our anger or frustration or resentment.  If those are the emotions we have something else is going on we should probably figure out what. 

If we change our thinking, our attitudes toward others, our concepts of “family”, we might find out that the “us VS them” mentality which is so ingrained in both American and Evangelical thought is actually counter productive to change, growth, community, and more importantly walking with Christ.  After reading and re-reading the Gospels I am convinced that Jesus did not see the world in “us VS them” terms”.  He regarded all of creation as belonging to His Father and all of humanity as worth saving.  When Jesus encountered the Roman soldier, Samaritan woman, tax collector, or prostitute He spoke to their need, commended their faith, and called out of their hearts what was of God.  If we are to follow Christ it might make sense to start seeing the world through His eyes.

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