Friday, August 12, 2011

Comfort and Calling. The other 99%.

On the last day of my trip to China, I was talking to one of the full time workers there and trying to coming up with ways my church could be involved in Bring Me Hope or this orphanage.  I found myself trying to think of people I knew who might go and then I found myself trying to come up with ways to make the trip more appealing to them.  Could we stay somewhere nicer?  Could we arrange for food that they would be more comfortable with? We could work in some sightseeing before or after the work part?  


A few minutes later he brought me home with a great statement.  He said in America most of you live in the top 1% of the world (it is true - if you earn more than $50,000 a year, you are in the top 1% - from The Whole in Our Gospel by Richard Sterns, p.216) and that it should be okay for our people to spend a week with the top 20%.  He was right.


That got me thinking.  I would like to make the case that when we ask, "Am I called to that?" concerning global missions, what we are often really asking ourselves is, "Am I comfortable with that?"


The answer to the first question, "Am I called to that?" is YES! Absolutely! 
All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the ages. Matthew 28.18-20 
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1.8 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1.27
The answer to the second question, "Am I comfortable with that? is PROBABLY NOT.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Tim 6.9-10 
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.  Matt 19:24  
I don't think God is saying here that there won't be any wealthy people in heaven.  I think instead He is warning us of the power our wealth can have over our hearts and our willingness to respond to the truth of His word and His call on our lives.


So how do we respond when faced with a truth like this?  I think we respond in 1 of 3 ways.


1. We ignore it and pretend like it doesn't apply to us.  After all, we aren't comfortable with it so it must now be true and if we ignore it and ignore people who speak it, then it will go away.


2. We feel guilty and get lost somewhere in that guilt.  This leads to either a lack of response or an insincere response that is motivated by guilt instead of faith and a transformed life. 


3. We take necessary steps to align our stuff with God's will through a heart of thankfulness.  We become givers out of our abundance and we sacrifice our comfort for the sake of His call.  


Something worth thinking about.  I hope it challenges you, because it has challenged me.

4 comments:

TanyaLea said...

I love this, Ginny! I've been wanting to approach our church again regarding Orphan's Sunday coming up in November. I know it's a ways off yet, but I ran into opposition last year, and so I realize I'm nervous about bringing it up again. I guess because we go to a huge church, so it's sometimes hard to be heard. I love how well written this is though, and it would be GREAT material for topic on Orphans Sunday, or anytime for that matter! It's impossible to go through international adoption and visit orphanages or serve missions in these areas, and not be changed and want to help. At least that's how it seems in my eyes. I LONG to do more and lead more down this path, and sometimes I just feel like I'm not sure how to go about doing that. Your words are always a blessing and I enjoy reading every post!

Blessings,
~Tanya

Holly S. said...

I love the man's response about living like the top 20% for a week.
I love reading your blog.

And, once again, your kid quote is cracking me up.

Hunan Mommy said...

It becomes too easy to become complacent and comfortable. What an awesome comment from the man about living like the other 20%.

Rachel said...

Reading this has tugged at my heart for some reason...guess it is a God thing. I would love to go on the next trip. I have always wanted to do something like that and was supposed to go to a Russian orphanage one year, but got pregnant and due around that time so couldn't go. When you are looking for people to go, call me or email me. I want to listen :)