Sunday, February 9, 2014

on poverty...and other things


So there is this thing called poverty. It’s unfair, it’s unjust, and I hate it. Why should I be able to count my many blessings night after night when others don’t have a place to lay their head? Jesus Himself was homeless, so I feel as though His words in the New Testament come from a place of personal experience and true empathy rather than a charge made just because it sounded nice. He said that “the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” And yet my entire life, I’ve never been without. And um, newsflash, I’m a little lower than Jesus. He’s like, infinitely greater and beyond me. Times a bajillion.

Yeah, there was a time in my family where we didn’t always have as much as we have now, but we were still fine. More than fine. Completely and totally blessed. My parents made things work. I didn’t really know the difference anyways. And now that I’m a “young professional” and all (sometimes I don’t even remember how old I am, and I really barely feel like an adult. Anyone else?) I see how difficult it is to resist the temptation to consume more more more. It is a crippling thing, this society we live in. There is always a push for more.

Let me be real. I’m a teacher. I don’t have a master’s degree. I haven’t been teaching for very long. So I’m kind of at the bottom of the totem pole. But the so-called “little” salary I make is still- a salary. With benefits. Read: blessed. And yet, I, at the bottom of the American ideal for what is financial success, make just about enough to be in the top 1% of the world. Top 1% in the WORLD, people. That’s insane. Ridiculous.

So what can I do about it? I’m coming to this place where the Holy Spirit is stirring within me. I can’t continue to be comfortable and justify my materialism. Mary Oliver says, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” He’s asking me to act on what I say I believe. I say that I believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Inspired and breathed by His heart. Living and active. All that we need. And yet I live like the American dream is my Bible. It is my truth. Do more. Get more. Be safe. Be comfortable. Don’t get messy. Protect your stuff. But I don’t want that to be my story. I was made for so much more. And so, I will continue to press in. To ask of Him, what is it You want me to do with this life You’ve given me?

I don’t want to spend my life serving the saved and blessing the blessed, as Jen Hatmaker says. Because while that is all well and good, and it’s wonderful and cozy to have our holy huddles, it’s not at all what Jesus envisioned when He told us to make disciples. He said that others would know us by our love for one another. With so many battle lines drawn by denominations and music preferences, we’ve got a ways to go. But the bride of Christ is beautiful and broken and redeemed and ready. We’ve got to champion Christ. He is our everything. And He is worth giving everything. Because He did the same for us.

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