Thursday, August 25, 2011
However we were a little naughty. Most of the life groups in our church do the same study each week and they usually centre around the message that was given on the Sunday. We skipped it this week!
But we did something I think is even better. We each took turns sharing what God has been doing in us recently. I love it when we do this open up, share honestly. It creates a closer bond in the group and that in turns means more honest discussions when we do, do the study.
I shared about the journey that Dave and I have been on with regards to God starting to shift our thinking from what "normal," (like making sure we own a house, having the nice car, being dressed in the right clothes, being a part of the "right" ministries) to slowing bring us around (probably mostly slowly due to our own resistance!) to what I believe to be a more Biblical way of thinking.
I also shared last night about some friends of ours and their journey of stepping out of the comfort of what "church" is and making the bold choice to follow God's plan when it doesn't make sense, especially by the world's standards but even by the church's standard. (You can read some of their story here)
This was one of the responses I got:
"That's great, but not everyone is called to sell everything and go and live with the poor."
At the time I smiled and nodded. Then I thought about it a little more. (And I apologise if that person happens to come and read this because what I'm about to say they possibly won't like!)
And the more I thought about this response, the more I realised that it was a complete cop out.
And I too am guilty of these kinds of responses.
This kind of response is normal, and that is the frightening thing. It frightens me that this is my response all too often, that I would actually believe that my comfort, here in my nice first world life, is of more value than the life of a person in a third world country. That my comforts at home are worth more to me than another human being - created in God's image the same as I am - more important than them having food, and clean water, and a safe place to live.
It is frightening that this is the church's normal reaction. Not overtly, and we certainly don't mean for this to be our reaction, but simply by omission, by not doing more (and lets be honest, most of us certainly can do more) we are saying these very things.
I don't want this to be the case. I don't want this to be my part in God's story. I don't want to get to the end of my life and say I could have done more. That I should have done more.
I love my church and the people there, and I know that the person who made the comment really meant nothing by what they said, but perhaps that is the greatest tragedy of all of this. We don't realise how offhand our comments really are, and we forget how the "poor" people we are referring to are as valued by God as we are.
I don't want those in need to simply be faceless strangers to me. It's too easy to forget their worth, their value as human beings and as God's creations.
I pray that God will continue to reveal to me how he wants me to show love to "the least of these" regardless of how uncomfortable it might make me.
Will you join me?