Since May I have been reading the bible and attempting to categorize the whole thing… trying to begin to see the world as God does and trying to get a little study together to teach my babies the way Jesus thinks… and I have cut out t.v. since mid February trying to make sure I am not filling my brain full of perspectives that aren’t God’s. The combo is really helping me to see things from God’s perspective.
Not too many years ago everything I owned could fit in a backpack. I sleep on the floor for a few years inspired by Hudson Taylor (who trained the same way for China) in preparation to live in my mud hut in Africa one day.
I remember when I first traveled to India with Jonathan to visit our Orphan Homes. Everything they owned… all of their life possessions… were in these boxes below….I told Jonathan and few other team members that I was going to get one of these boxes for each one of my kids and that all of their stuff would fit in it…
I think traveling to the most impoverished places in the world changes your “American” mindset. It helps you to see what really matters in life… what a person really needs.I took this picture of an Indian Kitchen and still have in up in my Kitchen today to remind myself of how truly blessed I am.
Now I have a whole house full of needless stuff and way too much of the things one “needs”. It takes time to take care of all my needless stuff to. I remember when I bought my first car (it was my first real possession) I was shocked about how much time it took to maintain it… time I could be using to do something more eternal… lasting.
Like in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 - “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – I think the point Jesus was making is that He is the only “thing” worth beginning concerned about, everything else in comparison to God is not.
I remember setting in a hotel room in China with some Chinese friends. Everything they owned fit in their book bag. Each of the ladies on my team had brought them a “gift”. I had stopped at target on the way to the airport before we left and picked up a candle and a necklace I think. As they opened the gifts we noticed the true insignificance of our gift. Not that they weren’t grateful..it just wasn’t practical… we asked them what they “really needed, shoes, clothes, etc.” and how could we meet their physical needs…. they replied….
“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want” (from Psalm 23, out of the bible) ……after those words I sank in my seat..it was like I was hearing the verse for the first time… it was because I was hearing it from people who knew what it really meant.
And today I was reading this… Luke 12:13-34
Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
All of this is an area I struggle with greatly…that I haven’t truly yielded to God. It is hard in the midst of Americia’s wealth and love for the material to truly think like Jesus thinks. Everywhere you go there is something someone tell you that you need this or that.
I know I need to make changes to think and live like He does. I want to live for eternity… invest whatever resources we have into the things that really matter. I am mulling all of this over in my heart and pray that it will change my actions. I am an “all or nothing” kind of girl… so I think I know what i need to start doing. Pray that I will start living my life for the eternal…. every part of it.
See I told you this was going to be deep and long.