Sunday, July 6, 2008

seventeen dollar sunglasses

i squirm every time the videos come on. you know the type...sweeping orchestral background, moving portraits of children dying in Africa, villages ravaged by war and disease. they always make me so restless. i just want to pack up and move away and sell all my posessions and go save children. one of my friends had a different take on those videos though. he said "you know what those videos make me think? how absolutely depraved i am. i look at them and i dont think 'wow they have it rough.' i am blown away by the thought look how i am living. why in the world did God choose to bless me in this way?" we got to talking about child sponsorship, and realized that the main problem with it (its a wonderful thing), but we realized its a tiny bit selfish. as Americans, as the church, we tend to like problems to go away. by tossing a check in the mail, i can appease the twinge of guilt, and emotionally 'check out' of the problem. a christian speaker once opened his talk with college students with,

"while you slept tonight, 33.000 children died of starvation."

so what do we do with that piece of information? we toss a check in the mail, we buy a "inspi(red)" shirt at Gap. we sport the bracelets, the bumper stickers, we join causes on facebook.
and still we are emotionally detached. i can look at the picture at the top of this post and feel my heart stretch to encompass that precious little boy. but tomorrow morning, my first thought will be the laundry i have to do.
that my car is out of gas.
that i had better go grocery shopping.
and kids are dying in haiti. mothers are dying in africa. kids that should be doctors and lawyers and nurses are starving to death. eating dirt.


my friend drew summed it up with "if i sponsor a child, i know thats all i will give that child. i wont give any more than a few bucks in the mail. i cant be involved in that childs life. we are just so selfish. today i bought seventeen dollar sunglasses. i will lose them in about three weeks. and i think 'how in the world are we living like this'?"
i think we have to pray for restlessness. i never want to become comfortable with forgetting. i want to be restless. i want to be stirred. i want to always have that yearning to go. but i want to do it out of gratefulness. giving motivated from a prick of guilt is nothing. giving from a heart overflowing with gratefulness to a really big God is everything. we can still buy our seventeen dollar glasses. but i want to always walk in restlessness, propelled by the realization of the mercy of God, and the knowledge that we will never be at home here. One of my favorite songwriters, Australian Brooke Fraser wrote a song that says "Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead."

make me restless, oh God.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Hey, I just stumbled across your blog, and this was a very good post. It's so true. Maybe the reason we always fall back on thinking about ourselves is because of America's whole individualism mindset.. well, and human nature..

That said, does that mean we should feel guilty every time we spend money on ourselves? I don't necessarily think so.. God blessed us far beyond we could ever imagine, so who are we do deny those blessings?

However, I do believe that the blessings were NOT meant purely for us. First and foremost our blessings are there so that we can bless others. It's a fine balance. Should I buy that pair of sunglasses that I will lose in two weeks? Maybe not. What about getting a $3.75 coffee every day? If it's just a comfort thing then maybe I should stop, however I use getting coffee as an excuse to get out and see more people, so that maybe God will use me more.

Basically, in everything we do, our goal should be to glorify God and serve others. Maybe that means that the $20 a month that you were thinking about sending to the starving kids in Africa, God wants you to use to start taking someone out for coffee once a week and study the bible together! It's all in the heart, and I confess mine probably isn't in the right place.

That was an extremely good post, and I think you hit it right on the nail!

P.S. Holy crap! I just wrote an entire novel! Sorry, I have logorrhea...