Friday, November 25, 2011

Material World

I know you all would probably prefer a family update, but this morning I've got some thoughts that I want to organize into more clearly defined ideas. Blogging is a good way for me to do that, as well as to encourage whoever still manages to come across this completely outdated blog.
I woke up this morning to the sounds of toddler feet at 5:00a.m. I love that sound, because I know that he's still up for sleeping and that means a snoodlefest with me for a couple of hours. I treasure those sweet moments when I can kiss his little forehead and caress and smell his little head.
This morning, however, the "Black Friday" sales kept me from falling back to sleep. I hadn't even looked at any ads, but I lay in bed wondering if there was something I might be able to get for the kids and if it might just be worth it to get up and run out. I slipped out my arm from under the baby's head and sat down at the computer to peruse those enticing ads.
Thankfully nothing jumped off of those pages that was compelling. Maybe that was my selfishness since I wasn't looking for me, but I soon crawled back into bed and fell asleep content that I wasn't missing much. It was a much sweeter morning snuggled up with my precious baby.
Later this morning I was cleaning my closet- hanging up clothes that had been piling up on my dresser. As I neared the bottom of the pile and saw the other mounds of clothes that I hardly wear my stomach began to get tangled up a little. Maybe I'm just emotional but when I see all that I have (and of course everything I buy is at bargain prices), I get uncomfortable. I've been exposed to poverty and I know what could be purchased- even for the price of one of my cheap $4 or $5 shirts. And there are a lot of cheap shirts in my closet.
My mind quickly goes right to Dwight Stone. Who? Dwight is a missionary to Romania from our church here. He has laid down his life for the gospel and continues to do so. I love to be around him. He is encouraging, he knows the Word, he is passionate, he is winsome and just a sweet older man. He convicts me. He has poured himself out. He eats a can of beans for dinner many nights. He lives in a tiny apartment so that he can use all that he has for God's purposes. He has a ministry to gypsies in sector four. These are people who are not acknowledged by the government. They are not born in hospitals, so they don't have birth certificates, aren't allowed in schools, and are uneducated, unable to get real jobs, and are the poorest of the poor. On top of that, they are despised by their own country. Dwight reaches out to them with education, food, medical care (several nurses on staff) and hygiene items. But, above all, he is preaching the gospel to mothers, fathers, grandparents and children. His means of reaching hearts is through helping them with what they perceive to be their real needs. He then helps them to see their One True Need- Jesus Christ.
So...I guess this perspective that I'm sorting out in my own heart goes like this.
Another cheap t-shirt, or a bottle of ibuprofin for Dwight to bring to those hurting?
Another cheap t-shirt, or a jacket to bring to a child who will freeze in the cold snowy season?
Another cheap t-shirt, or a warm meal for a mother of a nursing infant?
These things Dwight can use to reach the hearts of the gypsies. To advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Where are my priorities? Am I shutting my eyes and pretending that these needs are just too far away for me make any difference?
I think God can do amazing things with my small sacrifices. It's embarrassing to even call them sacrifices. A sacrifice means that I go without something for the benefit of someone else. I'll never go without a clean, nice shirt. I'll never be in need of a warm jacket. I have to choose which warm jacket matches best with my outfit.
So this morning, by God's design, I happened to land in I John. I end with this.

"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."

I like to think that I do not love the world. When I look in my closet, I'm embarrassed. I wonder if it doesn't tell me something else.