Transform My Heart

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Warning: This is going to be one of those rambling posts where I spew out a bunch of thoughts with no order of editing.

I have so much stuff. We, as in the majority of the people I know, have more stuff than the rest of the world. Did you know that if you have a roof over your head every night, a meal a day, clothes to wear, and transportation (even if it's public transportation) you are wealthier than 85% of the world. And if you make more than 50K a year you have more money than 99% of the world. 99%!!! That number is so crazy it's hard to even fathom.

Any what do we do with all that money? If you're like me you save some of it, invest it if you can, and buy stuff. Much of the stuff unnecessary extras by the worlds standards- which are a far cry from Southern California standards. And, because I know I've been blessed, I give some of it away. But, as my friend Becky posted the other day, do you ever give until it hurts? Because the "loss" I feel when when I give to Compassion International, the church, or a local charity, probably hurts a whole hell of a lot less than starving, or digging through the trash heap for food, or watching your baby die because you can't put a roof over her head.

I recently read a book that has all but destroyed me. The books is called "Radical" by David Platt. it's an easy read, not overly theological, actually quite simple, and very Biblical. But, I'll be honest, the entire time I was reading it I kept referencing back to my Bible hoping it wasn't Biblical, because it points out how much I have missed the mark. Being a Christian isn't saying a nice prayer, going to church on Sunday, and hanging with your other Jesus-freak friends. It's not about being Moralistic (as we have SO created the American church to be), anti-gay, and Republican. Being a Christian is a radical transformation of the heart. Learning and transforming (through the Holy Spirit) to love the things Jesus loves and hurt for the things He hurts for. All because we have been saved by Grace. We should be so overwhelmingly burdened by Christ's love for us that we can't help but run after Him. (If you do decide to pick this book up please read it all the way though. You are going to want to put it down part way. And you are going to disagree with the author sometimes, but you need to get to the last chapter where he brings it all together.)

So should I do? Sell all my possessions and give them to the poor? Live like a peasant and never enjoy another "luxury" as long as I live. Give up Starbucks, new clothes, restaurants, and vacations forever?

I don't think so (except in a few extreme circumstances). The Bible actually promotes working hard and saving money. However, we are also to help the poor and love our neighbor more than ourself.  I am beginning to see that it comes down to a condition of the heart. How tightly do I hold on to my stuff, my extras? If God did ask me to give up a luxury (or two, or three) would I do it? Would I be able to do it with a happy heart knowing that He will take care of me and trusting in His eternal promises? Or would I drag my feet kicking and screaming? Or tell Him flat out No? Do I love other people more than I love myself?

I think giving comes down to prayer. I don't pray about my finances nearly enough. I move forward in the standard American fashion - saving, planning, spending without asking God about it very much. When we do ask God does some mighty things.

I was recently given some money for my birthday. I had a plan for that money involving my favorite amusement park and my two favorite boys. We had a date set and everything ready. Then I learned about a boy in Russia who needs a home. This boy has Downs Syndrome  and if he doesn't get adopted in the next year he will spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. At four years old he won't have a mom to tuck him in at night and tell him that she loves him. He'll never go to an amusement park and meet Mickey Mouse and eat cotton candy, while my little boy will probably get to go multiple times. My heart broke. I prayed. And you guess it - I gave the money to a family that might adopt this boy. God asked me to - I could feel it in my bones. Did I want to? Honestly, not really. I really wanted to have that fun day with my family. But I am learning that loving people more than i love myself isn't about my emotions or my wants. It's about sacrifice. And we will go to Disneyland another time. And it will be okay to spend the money and enjoy family fun. God created fun. But at this particular time He wanted me to do something else.

And God is so good. I wasn't expecting a reward for my giving, but God gave me something anyway. We didn't get to go to Disneyland. The arranged date came and went. I was sad but excited for little Daniel far away in Russia. But a few days later God answered a huge prayer in my life. Something I've been praying about for over a year. I can't share it right now, but I am blessed! My God is so good to me. I will never understand the depths of His enormous love. I just pray that I might show someone else a small glimpse through my own life.


Brittney Crooks said...

I LOVE Radical. What a crazy revelation from God to you! He is SO good. IT IS unfathomable. I can't wait to hear what God answered your prayer about! ( I hope you are pregnant or pregnant with adoption papers ). Love you so much! - Britt

SomisSurferGirl said...

That is an absolute blessed reminder to me Anna, of my heart and how much I need to plead with God to make it generous beyond human strength! Much love!

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