Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Much is Enough?

Chapter 6 of "Radical" by David Platt. Subtitle of chapter - American Wealth and a World of Poverty

Even the poor in our country have a fighting chance. Why? Government programs such as food stamps, WIC, government subsidized housing, free school lunches, homeless shelters, soup kitchens. Yes even our poor are wealthy. I will even go as far as to say that the homeless who beg on the street corners are wealthy...because they will dig through garbage and find food. My friends in Africa can't dig through garbage to find food, because no one in Africa throws food away. And my introduction to the slums in the Dominican Republic revealed family upon family living in tin shacks, amidst raw sewage. They seemed to be eating only what the local Christians were bringing them. No foodstamps.

This chapter did an incredible job of not condemning the wealthy because money isn't bad. Money isn't at fault. What is at the heart of the handler?

Oh so many quotable pages in this chapter. Here is one paragraph that I had to underline twice.

pg 110
"Yet, while caring for the poor is not the basis of our salvation, this does not mean that our use of wealth is totally disconnected from our salvation. Indeed caring for the poor (among other things) is evidence of our salvation. The faith in Christ that saves us from our sins involves an internal transformation that has external implications. According to Jesus, you can tell someone is a follower of Christ by the fruit of his or her life, and the writers of the New Testament show us that the fruit of faith in Christ involves material concern for the poor. Caring for the poor is one natural overflow and a necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts. If there is no sign of caring for the poor in our lives, then there is reason to at least question whether Christ is in our hearts."

Where is our allegience? Is it to our net worth and jingling coins? Is it to the shiny oversized stuff in our homes? Do we really care more about hi-def than we do about the starving man, woman, and child who will die in the middle of the night because they couldn't find the scraps a few thousand miles away in our garbage cans? The amount of food in my fridge over the next month that will go bad could have saved at least 1 life. There are people in 3rd world nations today dying of thirst who would proudly drink the clean water out of our toilets, but instead will cup sewage into their dirty hands and sip it, and share it with their babies. Many of them will die from the toxins, but they will drink it anyway because they are so thirsty.

Poverty is not okay. We all need to do more than what we are currently doing. There is really no excuse. There is nothing you or I need today that is worth more than feeding the hungry. Nothing. And we can trust Jesus with this. The question is, can He trust us with this?

David Platt boldly suggests that the way we spend our money is a "barometer of our present spiritual condition".

I think the reality is this, American Christians have a tendency to ignore what scriptures say about money, about feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and about serving orphans and widows. In other words, we are uncomfortable with the truth and so we only hold on to the bits and pieces of it that we can comfortably live with. Until we embrace the truth of scriptures, the whole 9 yards of it...we're just living on a condensed version void of the Living Waters.

John 7:38 "Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Go read more at Marla's site, the host of the book study!


Marla Taviano said...

Oh my, Melissa. This part really got me--"Until we embrace the truth of scriptures, the whole 9 yards of it...we're just living on a condensed version void of the Living Waters."

God, please help me to embrace ALL of your truth. Including the hundreds and hundreds of verses that tell me what you want me to do for the least of these.

Thank you, Melissa!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Truly compelling post..thanks for sharing your heart!

Tracy said...

LOVE you so much my friend! This is so true-- I'm forever trying to remind myself to not make Jesus who I'd like Him to be--- poverty, orphans, sickness, gross excess--- SO not OK with HIM!! It is totally by His grace that He has me where I am now-- no other place I'd rather be! Keep on writing!

alittlebitograce said...

my heart breaks for those who have so little food that they eat garbage or dirt. meanwhile my children are so well fed that they refuse to eat because they don't think they'll like it. not only am i looking for my compassion, i'm also searching for our gratitude. we have so much, and yet are so thankless.

sorry, that was slightly off-topic, but i liked your post. :)

Yvette Ahlstrom said...