We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry,
naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared
for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy
this kind of poverty. -
I have been reading The Hole in our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. Picked it up having no idea it was another one of THOSE books. The kind of book I read and feel like I have been kicked in the stomach. A book that causes me to ask myself - what are WE doing in OUR family to impact the kingdom of God?
The kind of book which leaves me knowing we are not doing ENOUGH.
The last time it was Radical. It took me weeks to get through it. Nearly every page I had to stop and absorb what I had read. God was already working in my heart to prepare me for what we would embark on with Sveta's adoption. While reading Radical I realized the prosperity gospel is a big. fat. lie. And to buy into it is not what I want for our family or want my children to believe. It's not our money - it all comes from God.
We are not entitled but entrusted with it. God expects us to use it in the interest of His kingdom.
Reading a chapter in The Hole in our Gospel about wealth in America I was ashamed - "You're rich, we're rich, and the church in America is rich." I read that and thought "right." But then this - "If your income is 25,000 a year you are wealthier than 90 % of the world's population. Of the 6.7 billion people on earth, almost half of them live on less than two dollars a day. If you don't feel rich, its because you are comparing yourself to people who have more than you do - those living above the 99th percentile of global wealth."
And then...just about 2% of American churches money goes to overseas missions of any kind. What? Two percent? American Christian churches??
"To better understand the spiritual priorities of our churches - and ourselves - we have to do what any detective would do: "follow the money."
I know some amazing churches with incredible missions - local, US based and global. People being hands and feet of Jesus DIRECTLY to those in need. How on earth can those statistics be correct? Surely the church is doing more? Sadly, I have seen it with my own eyes - churches living within their own walls.
And I remembered Ukraine. We met an amazing group of Christian men and women who visit the orphanage every week to spend one on one time with the children. Do you know what they said when we asked "what do you think of Americans?"
They said with great respect and Christ's love "we believe Americans don't have any idea what the world is really like, what reality is for the rest of the world"
And during the month we spent there I learned they are correct.
For my family I know we have to do more. We are absolutely commanded to do more. God showed us clearly His heart for the orphan. Our daughter is an absolute joy and we are honored she is our little girl. She is wanted, loved, cared for. It would have been easy to come home and forget about what we saw in Ukraine. To go in with life. To forget that the average person there lives on $200 a MONTH. But God continues to pursue my heart, to reveal His character to me.
I don't know where God is leading our family but its a good place to be - hands lifted up saying "Show us, Send us, Use us" without conditions. I don't want to deceive myself into believing we have done "enough" or are supposed to be "called" instead of doing MORE and being COMMANDED to GO and DO. What the future holds, I don't know.
But I trust fully the one who knows all.
Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now. - Saint Teresa of Avila