I am struggling with our abundant American life. And my abundant American sense of entitlement. My lack of care for what goes on in the rest of the world and instead I complain about not getting enough sleep or that my three healthy, smiling, living and breathing boys are too rambunctious for my mood at the moment. Meanwhile for so many around the world sleepless night are every night, and those little ones fear for their lives. And so often lose them.
It is a privilege for me to even sit here and write out my thoughts while my kids watch a video.
I struggle with seeing gigantic church buildings with ministries of every shape and size for every possible stage of your life. Fancy video screens and sound systems. Incredible kid rooms that look like some amusement park we should be paying to enter into. Do we really need all this? Is this really want Jesus would have us do?
I feel like I should bite my tongue…like I’m going to say something offensive. Because, well…I know it’s not wrong to make things beautiful, or fun for the kids, whatever. But…to what extent? Yeah, it’s really awesome when your toddler room looks like you’re walking through the jungle and can then climb aboard your very own Noah’s ark. Seriously, it IS really cool. But meanwhile there are kids that have nothing. No toys, no shoes, no toilet, no food. Let alone their own ark.
I’m NOT saying that we shouldn’t enjoy God’s blessings. He does give wealth. And are we using it properly? Do we spend it on the RIGHT things?
I’ve been working my way through a book called Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship by Craig L. Blomberg. This book has been very helpful and also quite challenging regarding this issue. In it he quotes Scott Todd:
“As we consider our multi-million-dollar church buildings, media systems, and the debt with which they are financed, we must ask whom they are designed to serve. We have preoccupied the passions of the Bride of Christ in America by transfusing her holy blood with our culture’s blood of amusement and consumerism.”
My husband has also been reading David Platt’s book titled Radical:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and I can already see how the Lord is using it to change his heart.
I honestly don’t know the balance, myself. I struggle with having our own home in a beautiful town and a nice van to drive my kids around in. I can chose to spend money on organic food and crafty décor for the holidays. Where’s the balance? We are living in this abundance. I am not innocent of wasting money. But lately I feel like our eyes have been opened wider. The image ahead is not totally clear, but He’s adjusting our sight.
Zion & Babylon (lyrics below)
Oh great mammon of form and function
Careless consumerist consumption
Described as expensive taste
I’m a people disgraced
By what I claim I need
And what I want to waste
I take no account for nothing
If it’s not mine
It’s a misappropriation of funds
Protect my ninety percent with my guns
Whose side am I on?
Well who’s winning?
My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves
Orphans, widows, and homeless graves
I sold their souls just to build my private mansion
Some people say that my time is coming
Kingdom come is the justice running
Down, down, down on me
I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son
I refuse to give my love to anyone,
Fight for the truth,
Or help the weaker ones
Because I love my Babylon
I am a slave, I was never free
I betrayed you for blood money
Oh I bought the world, all is vanity
Oh my Lord I’m your enemy
Come to me, and find your life
Children sing, Zion’s in sight
I said don’t trade your name for a serial number
Priceless lives were born from under graves
Where I found you
Say, my name ain’t yours and yours is not mine
Mine is the Lord, and yours is my child
That’s how it’s always been
Time to make a change
Leave your home
Give to the poor all that you own
Lose your life, so that you could find it
First will be last when the true world comes
Livin’ like a humble fool to overcome
The upside-down wisdom
Of a dying world
Zion’s not built with hands
And in this place God will dwell with man
Sick be healed and cripples stand
My kingdom’s built with the blood of my son
Selfless sacrifice for everyone
Faith, hope, love, and harmony
I said let this world know me by your love
By your love
Oh my child, daughters and sons
I made you in love to overcome
Free as a bird, my flowers in the sun
On your way to Mount Zion
All you slaves, be set free
Come on out child and come on home to me
We will dance, we will rejoice
If you can hear me then follow my voice
There are still tickets to see Josh Garrels in Wheaton, IL this October! Visit http://joshgarrels.com/