Friday, October 13, 2006

A Pause for a Question

I thought that I was going to write this post on the Second Commandment, but that will have to wait until next time. Right now I would like to say something about a question that I have been asking myself recently. The question is this: "What am I doing?" And here's the background. I am in an accountability group with Jesse and Eron and a while back we were talking about George Muller. If you are not familiar with Muller then you need to become so as soon as possible. It will be enough for now to say that he was a great man of prayer and faith. We were on the subject of living by faith and Eron said something along the lines of, "If Kari (his wife) and I decided to sell everything we own and live our entire lives on nothing but the promises of God to meet all of our needs while giving ourselves completely to the furthering of His Kingdom, we would be okay. God would take care of us." Now, the three of us agreed that this does take a special calling to live this way, but there is still an alluring quality about it isn't there? What if Amber and I just quit our jobs and devoted ourselves to full-time ministry and sacrificing our lives and our comforts for Christ? We would be okay. We know this, and yet, I can't help but think that we're not going to do this. Is that bad? I'm not sure right now.

Two more things...

Eron, Blake, and I have the same Hermeneutics class and before class started last Monday Eron was talking about the new Passion DVD and John Piper's sermon. One of Piper's themes was 1 Cor. 15:19 which reads, "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." Why did Paul say this? Because if Christianity turns out not to be true then they gave their lives for nothing. Paul and others at that time (and since then) gave up everything for Christ... EVERYTHING. They risked their lives and even gave their lives because they were convinced that Heaven was better than earth. Therefore, they deserve to be pitied if Christianity is not true. But what about me? What about us? If in this life only we have hoped in Christ would we deserve to be pitied? Ashamedly, I know that I would not. Here in America we have become so comfortable. We have designer clothing, cool music, nice cars, etc... Being a Christian costs us nothing. Therefore, if Christianity turns out not to be true, then we're still good. We don't deserve to be pitied because Christianity was "good" for us here. We have all of the comfort that the world has and more in many cases. I detest American Christianity for this and yet right now I feel like I am its "poster boy". What am I doing?

The other thing is a story I heard once about two female American Christian missionaries that had a chance to speak with a couple of Christian women in India. During their conversation one of the Indians asked the Americans if they had ever lost their job for being a Christian. "No," replied the Americans, "we have never lost our job for being a Christian." "Have you ever had rocks thrown at you because of your faith?" asked the other Indian Christian. "No," replied the Americans, "we have never had rocks thrown at us because of our faith." "Have you ever been burned for being a Christian?" asked the Indian Christian, who had obvious burn marks all over her arms. "Of course not," said the Americans in almost disbelief, "we have never been burned for our faith. You see, in America we have laws that protect us from those types of things." After a short silence one of the Indian Christians asked the Americans, "Then how do you know what it means to be a Christian if it costs you nothing?" What am I doing?

One other thing actually... Eron told me that in Chapel on Tuesday Mohler posed the question, "Do we really believe that Heaven is better than earth?" All of these things have been going through my mind recently (this week actually) and I really feel somewhat burdened by this. You see, there is a family that lives right next to Amber and I (about three feet from our door to be precise) and they are lost. Now, we have bought them a gift basket and given them a New Testament and a couple of tracts, but what if we did more. We could sell our television, surround sound, DVD player, and stereo and give that money to this family to share the gospel with them and to help them see just a little glimmer of the amazing love found in Christ... but we probably won't. I could sell my truck (I have a bike to ride) and use that money to minister to the lost and hurting in this community, to the widows and orphans, to further the advancement of the gospel in world missions... but I probably won't. So what am I doing? Do I really believe that Heaven is better than earth because it sure seems like I am trying to be as comfortable as possible here, in this world that is supposed to be a foreign land to me. This is not supposed to be my home and yet, I feel very much at home. Why? You know what the crazy thing is? I fully understand that doing these things would not only glorify God, but it would be one of the greatest blessings that I would ever receive. It would strengthen my faith and my wife's faith, and I believe it would usher in a sense of nearness to God that I know I will never experience apart from living in this sacrificial way. That's the crazy thing about it... I know this! So what am I doing? It makes me wonder how long I am going to be satisfied with all of my "stuff"; with all of my comfort. I desire to live this way, and yet I don't. "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing... Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7:15, 19, 24-25). It is times like this that I really appreciate the patience of the Lord. Pray for me. You may be living in a way that proves you believe that Heaven really is better than this place. I thank you for that, but pray for all of us who are poster boys and girls for American Christianity. May we grow tired of trying to hold on to all of this sand.


Eron said...

Anonymous says:

Some good thougths, my friend.

Who is the Eron character you continue to speak of who has all of these "questions" and "thoughts." He sounds like a heretic to me. Watch you step, my son, watch your step.

Oh, and "eron" in Greek means "anonymous." Some coincidences in life are just cool, huh?


chance n said...

eron is a heretic; but, he's also a mentor to me. wait, that means i'm probably a heretic...

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