Friday, March 12, 2010

Radical Living

Lately I’ve been called passionate and radical. I can’t even begin to explain how universally ironic it is to imagine that I am radical. Honestly, I almost want to weep at that thought. If I am radical, then this world is in serious trouble. It is. That’s not some overly dramatic response, its truth. To have a deep passion is one thing but to actually do something, to get up and move, is another. Taking a trip once a year to give a hand to those in need, if that is all that I have done, is not radical. It’s actually pathetic. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a hero. I just see a girl, but she is a willing girl. A girl who has been, who has seen, and who can not ignore even when, confession here, she would often times like to.
I also see a redeemed girl. A girl so humbly aware of the pit she used to be in and what God has done in her life, she is driven to sharing it with others. And I do see a girl who by God, and God alone, has a passion to serve His people. Not just the people in her church where there is comfort and ease. Not just the people in and around her city, who by all worldly standards are in fact wealthy, but also the other half of the world. I say also here because we are called to serve in our local church and in our community. But in addition to serving in and around where you live, there’s an entire other half of human population we would like to pretend does not exist because we don’t have to see it; it’s not in our face convicting us on a daily basis. We pretend it does not exist because if we really opened our eyes to the desperation in the world then we would have to do something about it. We would have to step out of our comfort zone, lest we be so bold as to look God in the eye and say “that is not my calling.”
It’s not a special calling, it is a commandment. It’s not a gift that God chose only a select few to give. He wills us to look to the ends of the earth and see the plight of His children, realize how blessed we are, get up, and do something about it.
Why does it take a picture of a child with swarming flies in their eyes, swollen belly or a bone-thin skeleton to ignite in us a sense of duty. Should it be a duty to feed our brothers and sisters? We are Christians, before anyone else it is our job. It is the call of the church to serve those in need because it was the call of Christ. Jesus says: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound..” Isaiah 61:1 Time and time again He stretched out His hand to the poor, the sick and the broken. If the Bible commands us to be like Him, and it does, then caring for His people is part of the package. None are exempt.
I am not proposing that we feel a sense of guilt about the gifts and blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Guilt is not a motivation for anything Godly. We can not help where we were born, what we have, or the blessings He has given us. Life is a gift that God intended for us to enjoy and fully. But we should remember that the cross comes with an extreme cost. And if we were really honest with ourselves, I included, we don’t want to be uncomfortable. So instead we blow it off; children starving, dying, desperate for someone to call mom and dad, desperate even for just a hug, children being sold into sex slavery, under the guise of “not being called.” We can not enjoy the things that we have been blessed with while turning a blind eye to the ones that Jesus called us to care for. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27
Maybe you truly do not feel particularly called to go to the nations and feed, clothe, love and preach the Word. But you can send someone; you can financially back those efforts. You can feed from a distance. There are a number of ways that you can join hands with others to make a difference. John Piper said there are three types of people, the goers, the senders and the disobedient. The question is which one are you?
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come for you. John 14:18

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