Friday, June 7, 2013

On Why I am Rich [and What it Means for India]

I have these three kids fifty hours a week and I drive the fancy country-club car, pull up to that big ole' house beyond the gate and have money thrown my every direction for the sake of entertainment. The countless activities and new shoes and camps and often bi-weekly lunches at Chickfila. Sometimes I leave the sunglasses on even as it begins to sink behind the hills as I drive southbound in my twenty year old set a wheels.

I pull up to my little brick house and Toby [my car] squeals [quite loudly] to a stop, I lift up the shades to see a different reality. Mine. At 6pm my little dream world pauses as dinner, dishes, studying, cleaning and bills take over again. Stress always brings out the ugly. And money, well I never feel like there's enough.

I grew up with little but mom always hid the lesser reality behind gifts wrapped in bows and a purple couch centered on the living room wall. My dad always owed her ( money and some of it will never be seen. It was his job to protect and provide, neither of which he could offer. So I think at some point in teenagerdom when I walked to my first job at the ice cream store up the road while my friends hung out at the pool and went shopping at the mall, well that's about when the purple accessories began to give way to white walls and that stupid purple couch started looking pretty hollow. 

I felt entitled to more. I wanted to have it easier and I darn well deserved it, after all it wasn't as though I ever had the option of chosing that dead-beat dad or credit-card enslaved mom. I excelled in school and played hard in sports and bought my first car and have school debt and it just isn't fair. Mom taught me money meant happiness and peace, and without it, well, what a miserable life?

In recent years, by unfathomable grace alone, Christ has supplied eternal joy beyond the temporal happiness and the peace in the midst of trial and fear which transcends. I know where my riches are being stored up and yet this generational curse seeps deep. I want my store visible on earth too, most days. And I guess I still consider myself poor in the day to day, maybe even the victim?

But the ugly truth rears it's head in my textbook this week:  "On the basis of global comparisons, it might be argued that very few people in North America are poor in absolute terms--it is the relative deprivation that is morally and socially degrading." Last night I read that in India, 76% of the population lives on $2.00 a day. That's not even enough to cover a single ice cream. Something of which I have been eating several times a week , at least. [The poverty line in the US is over $30 a day for perspective, a fortune for most of the world.]

And then the holy spirit prompts:  How much of your money is going to further my Kingdom and how much is going to further your own?

I know it's all groaning and I hear it louder these days. I joke more about seeing flames and Christ all at once and the accessories in my house probably won't matter so much on that day.

I'm leaving for India in four weeks and the two dollars a day will be over-whleming. For a while. And then I'll be back in this house with these clothes and this stuff. I might sell half of it within that first week or two. And before the year's up I'll have gained it all back and then some. It's sin in my heart when I feel like I need it, when it continually furthers this kingdom of self.

I think it's more common then we admit, at least it is for me. I returned the rug and hid the credit card for a season. We have a house warming party in a week and I wish I were more excited about the gospel pouring forth. But all I can think of is that darn rug that's missing and the thrift store that has taken up residence in my living room. God is allowing me to wrestle for His glory.

And that's where I'm feeling the accuser of guilt and condemnation. But the Truth is, there's none of that in Christ. So rather then feeling worldly sorrow over the furtherance of our own kingdom, it's time we set our eyes on His Kingdom and soon enough, I think our money will follow. 

From a bible standpoint, it's virtually impossible to remember God and forget the poor. It's not about feeling guilty, though. It's about giving. It's that we have and someone else needs. It's about humbling ourselves as Christ. 

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Duet. 15:11

We see as well, from Mark's words that the poor had always been among them just as they will always be among us. And in this case, their situation was dire enough for Paul to spread the word all over the growing Christian world that the believers in Jerusalem needed help. And they gave the help!

"If scarcity of goods inherently improves ones spirituality, no biblical text would ever command us to help the poor." -Beth Moore

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. -James 1

According to Moore, "James called both extremes to take stock of what they had coming. Interestingly, one is in the long-term and the other in the short. He called the poor to look BEYOND this life toward their ultimate position in Christ. He called the rich to look TOWARD the end of this life and the futility of earthly riches."

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.    -Prov. 31:8-9

It's my job to defend and provide for the poor, and I am grateful to be sent to India. I'm grateful to flesh it out on American soil too. As much as I am to speak gospel and this is an imperative part of living it, because I am the rich one being sanded away by this house and car and silly rug as I'm yanked through that needle head with a sinful heart cleansed white and check book being scribed out to Kingdom come.

It's fading, right? Just in front of these eyes. It's all fading fast as that rug on my kitchen floor. 

And He is coming. Hallelujah! 


  1. 1) love love your writing style and your blog 2) my car is named toby..toby the taurus.. how fun is that. 3) wow.. going to India will change you forever. I lived in nepal as a full time missionary for two years.. i am forever changed.. i just love the honesty in this post and the promptings from the Holy Spirit to me also

  2. I love your writing as a whole! It is very good, loved your description! I will definitely going to pray you my friend!!! :) Keep us posted about your trip to India! God sure loves you! Love you!