Tuesday, February 28, 2012
It is a scene forever etched in my mind. It haunts me. No matter how hard I try I cannot escape the sight. The scene is of a little orphan boy, bent down, and digging through the trash. He is dirty, not just playing in the sandbox dirty, but filthy. His clothing barely qualifies as sufficient covering and yet he is among the few that even have rags to drape over himself. He is dangerously skinny due to malnutrition. His body if filled with infected sores that remain unattended to. He is lonely, but cannot cry, his tears have basically dried up. When he did cry, no one came to his rescue anyway. So, he continues day after day, rummaging through trash looking for something that he can eat. At night he cuddles in a dark corner of lonesomeness, and there he goes to sleep. I cannot see his face. I only see the boy. His story one of multitudes.
I begin to wonder, “Why don’t somebody do something! Why does God not provide something for him?” Unfortunately, I bought into the lie of the American dream. My thought has always been that I am suppose to be successful, have a big house, drive nice cars, take regular vacations, maybe even have a vacation home, wear nice clothes, eat at nice restaurants, have huge, enormous flat screen televisions, iphones, ipads, and have lots of other super nice things. I could even be real spiritual about it and talk about how greatly God has blessed me with all my stuff. I could talk about how God has provided for me and how He desires for me to live a good life, which includes all my stuff. I could talk about how God had given me so much because He loves me so much. Surely, God wants me to have, have, have---you know---live the good life!
But, there he is bent down rummaging through the trash for something to eat. And there I am wondering why God doesn’t do something. Then it dawns on me that God has done something, and He has provided for him. God rescued, saved, redeemed the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to be His hands and feet in the world. God cares for the poor and needy and imprisoned and stranger and widow and orphan. His plan for caring for them is for His Church to be His ambassadors, to do His work in the world. God has provided for these dear people. The problem is, he has given the resources to me and to you. While we continue to drink $4.00 lattes and make sure we keep our hair or golf appointments, there he sits digging through that trash.
Then God does something amazing. He brings that little dirty, smelly, diseased, orphan boy into a more clear view. Its almost as if someone is pushing the zoom button on a video recorder or camera. The little boy is still rummaging. Then a voice calls out, “I love you, come to me, I am here for you!” A hand reaches out toward the little boy. Finally, he turns so that I can see his face. And I am floored. Its my face! I am the little boy! The voice calling me is the Good Shepherd! He takes my hand, cleans me up, dresses me, and calls me His! No longer an orphan am I. He tells me that He is my everything, not stuff. And He supplies me, not so that I can live the American dream, not so that I can have, have, have. Rather, He desires for me to give, give, give. He desires that I do unto others, as He has done unto me. And so, I begin to think what a difference God could make through me if I began planning to live on less. What if I did not need a newer car, but drive an older one? What if I did not need to take regular exotic vacations? What if I did not need to eat at nice restaurants regularly? What if I did not need all of those clothes? What if I did not need a larger television, or even one at all? What if I really began to live as one that God has blessed so that I can be a blessing to others in His name. What if I intentionally lived lower so that others could live. That is what He did for us, is it not? (2 Cor 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich), ESV.