FOR I WAS HUNGRY, WHILE YOU HAD ALL YOU NEEDED. I WAS THIRSTY, BUT YOU DRANK BOTTLED WATER. I WAS A STRANGER, AND YOU WANTED ME DEPORTED. I NEEDED CLOTHES, BUT YOU NEEDED MORE CLOTHES. I WAS SICK, AND YOU POINTED OUT THE BEHAVIORS THAT LED TO MY SICKNESS. I WAS IN PRISON, AND YOU SAID I WAS GETTING WHAT I DESERVED. -The Parable of the Sheep and Goats from The Hole in Our Gospel
The past week has been a whirlwind. People in Jackson, TN have been so kind and gracious and honoring to me. They planned a beautiful week of events that were sewn with love and honor. Sometimes it feels good to be honored honestly...after being hidden in the dirt, digging in and pulling children out of the trenches of warfare, sometimes feeling alone though always aware of the One who sees it all, my Father. I was thankful though for the thoughtfulness and thankfulness of a handful of people who went out of their way to serve and bless me. I certainly don't live for that or do what I do for that...but it is really nice sometimes to have it.
At the beginning of the week someone asked me if I struggle with judgement towards the people I'm around seeing all the wealth of the American lifestyle and the American dream, while I live with people who are dying in their daily poverty and despair. I gave the best answer I could and told him 'no God has really worked on my heart about that issue, and I have come to understand that wealth is a blessing and poverty is a curse but I used to really struggle with that'. But to be honest it really is a little tough for me to swallow. Not necessarily a judgement against those people...but how can such extremes exist among the body of Christ u know? One Christian I know has everything and MORE and MORE and MORE and another cannot afford to feed or house her children... Where is the love...
I don't have the answers. I don't know where the line is between wealth and poverty or where it should be. But I do know this. We should not sit in our extravagant lives while ignoring the needs of the world. We cannot turn a blind eye to those around us just because they live on another continent or another side of town. If we do, we are not followers of Christ. We are not Christians and its really UNFAIR to the God who shed His blood for us, who left His glory and wealth to be born into poverty and dirt for us, who lowered Himself to be dependent on a mother's care and milk, to learn a language, to become a helpless baby and gave up all He had for us to say...that we are like Him when we're not. I understand everyone is at different places in their walks with God. We all have our own struggles and issues, but the church needs to get real and wake up to the facts of the reality of a Suffering Jesus in disguise in this world. He says how we treat Him will in part determine our eternity. Not that salvation depends on works in anyway...but if we are saved we WILL feed the hungry, care for the orphan, and wash the feet of Suffering Jesus with our tears (Mttw 25) because the Spirit of the Living God will be dwelling in side of us, we will know His LOVE and be compelled by that LOVE to do so! (1 Jn 3:17) Not to mention that its a Biblical Mandate!
One of my biggest concerns these days is Mama Nalongo. She has five BEAUTIFUL precious little girls. We have sponsors for three of them. She wasn't able to feed her kids between the school terms so she sent them to a faaar away village where she knew they would be able to find gardens to eat from. Due to poverty, she placed them where they could eat but they were not in her protective care...because she had to continue working her job or she might lose it and had to keep paying the rent on their one small room where they all slept. Four year old Ruth and Seven year olds, Faith and Mercy, were all raped and infected with HIV while they were away. We immediately started food aid when we learned of their situation and got sponsors for 3 of the 5 daughters...the ones who were raped. They are now part of an HIV treatment program as well. BUT Mama Nalongo just learned that she is about to be evicted from her home. We dont really have the money to do it...but what do we do? Is it irresponsible of us not to help her find another place to live or irresponsible if we do? God must have mercy on this woman. We must have mercy on the Homeless Jesus inside of her.
There are so many people in the world opening their homes, laying down their lives, serving Jesus as they serve the least of these and to me IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL to see the bride of Christ adorned with kindness, clothed in compassion, sparkling with mercy, the jewels of heaven.
He is coming back for a spotless bride. I know He will settle for nothing less. Are you a sheep or a goat? I can only hope and pray I'll be counted among the sheep.