It's been a while since I've written a Thursday Thought. So long, in fact, that I can't remember if it should be Thursday Thought or Thursday Truth...or Tuesday Thought or Tuesday Truth. Nevertheless, figured I'm over due.
A few months back, Justin and I (well, due to him being on night shift, mainly just I) started participating in a small group Bible study on Thursday night. After the first week, I was loving it and hadn't realized until that point how lacking I was for an in-depth study of God's Word. Our group kicked things off with a study based on the book "Radical" by David Platt. Coincidentally, I had already bought the book for my eReader without even knowing we would be doing the study.
In a nutshell: The book is based on the realization of in our quest for the 'American Dream,' we've taken the God of the Bible and made him into our very own middle-class American God, who is in fact nothing like the God of the Bible. At least that's my take on it (and not nearly adequate enough).
Week after week we've torn into this book and paralleled the teachings with what the Bible says...and it all lines up perfectly. Even for people like Justin and I who were raised in Christian homes, saved at early ages and literally grown up in church, the light it sheds on the Bible is completely different than anything we've ever been exposed to. It's the Word of God in it's rawest, purest form. This book has brought out the truth of the scriptures in ways I have been blinded to my entire life. The result is quite sobering as to where rolling along with the mindset of our culture has gotten us. So much more than one little blog post can do justice for.
Chapter 6 (where we studied tonight) is about essentially what we do for the poor; living open-handed or tight-fisted. We addressed a lot of subjects ranging from adoption to retirement and will be diving deeper in this same chapter next week...one that I'm really hoping my better half can make. The scripture excerpt is Matthew 25:31-45, where Jesus teaches about the Final Judgment. It's a powerful picture of the spirit of servanthood that Jesus had...one I'm striving for myself. Sadly, more often than not, in my process of serving others, I'm secretly wondering, "What's in it for me?" Truthfully, there should be nothing it in for me, because that would be only feeding the flesh I'm constantly battling to suppress as it is. We are challenged to see the face of Christ in every one, including those who aren't so easy to love, and to let that be the grid through which we serve the world.
So. *sigh* Hmm.
This is where I am right this minute... Feeling unbelievably burdened for the poor in my own backyard and across the world, but at the same time feeling unbelievably overwhelmed at where to begin. I guess the obvious first step is simply be obedient to the Word and live with open hands. My prayer at this point (which should have been done a long time ago) is to surrender what little I have -- time and money -- for the work of the Lord, and then to trust that He will use it as He sees fit. I have no doubt this is going to be a battle I'll wrestle with every day. I've been so caught up in materialism and pride and turned the focus in every aspect of life all about me, and what I need, and what I want, and what my family needs, and what my family wants, and look what I have done, and see what I am doing. It is some ugly stuff. But... How wonderful a God that He doesn't leave me in the pitiful place of complacency. Every day is a new chance and a fresh start.