It has been a while since I wrote here. Life has been hectic. Despite being immensely blessed, I have felt immensely overwhelmed instead. As I have struggled with my own circumstances and emotions, I have constantly been delving deeper into the bigger picture. If only mentally, I have been around the world this year, struggling with unanswered questions.
All of these thoughts have expanded onto a bigger scale as the realization that we live in sad times is not going to change. This time of year, I always become disheartened by the commercialism and excess I see everywhere. I have found some relief as I have seen more and more friends at least talking about celebrating Jesus' birth in a fashion actually worthy of our Savior.
Ryan and I have never gone crazy at Christmas, but that is not to say we have done the holiday justice either. I have been confronted with that reality this year as I see American citizens protesting Wall Street and our government going further into debt because it's trying to be everything to everyone.
We are an average family living on a single income in the Midwest. I have stayed home since our first child was born in June 2006, and we have never struggled to make ends meet because we have made a real effort to live within our means. In Winfield, it was easy enough to look around and see countless families struggling to feed or diaper their children. In a global perspective, it is almost unbearable to see how so many live.
I do not want to be the type of "christian" who does not look and act like Christ, but my entire life I have done a darn good job of it. My actions never synced up with my words or even my heart, and this year, right now, that is going to change. Christ will be exemplified in my actions and love for other people so that they may know His goodness and name. I will not look over a $40,000 budget and act like there is not enough money to give more than 10% to my church.
In Franis Chan's book Crazy Love, we are reminded of Jesus' words in Matthew 22:39 to "love our neighbor as yourself." Chan meditated on those words, and it made him wonder what that would look like. His answer? Only keeping 50% of his church's budget the following year and making a commitment to give away the other 50%! His reasoning? If I love them as much as I love me, then why am I not giving to them as much as I am keeping for myself?
It left me thinking about my 10% which over the last decade has been habitual, not even close to sacrificial. I keep going back to Luke 12:48 where Jesus is quoted saying, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from
him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." Um, that is me, and more than likely that is you too.
Join me in making the decision to serve others as much as myself.