I had to smile as I was reading some more of Radical tonight after the girlies were in bed. I ended yesterday’s post with, “God, just tell me what to do.” And on page 160, David Platt writes, “With 1.4 million Bedouins in Algeria who have never even heard the gospel, it makes little sense for us to sit over here asking, ‘What do you want me to do, God?‘”
He goes on. “The answer is clear. The will of God is for you and me to give our lives urgently and recklessly to making the gospel and the glory of God known among all peoples, particularly those who have never even heard of Jesus.”
He says it’s not a matter of finding God’s will but obeying it.
“Will we sit back and wait for some tingly feeling to go down our spines before we rise up and do what we have already been commanded to do? Will we risk everything–our comfort, our possessions, our safety, our security, our very lives–to make the gospel known among unreached people? Such rising up and such risk taking are the unavoidable results of a life that is radically abandoned to Jesus.”
And at the very real risk of coming across as a prideful do-gooder, I’m going to share what I’ve decided to do. They’re baby steps really, but they’re steps, and I think that’s the important thing. Moving. Forward. And really, truly, I’m only sharing this to give some tangibility to this abstract talk of radical abandonment and spine-tingling surrender. And it’s honestly not even very radical. Yet.
We don’t have a penny in any kind of savings account or retirement funds, and Gabe’s paychecks go toward our bills and very few frills, so we don’t have much to give in the way of money right now.
But we do have stuff. LOTS OF STUFF.
I’ve been combing (wading, plowing) through our entire house and getting rid of stuff we don’t need (but that others might). I’ve always thought of myself as pretty clutter-free (ever since my dad took a rake to my bedroom floor when I was 10). Seems I’ve been deceiving myself.
The first load of crap? Went to a friend’s garage sale back in July to help raise money for him to go to Cambodia. This past weekend, I put lots of stuff out on the curb where it was immediately snatched up and hopefully blesses the people who took it (instead of enabling their hoarding issues). Today the Kidney Foundation picked up a TON of stuff for our local thrift store which provides jobs and cheap clothing/household stuff to people in need (and me).
So none of that really hurt very much.
I took some nicer stuff to Half Price Books and Once Upon a Child and got $23 which is now in an envelope marked Mission: Cambodia. A few (many) thousand more dollars, and we can go back. All five of us this time.
My sister Bethany (whose husband Stew is a youth pastor) helped inspire the kids in their youth group to give more. Here’s part of the comment she left on yesterday’s post:
After going through “Crazy Love” for a few months on Wednesday nights at youth group and then going on our missions trip to Jackson, KY (the poorest region in the U.S.) and studying the dozens of passages in Scripture that talk about God’s love for the poor and our responsibility to care for them, our teens have been challenged to put their knowledge of the Scriptures to action.
We were reading Luke 12:33-34 in Sunday school four days ago and this is what it said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So I asked a question because I want to start obeying the Scriptures instead of just nodding my head in agreement when I read them. I said, “How can I sell my possessions? Craigslist?” That got the teens to talking out loud and one of them shouted out, “We should have a yard sale!” So on Saturday August 21st, our youth group is going to have a Luke 12:33 Yard Sale and all our proceeds are going to our orphanage in Cambodia. They have room for 2 more orphans and even though they will need monthly support, we can at least get the ball rolling. The idea isn’t just to sell our ratty old things, but really think about what we NEED and what we could sell to give to the poor. I am SO EXCITED about what God is doing in the hearts of our teens (we just had a testimony time at youth group last night and they all shared so much and it was so encouraging!) and their enthusiasm to put what they’re learning into practice!
So my next big thing is to go back through the house and find really nice things that someone would really, really want (and pay more than 50 cents for) and donate them to the Luke 12:33 Yard Sale. I’ve already got a pile, and I can tell I’m supposed to put an item in when I hold it in my hand and feel a sick little twinge in my stomach but then a beautiful (and bigger) twinge in my heart when I think of TWO MORE CHILDREN in that orphanage.
I know this is repeat information for some of you, but our church’s orphanage and Bethany’s are right down the road from each other. Isn’t that crazy?! We didn’t even know it until they’d already been established. And I got to visit theirs while I was there. So awesome! And the thought of rescuing two more precious children and giving them a huge, built-in family with lots of love and food and JESUS! Well.
So, that’s where I’m starting. My goal is to give and sell until it really hurts. And I have a few other ideas up my sleeve as well. (In addition to our sweet Compassion daughter, Maria, we’re committing to give $25/month to these precious kiddos.)
I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any ideas of baby steps you can take to get started? Anything in your home you could sell and give the money to people in need? If you live close to me and have some really nice, valuable, awesome stuff I could give to Bethany’s youth group’s garage sale, I can promise you that your return on your investment will be EXPONENTIAL.
Tell me what you’re thinking. I’d love to know.