After being greatly challenged by The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, I passed it down to Joshua to read. I loved his summary: "Basically this book is about how we are not really entitled to anything, but that God has entrusted us with everything that we have. The question for us is: what are we going to do with what He has entrusted us with?"
Over the past several years, God has been developing within our family a growing heart for the poor. The past few weeks, we've been listening to a series of messages from David Platt in Birmingham called "Radical." And today, I read the book he wrote by the same name. Similar ideas and life applications as The Hole in our Gospel and just as challenging!
God has been speaking to me and softening my heart through these books, messages and the verses they are based on. Now, instead of resisting the idea of our moving into a relatively poor part of the city of Lanzhou, I am feeling excited about what God has in store for us through our new housing environment. I had been feeling "entitled to" a more comfortable apartment and grudingly asking God, "So just how poor do you want us to live?"
As we are in the process of sorting through what feels like mountains of accumulated stuff in our apartment and filling up boxes to give away, it feels freeing. This morning, CJ (the driving force behind all of our sorting) said, "I just love getting rid of all this stuff!" I am thankful for his motivation and that his attitude has rubbed off on all of us.
We started reading through Matthew this week, and the verse "Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8) keeps ringing through my mind. In reality, much of our stuff has been given to us. And now we can pass on what we no longer need. Truly, everything we have is a gift from Him.
Not focusing on what we think God "owes us" but on how He might use what we have produces a feeling of gratitude to replace the feeling of discontent. We have been realizing more and more how much we have been blessed and what a privilege it is to be a blessing to others.
Just like Abraham, we are "blessed to be a blessing." (Genesis 12:2)