Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Living in the Tension between poverty and wealth.. .agh

I struggle with my post from this morning. I think it's a "living in the tension" thing (yes, I know, I'm obsessed with Pastor Jon's axioms). I don't want to be a "you can't live in America" kind of person who just trashes this country and our money. . .or who doesn't see the needs of the Rich. Because I do. . I really do. I think some people are blessed financially to live in "that world" so as to be a light in a dark place. I think the person shopping at Tiffany's needs Jesus just as much as the little girl dying in Africa. But, I also know that I'll answer for how I spent HIS money. I know that something just seems wrong when (in Amy's words from her comment) "my children eat like royalty while theirs starve to death."

How do we find the balance? Maybe this struggle is the balance. Maybe it is in never being comfortable in this world. . .in longing for balance . . .in living an awareness. . .and asking the Lord each time. My problem is being ok with it when He does allow me to spend. When He says, "go out with your hubby and DON'T give him a dirty look when he orders an appetizer, salad and dessert". That's where I sometimes need balance too.

here's my thought from today. . while eating dinner~
Did our parents kind of mess us up with the rule /phrase, "eat everything on your plate because there are children dying in Africa" ? (my mom didn't actually have this rule, but many did and we were trying to enforce it with Brayden tonight)

I think it was intended to bring gratefulness for provision. . .but did it? Most of us ended with "so send it!" knowing that wasn't a possiblity.

So, could it have (in a subconcious way) pushed our nation to "consume everything in front of you"? That's basically what we told Brayden. Eat what's on your plate. Consume.

Well, we couldn't send our leftover mac n cheese to Africa. . .but we grew up to be consumers of everything in front of us.

now, the Lord is asking the same question of our money or time or talents or resources. Are you going to eat all of that?

because this time. . .

we can choose

to send it, give it, or use it.

“When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all
we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.”
(Bono)

13 comments:

Andrea said...

I LOVE your thoughts!

Jill said...

My prayers are with you.

Dearest Jessica said...

It brings us back to our own choices. Being wise and good stewards with what you have no matter if you can send it or not. Just consuming because it's there is not wise it's greed. It would be much easier to give what we have..but then it would not be sacrificial. A totally different lesson.

Living in the tension is not easy and the balance looks different for each of us..

four kids for us said...

This balance is so hard. I daily pray that God would open my eyes and help me to see what needs are true needs in my family and what are my wants I have turned into "needs". I want to bring awareness to my children's lives that we are so blessed but still provide a wonderful childhood without heaping guilt on them that we eat and have a warm home to live in. I tend to point out children in Africa when I hear complaining spirits in our home and my kids always offer to send them the food on their plates that they don't want! I want them to understand that we take only what we need but we don't need everything we see. While other children they go to school with may have more than they do, they still have so much more than children around the world. I want them to one day choose to be able "to send it, give it, or use it" as God wants them too.

Amber S, said...

Don't stop using Pastor Jon's phrases- I love them, and more so what they mean! Great insights, as always.

Angela said...

Oh, this is tough topic--but you handled with such greatness--

Thank you for putting into words the struggles I have in my own life!!

I really have to call out to God with this topic--I have found myself "angry" at the rich, even though I know that is not what God desires from me especially when I am just as guilty as not always choosing to "use" what I have as I should!!

Angela

Tanya Evans said...

I see every day parents giving their children more and more. Kids in my first grade class wear clothes that are more expensive than mine. These same parents want to know why their little darlings are spoiled brats by the time they are 10. I remember my parents gave me an allowance. It was the best way to show me how to manage my money. I think a lot of kids would know the difference between wants and needs better if they were given their own money to spend.
I think being a good steward is something we all struggle with. Not just with money, but with time, gifts, etc.

Kari said...

I love that you added this to your earlier post. I wanted to comment earlier but wasn't sure of the words to use. But I think that this post explains it all. It is so difficult to find balance. Our only answer is just constantly seeking God.

Jackie Sue said...

The interesting thing about the "kids are starving in Africa" line is that no one ever thought to do ANYTHING about it back then...it was just a fact...just look at all people are attempting to do now...the world has become so much smaller...now we can actually make choices that affect those starving children and send our resources to organizations that will feed them...now we can give things up for them and teach our children to do the same...not easy...but I wouldn't go back to ignorance for anything. :)

Valarie Daly said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Brandi! We live in a country where most of us have whatever we want whenever we want. I have struggled with balance in alot of areas in my life. It drives me crazy at how many "leftovers" I throw away. I am learning that my plate doesn't have to be overflowing to enjoy a meal :-)
I have heard different people that have money, lots and lots of money, that they don't even sleep at night because they worry about not having enough $$$ and that it might run out. Just think if they shared some of their wealth with the starving children in Africa, how much more wealthier they would be from the blessings of our loving savior. Usually they can't do that because they can't hold it in their hand or see it with their eyes! There are plenty of "wealthy" people that give to different organizations, but do they give to where it makes them uncomfortable??? Now as I write this, do I give to where I am uncomfortable???? Hmmmm? I know I don't!

Brittani said...

I don't think it is a matter of us getting the money OR Africa getting the money. I think it is about ONLY spending money on the things that God has given you peace (permission) to spending your money ON. That answer will be different for everyone. To tell your kids that they should finish their food b/c kids are starving in Africa doesn't make any sense. The two aren't even connected. Instead, tell your kids to finish their food b/c it is wasteful to leave it on your plate & that they should be thankful that they were given food to eat... at a separate time, tell them you want to help raise money for kids who AREN'T provided food to eat.

i LOVE your idealistic point of view on how the world should treat their finances & how they should treat other people. God placed people like you in this world for a very clear purpose... To open our eyes to how things COULD be. I am so thankful for you

Missy said...

Sarah and I both struggle with the part about accepting, what appear to be extravagances to us, as blessings from God without feeling guilty. We went out to dinner the other night to celebrate three January birthdays in our family and there were moments when I was just consumed with...guilt isn't the right word....it was more like a sadness...over the amount of money we were spending...

Misi said...

Great post and I agree that finding balance is what's important.
I personally am not going to feel bad and then deprive my children because I CAN provide them with things that other children don't have. However, I will (and am) teach them to be grateful and selfless. Again it's all about balance...