God Wants You to Be Pourer

8:34 AMHeather

Here are the puzzle pieces.  Piece #1: My hubs and I completed David Platt's Radical Bible study with our life group last fall.  If you haven't read it, let me just tell you that it lives up to it's name.  Because that is some counter cultural thinking and teaching.  And what makes it even more radical is that it's also counter cultural to the general attitude of American Christian churches.  It pretty well smacks you in the face about what God counts as "true religion"--caring for the poor and needy.  Not building big pretty churches with the most comfortable pews.

Piece #2:  I've become a 7'er, as you know if you've read here for a day or a month.   Sorta hard to ignore the excess and abundance I enjoy in contrast to the flat out dire poverty much of the world faces.  Again, the statistic that half of the world's population lives on $2 a day or less.  There's human trafficking, slave labor, the sex trade, homelessness, hunger, orphans, and on and on.  Listen here.  We complain about the most ridiculous things.  And they seem like real problems until we see the lunacy of our whining when our eyes are opened to true need. 

Piece #3:  Ann Voskamp is jumping on this darn "unravel me" bandwagon with her blog yesterday.  Thanks, Ann.  You and David Platt and Jen Hatmaker are all part of a vast right wing conspiracy, I know.  I'm on to you.  I can run but apparently I cannot hide.  I cannot bury my head in my closet full of clothes and overflowing pantry and pretty house and beautiful blessings in an attempt to block out the true suffering in the world.  Because it's there.  And although the AIDS orphans in Malawi and the tent city dwellers of Haiti can't come knocking on my door, their stories have.  All thanks to that conspiracy.  

So, I feel as though the outline of this puzzle, the edges, are beginning to come together.  I'm not sure what comes in the middle--where I fit myself and my resources and my time and my money into the big picture.  But, I think if I'm willing to look at the edges more closely, it will become more clear.  In the mean time, I must deal with myself about this.  Or rather, allow God to deal with me.

It must be His work and not mine.  Because here's where I'm living on the subject of world suffering.  I was driving my paid off minivan with automatic sliding doors around the corner to a friend's house the other day.  You know--she lives about a half-mile away but it's just TOO. FAR. TO. WALK.  (meanwhile, women in some countries walk ten miles a day to fetch unclean water).  And, I felt gross.  Just sorta repulsed by own gluttony.  And excess.  And how I package up my wants by calling them needs.  Oh, how I need that cute Nike windbreaker work-out jacket since I've decided to run a 5K.  I just NEED it.  Cause it might be windy, ya know.  I sorta had an out-of-body experience and I saw myself and all my blessings and abundance.  And I just felt nasty with the guilt of it all.  Oh my goodness.  This is awful.  I have too much.  While others have great need.  And, surely, surely, being spiritual and righteous must mean I have to sell all I own and live on the streets.   

Surely, God wants me to be poor.  Blessed are the poor and all.  

Right?

Um.  NO.  I think that's a big resounding NO.   God says blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).  NOT blessed are the poor.  Poor in spirit means lacking in my soul.  Acknowledging my need and dependence where He needs to fill in the gaps.  Not lacking in material goods.

Nope.  I feel a gentle nudge as God whispers to me that obedience isn't emptying my bank account of all resources or my home of all possessions.  Indeed, I am to learn to hold these things more loosely.  That my grip would be tighter on Him.  But God does not intend for me to feel guilty for all I have.  

God wants me to see what I have for what it is--a blessing.  He's not trying to make me poor.  He's wanting me to be pourer.  As in, a pourer of my resources to those in need.  As in pouring out my time, money, and talents for those who can benefit.  As in pouring myself out to others as a sacrifice.  As in pouring out my blessings in order to bless others.  

Indeed.  God isn't telling me I must be poor.  He's shouting that there are the poor and what the heck am I going to do about it?  Because I do have a responsibility here.  If I am going to attach myself to His name than I must learn to have His heart.  And we can clearly see in Scripture that God has great compassion for those in need.  Those who are poor in hope.  Lacking in food and water.  Needing for the love and comfort of those willing to reach into their darkness.  

And it might be the widow or orphan in a distant land.  

Or it might be the despairing lady down the street who just lost her husband.  Or the acquaintance battling depression.  Or the friend at church that hides behind a smile while her life falls apart.  

I'm not sure just yet where my "place" is, where my specific next mission will be to channel all that God is showing me.  It's sorta driving me crazy to question and ask Him where to direct these epiphanies in order to put them into action.

But, if I've learned anything during my years as a Christ follower, I know this to be true.  When we hear God, when we see Him moving, when He reaches into our lives to intersect them with His heart and His call--He will faithfully point the way.  If He's messing with me, it's because He has a plan for me.  Not for poverty necessarily.  But that I might become pourer.  And thus, become richer than ever.         

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