What if Jesus was serious when He said if you have two coats give to the one without? What if James was serious when he wrote true religion is looking after the widows and the orphans and keeping oneself from being polluted by the world? What if what Jesus said was true whatever we have done for the least of these we have done to Him? What if John was right when he said how can we say we love a God who we have never seen yet we hate our brother who we have seen?
I am going on the premise that this is true. That when one puts their faith in God, everything in life changes. That caring for the poor, needy, fatherless, and widows is not optional.
As Americans our culture is currently changing. 10% unemployment and probably closer to 17% under employed and those who have given up. What if America becomes the worlds 4 largest economy instead of the first? Those Christians who \ think this may happen also think that will bring the second coming. What if the American economy continues to falter and God doesn't come back? Will this end our faith? What exactly is our faith in?
As I have been with only a part time job for a couple of months, I have applied at many othersand have been turned down. There are a couple of ways of looking at this problem.
1.Logically- 10% of the country is looking for these same jobs and I have heard of over 300 applying for the same jobs I am applying at. I have had interviews where I am more qualified than the person giving the interviews. Many of the entry level jobs I have applied for are looking for fresh out of high school people. Someone they can boss around and not worry about. A friend of mine who is in the same boat dumbed down his resume and got a job.
2. The God factor- My wife and I can live on the amount of money we are currently making. Our outgo is very low. We have used our money wisely over the course of our marriage and the only bill we have is our mortgage. We don't like to live frugually or deprive ourselves of American pleasures but there is no reason why we can't live. Our house is not going to go into forclosure now or anytime soon. We have two running cars that are paid for. We have a savings.
Yet there is this tug and pull that money is going to be needed. We want to continue to build for retirement, continue to put money away for savings and feel safe. There is nothing wrong with these thought but us Americans worship this. for some reason we don't think when Jesus was speaking to the rich young ruler or the rich he was talking to us.
I have struggled and will continue to struggle seeing others make more money than I and move up the Christian and the corporate ladder. I am sure they are doing what God wants them to do and that is great.
Unfortunately I personally feel convicted. I feel that I do not live the sacrificial life that God asks of me. I personally believe that the time and effort I have spent recently in obeying God is worth ten times more than if I have to sacrifice cable tv or whatever.
I know our family could live on a whole lot less. We don't want to and Iam still feeling convicted about it.
There is freedom in God leading us here. This is not legalism or something I feel that is burden it is a freedom to realize I am not on this earth to make every last penny I can. Of course there is a balance but if I am to take Jesus at his words. he is a lot more concerned about me following him than making a nice, same decent living.
I was talking yesterday about a conversation Jesus had with his disciples paraphrased:
Disciples: yes we want to follow you.
Jesus: are you really sure?
Disciples: of course we are sure.
Jesus: Think about it for a second, I don't even have a pillow to lay my head down on.
Why don't we think this applies to us?
Instead of two coats and giving one away to someone who need it? Why do we think this doesn't apply to our cars.
I would love to think that the American dream/ladder is parrallel to Jesus' teaching and His ways.
Unfortunately I think they run perpendicular many times.
I wish I could live the American dream but unfortunately I am feeling pretty convinced tht Jesus was talking to me when he was talking to the rich.
Two great books are
Francis Chan's: Crazy Love
Shane Claiborne: Irresistible Revolution