2002-08-31 - If.....
I have been trying to get some projects finished around the house -- painting and papering. I keep looking at things I would like to do and thinking "If I had the money, I would _____." Though I really enjoy bargain shopping and waiting for clearance sales, sometimes I just wish I could go get what I want and not worry about how much it costs, which is about the time I get a spiritual "wake-up" call.
I was reading, again, the book "Revolution in World Missions" by K. P. Yohannon. K.P. quotes economist Robert Heilbroner, in reference to what a typical American family would have to give up if he were living among the one billion hungry people in Third World countries.
"We begin by invading the house of our imaginary American family to strip it of its furniture. Everything goes: beds, chairs, tables, television sets, lamps. We will leave the family with a few old blankets, a kitchen table, a wooden chair. Along with the bureaus go the clothes. Each member of the family may keep in his 'wardrobe' his oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. We will permit a pair of shoes for the head of the family, but none for the wife or children.
"We move to the kitchen. The appliances have already been taken out, so we turn to the cupboards ... The box of matches may stay, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt. A few moldy potatoes, already in the garbage can, must be rescued, for they will provide much of tonight's meal. We will leave a handful of onions and a dish of dried beans. All the rest we take away: the meat, the fresh vegetables, the canned goods, the crackers, the candy.
"Now we have stripped the house: The bathroom has been dismantled, the running water shut off, the electric wires taken out. Next we take away the house. The family can move to the tool shed ....Communications must go next.
"No more newspapers, magazines, books--not that they are missed, since we must take away our family's literacy as well. Instead, in our shantytown we will allow one radio.
"Now government services must go next. No more postmen, no more firemen. There is a school, but it is three miles away and consists of two classrooms... There are, of course, no hospitals or doctors nearby. The nearest clinic is ten miles away and is tended by a midwife. It can be reached by a bicycle, provided the family has a bicycle, which is unlikely...
"Finally, there is money. We will allow our family a cash hoard of five dollars. This will prevent our breadwinner from experiencing the tragedy of an Iranian peasant who went blind because he could not raise the $3.94 which he mistakenly thought he needed in order to receive admission to a hospital where he could have been cured."
Sometimes I too get caught up in what the "world" has to offer, and I forget just how blessed I am, especially in the very simple things I take for granted each day. God is so faithful in His word to remind us that real "riches" have little to do with our "stuff."
I pray that God helps me to have a right perspective about things, and that He would keep my mind focused on Him.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
In His Service,