Thursday, March 27, 2014

White Suburbia, Middle Class Jesus

I often find myself betwixt emotions when it comes to figuring out our responsibility to serving when we live in such a rich and wasteful country. I love love love where we live and am so grateful for clean air, endless amounts of fresh food, and my religious freedoms. But I have traveled to numerous 3rd world countries and it is actually challenging to sleep when you've been up thinking about the lack of food and shelter that many people are receiving at that very moment. For a while I used to block those thoughts and I would just tell myself that "I didn't even want to think about others over 'there'". It was just too painful and it might mean that I have to DO something about those feelings. What to do when it all feels so helpless!?? How can 1 person help? How can 1 family make a difference? Sometimes I also find myself trapped in the myth that I must sell all my crap and move to downtown Phoenix and live/serve in the projects so that we can truly live a holy, God-Centered life. That's a pack of lies! So what's the answer? Just live where I live and soak it up and absorb all the materials and food and culture that I can and ignore my heart? Well, I have come to a place of peace for our family.

This is what we do. We realize that everyone needs Jesus, not just kids in Africa, homeless in Phoenix and we were born in wealthy America. Middle class, blue- collar, wealthy people.........they all need the Gospel. What can we do where we are? We can reach out to our middle class friends and offer support when her husband loses his job. We can offer support to the stranger in the grocery store that needs help. We can volunteer to help the 'Invisible' people in America. What? Yes, we can help those people who are sometimes overlooked: elderly, homeless, and handicapped. We can take our kids to nursing homes, assisted living homes, and we can continue to take our kids to serve in 3rd world countries so that they have a true world view. We can live as simple as possible so that we have extra funds to help people right here that need support. We can send money to organizations and missionaries in other countries: like Harvest India and Orchard Africa. We can adopt a child in a 3rd world country by sending support each month and then go visit her.

God has blessed us with 2 cars, a house, and an income. We don't have to buy the newest cars, the biggest and fanciest house (that our budget allows), go on vacation every year, or go to every new movie at the theater. We have learned to LOVE Goodwill, embracing stay-cations, and looking for more ways to serve here in Phoenix. We are still figuring out ways to be more pro-active about sharing Jesus here in Gilbert AZ. We still have a Loooooooooooooong way to go!!! But it's a start.

Jesus spoke about orphans and widows because I believe they were dear to His heart and He knew that they could easily be tossed aside by society. If they mattered to Him then they should matter to us.