The fact the God often uses shaking up our lives, to get our attention and produce growth in us, was one of the themes in the sermon at church today. It's really got me thinking.
One of the texts was taken from Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NASB):
49"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
50"Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me Therefore I removed them when I saw it.It's so easy for me to look at this text and see America. As a culture, we tend to experience great abundance and think we are so much smarter than the rest of the world. The dominant American culture is way "too smart for God". I recently had a post here about Christians who are suffering for their faith in other nations, yet we do nothing for them. Todd Nettleton, with Voice of the Martyrs, quotes secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying "We wouldn't be holding China accountable on the issue of religious freedom, or human rights issues. There were more important things like trade and global warming and those types of things."
It's so easy for me to point fingers at other people when I read this Bible passage - but what about me?
I certainly enjoy a life of vast abundance compared to the rest of the world. Do I always recognize that every good thing that I have is a gift from God? That the abundance I experience really, in the big scheme of things, has very little to do with my hard work and deserving-ness? Do I have a heart that seeks God and allows Him to open my eyes to see the needs of those around me? Do I see loving and giving to people as part of loving God?
That's how I want to be. But I am most definitely a work in progress and have a LONG way to go.
Lately it seems as if one major, unexpected, unplanned for, expense after another has come my way. I continue to thank God that we've had the money for each thing that has come up. When my 17 yr old son and I were out running errands yesterday together, I went to the ATM to obtain cash. As I came back to the car, it was very cold and windy and I rushed to make it back into the vehicle. I was just about to close the door to my car when I saw a man out of the corner of my eye, in a wheel chair coming my way. I figured he'd be asking for money and I've got to be honest with you - it entered my mind to pretend I did not see him and just go my way. It entered my mind that perhaps he really didn't need to be in a wheel chair. But, fortunately, I remembered that who am I to question these things, that's God's job.
So I looked him in the eyes and gave him that opening to ask for money. When he finished I reached into my wallet, and, again I've got to confess how I can be, I almost just gave him a dollar. But, I felt impressed to give him more money, so I did. My son was watching me so as we drove away I commented that how can I, who have been so blessed, not give to someone who asks? My son had been watching the man way more closely than I, and he commented that the man didn't even have legs that went all the way down (I'd been looking him in the eye so I'd missed this).
Do you ever struggle with becoming too comfortable?