Simplifying

Slowly our lives seem to be slipping into a bit of semblence and routine. Mary Beth and I were talking the other day and we realized that we have had family or friends in town every week since Clark was born. That’s twelve weeks in a row, we’ve had someone over . . . no wonder things have been a bit crazy lately.

I finished putting barn siding up in our basement Wednesday. It was so nice to finally get that done. There are two other walls I want to build, but first I need to get over and pick up some more wood. There’s always something to do. There’s still a half ton of wood laying against our neighbor’s fence because I haven’t had the chance to borrow a chain saw and get it cut up. Oh well . . . all in good time.

In our Sunday nights with the youth group, we have been using the Winterfest curriculum studying the real master and commander. The classes have been fine, but there hasn’t been much cohesion holding the subject matter together each week. I just got finished looking over things for this week and I am pleasantly suprised with the subject matter for the week. I’m not sure what it has to do with the past few weeks, but this week taken on its own is a much needed lesson for our teens.

The topic for the week is materialism. I always crack up at the way that we teach about materialism in this country. We always feel the need to qualify Jesus’ teaching. Even the material that we are using for this Sunday night class said some something to the effect of, “Jesus never condemned anyone for being rich.” Well that’s great, but neither are we. We’re dealing with a real problem in the church in this culture. I see it everywhere working in a suburban, affluent, white church. To give you an idea of the affluence in our church, with a regular attendance of 140 members, our weekly budget is about $5,000. There are many churches twice our size without that kind of weekly budget. We don’t often make our budget, but the ambition is there.

So . . . the optimistic side of me says to be glad that I work for a place with so many generous people. However, there is so much more we could do. We turn people away for benevolence each and every week. We don’t give food away. We don’t help with bills. We don’t help with gas. Gas prices are $2.25. It costs us over $50.00 to fill up our cars. We can barely afford that, but it’s interesting that few people in our churches ever consider how that effects the folks that already aren’t making it.

The very concept of what we think we need is twisted. Mary Beth and I have recently grown disconent with our current lifestyle. We have too many things in our house. So . . . we have been going room by room, clearing things out that we just don’t need. Sure, we have a lot further to go. There are many things that I just can’t part with, that I really don’t need. I’m sure she would say the same. However, it is a good start. We have enough things to have our own garage sale. We plan to sell as much as we can on our own using that money to finish off our hospital bills from Clark, and then give the rest to the youth group yard sale. I wish we were giving the money to the less fortunate, but our primary goal right now is to move ourselves out of debt as quickly as we can in order to free ourselves to be of great support to those who need it.

Last Wednesday we went up to a food pantry and helped out up there. It reminded me that there are people who just don’t have enough money left over at the end of the month to pay for their groceries. I easily forget that. I have made the commitment to begin spending more time with those people. Soon, I will have friends that don’t have any money. It will help level my head. And hopefully, I will help them.

One interesting website to check out regarding poverty in this country is www.american-pictures.com. I found it a few months ago when I was studying for a sermon. It is powerful. If you ever see the book, I would love to have it. It is not currently in print.

Spend some time praying for the pandemic of poverty. If we each would do something, the world would changed.

Adam

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