Friday, February 26, 2010

Disposable Paper Bowls...

Who would think that the Lord would use disposable paper bowls to speak to me. You know, the kind bowls that you use when you have a whole bunch of people over and you don't want to do dishes?? The kind that you use and then throw away?

This is Pastor Experito.

Pastor Experito is from Northern Uganda and he is visiting in the US for a short while. We had the privilege of hearing his testimony tonight. He is an amazing man of God.

This is our Radical Small Group .

We meet together weekly to encourage one another and to allow God to challenge our way of thinking and our way of life. We have been meeting together for several months to watch the David Platt Radical Series and the Faith Works Series. The Lord has given us many opportunities to live according to His word by caring for the poor, orphaned, widowed, oppressed and lost. As a group we decided to have RICE night every time we meet. The idea is to skip a meal and eat rice, and what we would have spent on a pot luck dinner, we put into our rice night money jar and donate to Remember The Poor , which in turn goes to our Kenya ministry to orphans. We have devoted ourselves to hearing the word and then practicing doing the word.

Now, I am not bragging by any means. I am proud of the people that attend our RSG, and how they have been committed to fasting a meal and giving to help support Pastor Cyrus in Kenya. In the past several months we have been able to provide Cyrus and his family along with 22 orphans, food, clothes, medicine, school fees and uniforms, a computer, camera and bicycle. Just one night of skipping a full mean (we still eat) has provided all of this and more for our new family in Kenya. However, just when I thought I have learned a lot (and proud of it)...the Lord not so gently reminds me that I have far more to learn.

I know to some this sounds like a great accomplishment. Cyrus is being blessed and the kids have warm new clothes, but just yesterday I received a call from Cyrus to let me know that as of right now, they are out of food. They have no money to buy any food and they are hungry. Strange food. I mean surely they have something to eat...NO, they have nothing. I was sick all brother and his wife, and all those precious orphans have no food, "Lord, what am I going to do about it? I have limited money as well...nine children, one salary, how are we going to help feed all these mouths? There must be more I can do."

Then tonight Pastor Experito came for a welcomed visit. I was so happy that the Lord saw fit to interrupt our normal group night so we could hear from our new friend from Uganda. Little did I know what was coming next...CONVICTION!

Experito, came right in and we prayed for our rice as we always do and began to serve it in disposable paper bowls. All was well, until Experito realized that once we were done eating, we took our bowls and threw them in the trash. He immediately turned to one of the ladies in our group and asked what we were doing with the bowls. She said, "Oh...they are disposable." It was then that truth pierced our ears. Experito said, "You want to do something big? You must start with something small. This money you spend on bowls that you throw away, could be used to feed starving children. Why don't you take the money you throw in the trash, and put it in the jar on the table. You can use regular bowls and wash them."

Now, I don't know how that is resonating in your soul...but just typing those words are hurting my heart. How do I come off thinking that I am better than any of the starving people in Africa, or China or South America? How do I think that I am so doing my part by having rice once a week? Silly me! Am I so comfortable that I have NOT a clue of the poverty around the world? YES! I mean, I just returned from Africa. The smell of poverty is still in my nose. Have you ever smelt it? It is real. It is a stench I will never forget AND I have the resources to end it! We have the resources to end it!

James 5:1 is a warning to the rich. It says:

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers who you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven's Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people who do not resist you.

Again, I don't know what how the word of the Lord hits you here, but it penetrates me to my very core.

I have heard people use the "guilt" clause, for a way of justifying their same old life, "status quo" so to speak. Anytime the Lord presses us with cutting words, we flee and claim "guilt" and "legalism". I am guilty of the same thing. We don't want to be challenged to the point of feeling uncomfortable. We want our luxuries and want to justify our way out of it by saying, "guilt is not from the Lord."


I want to beg a different look at guilt. Could it be that the "guilt" we feel is "conviction" instead?

Lets say I went to Best Buy. I am looking at the little digital cameras and want one really bad. I mean they are so cute, and it would fit in my purse...I would hardly notice it was there because they are so small. But they are a lot of money, and I don't have that kind of money. Well...I could just sneak it into my one would really notice. Okay, I'll do it....swipe it and run.

Once I got home, stealing that little camera began to eat away at me. I began to feel guilty and just can't stand myself, so I call a sister in Christ and tell her what I have done. She says to me...Drea, you feel "guilty"? Sister..."guilt", is not from the Lord, that is "legalism".

Would my guilt be legalism, or conviction? I think we all know the answer. It is so easy to justify these things away, when it is not blatant stealing. However, would it not be stealing from the Lord if we did not use our resources to benefit HIS kingdom. I mean they are His to begin with right? So instead of giving them back to God (I am not talking here about our 10% tithe) we steal food out of the mouths of orphans and clean water from tribes, and buy a new car, or clothes we don't need, maybe some little trinket at the store to decorate our home, instead. "Well the Lord did bless us as Americans, we justify. I don't need to feel guilty that I buy stuff. I do give."

The Scripture says that our things will testify against us. That when we stand in front of our judge, the moth eaten clothes and the rust eaten gold and silver we possess will speak about what we have done with Gods resources. Even the disposable paper bowls. Friends I am guilty of this very thing. I am not pointing a finger at you...all ten of mine are pointing right at me. I'm just saying that we...brothers and sister have ALL the God given resource we need. We don't need anything the bible says but food, clothing and shelter. Let us stop the stench of poverty and starvation. Let us give everything that God has given us.
Let us stand together before a Holy God...with nothing!


amyb777 said...

Amen! Amen! and Amen! I sit here weeping still after listening to Pastor Experito. My heart breaks for Pastor Cyrus and his hungry children. My heart breaks for Pastor Experito and his lack of clean drinking water and the ability clothe those have literally NOTHING to wear. These are our brothers in Christ. I am with Tanya. Something has to be done! I don't need to go to the movies this weekend or out to eat. I can live without hundreds of little luxuries I indulge myself with all the time. We can live on what we need and give our luxuries to those have real needs. I do not want my gold and silver to condemn me. I want to stand before God with nothing. I want to give it all away. Thank you for sharing your heart my dear sweet sister. I am with you. Let's all seek God on how we can use our abundant blessings to bless those who don't even have their most basic needs met.

Cindy said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome, post. I LOVE IT!

Love Experito and those two people on either side of him!

I love how the Lord keeps opening our eyes. Just recently, we quit buying kitchen garbage bags. And I wonder why didn't I think of that earlier? May our garbage bags, and the disposable bowls you would have thrown into them (ha!), be used by Jesus for His glory.

Amy said...

We use disposable bowls, plates, etc... often at our house. It's interesting that you've written about this because almost daily for the past year I've considered which costs less - buying the massive amount of bowls at Costco for $5 or paying for water to wash the regular bowls. Given we live in Arizona and have a lack of water, it seemed a little more "green" to use paper. But then there's the issue of trees being cut... As you can see I've not thought about this in the terms you wrote - about $ used for Christ - but rather in terms of what is "green" and also what is more affordable to me personally. Now I have more to think and pray over. Cindy - curious what you use instead of kitchen bags. I've also been considering this but didn't see an alternative. Again, not because of helping those in other countries but because we can't afford to buy them for our own use.

My heart just aches for those overseas - those suffering. Reading about Dorothy - I have tears and just want to hold her myself. But my struggle is in how? How can it be tangible to me when I'm on food stamps just to feed my own family? I pray right now that God will provide $25 extra a month to support Drawn With Water but right now - it's just not there. I pray that someday I can do something but feel so tied. i.e. if we did rice night - there's no money to put into a bowl for what we would have eaten otherwise.

Project Playlist