I have been pondering some thoughts on a question..."Am I rich?" It's interesting that at first, as an American, I try to compare by saying "Well, I'm not as rich as some..."
When my Ugandan friend, who grew up on the streets, says to me "Mama, you are rich and you can raise your children in safety", there is nothing to say but a quiet, respectful "Yes, son". This is just a statement of a fact for my friend...not a comparison even...but a reality.
A devotion that I picked up called Hope Lives, by Amber Van Schooneveld, has really added to my thinking on this. In the Day 2 reading it says (in part) "You are rich...even if you're from a low-income household in America. Did you drink clean water today without risk of death or disease? Are you wearing a pair of shoes? Do you have a dry, safe place to sleep tonight? Did you eat today? You are rich. You are richer than billions of others."
Ronald J. Sider, in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, says "One of the most astounding things about the affluent minority is that we honestly think we have barely enough to survive in modest comfort."
It's true isn't it...the affluent minority...
(Please, I know that there are many, especially right now, who are really hurting financially here in America...but, I also know that I'm not one of them...)
In Hope Lives, Amber says "I've reclassified my luxuries to necessities. The standard of living in America is constantly on the rise."
I was reading James 5:1-6 this morning (please take time to read this), and part of verse 3 grabbed me, "You have laid up treasure in the last days." and in verse 5 "You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence."
In the past when I have read James 5:1, which starts out "come now, you rich..."; unintentionally, I would "skipped" this part...I'm not really rich, so...this is talking to those that are rich...
but, now if I look at these verses with new eyes...that I AM rich, then the Spirit of the LORD can speak to me...and He did...He asked me to look around and see treasures I have laid up or how I have lived in luxury and self-indulgence.
I also read in Jeremiah 49:4 "Why do you boast of your valleys, O faithless daughter, who trusted in her treasures, saying, Who will come against me?"
I really don't keep much extra "stuff" because I hate "clutter"...which by the way, do we realize we BUY books to help us organize our "stuff", or dejunk our stuff because we have too much!!! God has the best plan for decluttering...give it away!
So, back to the Jeremiah verse...I asked the LORD what this means and He showed me that when we have treasures and things "laid up", put away for later, or "just in case I need that", or "my child might grow into that"... I am trusting in these things to take care of me and I do not need to trust in the LORD. What if I gave away every coat I have stored in the basement to others in need and trust that the LORD will provide coats for the children when they need them? Why am I keeping SO MANY clothes for us all? Have I believed that I am being good and saving us money by having those extra clothes or do I feel safer knowing that they are there and I wont have to "trust" the LORD later. It's really a heart issue...some times I am being wise, some times though I am afraid of needing or wanting something later, so I put up "treasures" to "protect" myself.
Steve and I are praying and asking the children also to let the LORD show us things that we might be storing up...things we need to let go of and give to someone who could use it now and trust the LORD to take care of us tomorrow.
Just some things that were on my mind....