I have been reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: an experimental mutiny against excess (B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN. 2012). I have found myself wavering between delight and disappointment about the way our family– mostly I– approach the blessing of “more” in my life.
One of the challenges she makes is to the blessed “First World” church and how we address the needs of those in the Third World. I found myself struggling with the reality of the poverty, loss, and sense of hopelessness they experience and how I can usually go through life without feeling any discomfort about it.
I thought about the ways I have perpetuated the problem instead of finding and being a part of the solutions– which can be vast.
I have spent so much time in my “bubble” learning in studies, reading, studying, memorizing but never going beyond the gaining of knowledge to actually apply it. What happens when my brain is so full, but my heart still remains empty? When I know a lot, but am not moved to action to change the outcome?
The eighteen inches between my mind and my heart is a dangerous distance. It can mean the difference between living out the commands of Christ to serve those in need, to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27) and allowing our hearts to be wrecked by this broken and hurting world or just quoting those verses to others to show that I have studied and memorized God’s Word.
These words shattered my safe bubble last night when I read them:
What if we are actually called to a radical life? What if Jesus knew our Christian culture would design a lovely life template complete with all the privileges and exemptions we want, but even with that widespread approval, He still expected radical simplicity, radical generosity, radical obedience from those with ears to hear, eyes to see? (Hatmaker, p.159).
I wish I could say I sold everything I owned and moved to the streets to live and love on the people who are forgotten. That would be radical and it would also “look good.” But what if my heart — my whole heart is what God wants to be radically changed? If my heart is changed then my hands and feet should follow.
It is a place of discomfort I find myself in today. Usually, I would move back into my bubble, where it is safe and my anxiety doesn’t try to take over. But this kind of discomfort– I don’t want to run away from it. I am asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to lean into it. To allow God to rearrange my list of what is important until it looks like His list of what is important.
I think it would be a lot like the situation described below:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:34-39).
Oh Jesus, let it be so in my life.