Monday, September 5, 2011

the proposal

I'm not sure how to start this post. I've been thinking a lot over the last couple of weeks (I know, I know), and I have ideas, but I just feel like they're not going to come out like I want them to. So bear with me, okay?

I went over to my neighbors' house the other night to hang out. We somehow got into a semi-political discussion (this post is not political), and I made the comment about how so many people and Christians specifically want smaller government (this post is not political). But in my opinion (this post is not political), programs or services have to be in place for those who need help, and until the Church picks up that call (like, in a revolutionary, save-the-world sort of way), the government will have to be involved (this post is not political). 

So that just got me thinking. Matt and I are reading through the Bible this year, and have just finished reading Radical. And although the Church does many good things (and I'm in no way speaking against any congregation or church specifically, just more the American Church as a whole), we miss the point. A lot. When I read that the first Christians sold all they had and gave to each other as each had need, and I hear Jesus say not to store up earthly treasures, and I read that I'm commanded (commanded, not called) to sacrifice everything to live and love like Jesus and to help those in need, I wonder how we got here. How we got to this place of planning beach retirements, huge life insurance policies, cushy retirement accounts, working like dogs to one day be able to do whatever WE want (or nothing at all), and to live for ourselves. All of this while people starve in the streets, thousands don't have the medical care they need (even in our own country), millions of people live on less than $2 a day etc. There are so many needs.

And we just turn our heads. Either we depend on someone else to take care of it, we've become immune, or we don't even care enough to think about it. Or maybe we do think about it, but we just wonder, "Who am I to do anything about this?" 

Um, we are the children of God, claimed by the Father, rescued by the Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit, commanded to die to ourselves and sacrifice everything to help, serve, and save as many people as we can, in the name of Jesus, giving the glory to God.

So there.

But what does this look like? In the real world, in this I-can't-go-to-Africa-and-feed-the-poor and I-have little-kids and my-mission-is-to-mother-my-children world, what does that look like? That question haunts me all the time. Where do we start? What do we do? How do we make a difference in the lives of our mourning, hurting, lost, sick, and broken neighbors? 

We take a step. That's it. We take a step. Putting aside excuses. Stepping out of our comfort zones. Clinging to the faith that saves us. Trusting the God who says, "I've got this." Taking the commands of Jesus seriously. And we do it.

So here's what I'm proposing. What if we chose one project or area of service each month to meet a need in our communities (or anywhere, really). I'm talking about a real-sacrifice, make-a-difference, lettin'-our-lights-shine-for-Jesus sort of project. 

But my kid(s) is/are so little. I know. That's what I've been saying for the last 2 1/2 years. But then I got to thinking. Even if Jonah doesn't get it now, even if it will be more "inconvenient" for him to tag along or participate, wouldn't be cool if he grew up never remembering a time when we didn't sacrifice for and serve others. What if, when questioned, he answered, "Huh. We've just always done this. We just love people. That's all." Isn't that really the most important thing? Even over piano lessons, gymnastics, healthy lunches, sporting events, play dates, dinner on the table every night and an organized house? 

I've really had to reexamine some things. How much of the things in my life that I see as have-to's are really from God? It's not a comfortable question to answer. 

So, back to the proposal. I'm thinking we all choose a way to help those in need this month. We do it, chronicle it with photos (if appropriate), and on October 15th, we blog about it. Not to brag or show off our holiness (I hope you're not reading this that way), but to show how God is working in our lives and the lives of those we are forming relationships with. And also to share ideas with each other, ways we can serve others right here in the old USA. Maybe we could really make a difference? 

Maybe we could change the world?

I'm not sure. I don't know. But I've been thinking about this for weeks now, and I just can't shake the idea. And dang it, this morning, our lesson was on God giving us all certain gifts and that we are commanded (not called, commanded) to use for a purpose. So here I am. Wrestling with this idea. Doubting how it will go. Afraid of ridicule or rejection. Not sure of my words.

But it's in my head. It's from God. So here it is.

I will be posting a linky thing here on my blog on OCTOBER 15th. I'm hoping you'll take the challenge, and plan to link your post up here on that day. I know that we would all be blessed to see how God is working, and it would be great to share ideas. Maybe we could even make this a monthly thing? (UPDATE: I just made a Facebook group for those of you who want to participate but don't have a blog.  You can join it HERE. It's called "Get Your Serve On." Don't judge. Matt came up with the name.)

Let's get out of the boat. Want to?

(If you have no idea where to start, this post had some good ideas.)

I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment here if you'd like to participate. I think this could be amazing. To God be the glory!

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