01 January 2010

New Year's Introspection

The dawn of a new year inevitably brings about self-reflection. For me, this year is no different. My introspection has meandered through a range of topics, but seems to have taken a rather extended break with regard to authentic Christianity and one's my calling.

A recent interaction with a young man I count as a brother has again brought to a head these thoughts. He is passionate about Jesus and about faith lived out. He has a particular heart for the poor and working with those less fortunate. He is concerned about the complacency of American Christianity toward poverty and he is passionate to live Christ in all.

So, what does this have to do with me? I believe in Jesus Christ with all of my heart. Lately, it seems I think about Him non-stop. I read stories of the apostles giving all for Christ. I read about martyrs, both ancient and contemporary, giving their lives in service to Jesus. I listen to sermons by men like Francis Chan, John Piper, and more recently Paul Washer who passionately call attention to the discrepancy between the gospel and American Christianity.

Then, I look around. I live in a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood. I have an amazing job that pays well. I own 2 cars. I own 3 TVs. I own more than 1 pair of shoes, which on a global scope, marks me as exceedingly wealthy.

I could enumerate the ways in which I feel as though I give of myself, but I am always left with the question, am I giving enough? Am I giving all? Thoughts intrude.

student loans

breast cancer

How do I reconcile my internal struggle to leave all for the sake of the gospel (Mark 10:29) with my sense of duty to care for the responsibilities that I feel God has entrusted to me (I Timothy 5:8)? How do I deal with the understanding that a well-paying job may be God's way of allowing me to minister to others? If all Christians go to Samaria (e.g., the inner city) or the ends of the earth (e.g., Honduras), who will stay in Judea (e.g., Eau Claire)? If everyone is a missionary, who supports the missionaries?

Where I stop at the end of the day is the same place I always do. Praying for forgiveness for my worldliness. Praying for God's will. Praying for effective witness for those who stay and those who go. Praying that in all things, Christ would be made much of, not in my American or protestant or white worldview, but as the glorified savior of all who would come to Him. Tomorrow, I will again read God's word, praying that this sinful man who wants to know Him desperately can discern His still, small voice amidst the cacophony of my life.

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