Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Last Sunday's Message - It's All from God

The picture at the right I took Saturday evening coming out of our church as I was leaving rehearsal around 5:45 p.m. The sunset was stunning on that brisk winter evening. I took it with my cell phone, but wish I'd had my camera. Actually, most of the pics you see on my blog have been taken by me, or taken (like stolen, as Lindsey would protest) by me. Hehehe.

I sang a tune called "Take Away" (links to the lyrics and synopsis of the song by the artist) by the band, Mainstay last Sunday during service. The message was essentially that everything we have has come from God and nothing here belongs to us, so we shouldn't get so attached to our "stuff", but rather focus on the good that we can do with it and to be content with what we have, avoiding the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" coveting that so many of us get wrapped up in, myself and family included at one time, and still at times.

It's not that "stuff" isn't ok to have, provided we are thankful for what we do have, are not focused on what we don't have, and are willing to give as we can to those not as fortunate as us. We are so much more blessed than the VAST majority of the world. Our team that just got back from Haiti on a short term mission trip to provide eye exams and eyeglasses to as many Haitians as we could will attest to this. The poverty there is indescribable and beyond anyone's comprehension reading this blog (or writing it) unless you have been there or to similarly poor countries or even areas of our own country for that matter. I know I often need these reminders of how fortunate I truly am.

So, the next time your looking at your neighbor's brand new, shiny, whatever it is, and you find yourself longing for it, or the bigger, better, faster, stronger version of the whatever it is... think of those that have no place to sleep tonight or nothing to eat tonight and be grateful for the blessings that you do have.

One final thought, one of my own actually, on this. When I first became a Christian, I would often contemplate the needs of people around the world, or in my own backyard, and I would get overwhelmed thinking, "Lord, what can I do? The needs are so great all around. Where do I focus my attention and limited resources because I can't help everywhere?" He gave me the answer in Galatians 6:10 which says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

We need to keep our eyes, ears, and heart open to the opportunities to "do good to all people" and act on them when they arise. We can't help everyone, everywhere, all the time. None of us have those kind of resources... not even Oprah. But, we can fill the gas tank of a less fortunate family when they pull up to the pump next to us when we're getting gas and, are prompted to do so by something inside. We can be on the way back from a run along a boardwalk and overhear a conversation where a homeless man is in need of a pair of shoes, stop and take off our shoes, which are miraculously the same size the man needs, and give them to the man in need, as we are prompted to do so by something inside. We can give our no longer used eyeglasses to our church to send to Haiti along with a team of people to vision test, fit, and prescribe to impoverished individuals going blind that would continue to do so without them, as we are prompted to do so by something inside. Everyone feels these promptings inside to "do something" I believe and for me, I believe that prompting inside is the Spirit of Christ that dwells in my heart. I need to be in tune to that Spirit prompting me and act on it more often letting go of the "stuff" that I hang on too tightly to, because frankly, that family needed that tank of gas more than I did.

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