I am rich.
You are rich too.
For whatever reason, this has become a label that most of us, including myself, strongly dislike. We rarely, if ever, claim that we are indeed rich [in the economic sense], but we are. We have a tremendous and delicate responsibility to distribute these resources to those without, in a fashion that preserves people’s dignity.
The manner and attitude in which we contend for others speaks more than we may realize. It is far more complex than simply giving out a piece of bread. It is discovering a way in which the relationship can be symbiotic, where both parties can give and receive. Otherwise, despite our good intentions, the relationship becomes hierarchical: those who “have” are at the top, and those who “have not” are at the bottom. This is not how it is meant to be. “Love your neighbor as yourself” implies equality.
Upon acknowledging this responsibility, I often feel a deep, overwhelming sense of guilt. I go, I give, and I serve out of this sentiment. I have learned that living with this guilt mentality is destructive and frequently results in feelings of resentment, bitterness, burn out, etc. I must go and give and serve because that is my heart’s desire.
I believe we are created to use our desires for the cause of Christ and for other people. If we are not living out of these deep places of longing, then of course we will feel a degree of exhaustion. If we are created to function in one capacity but choose to live from something else, we are neglecting a fundamental piece of who we are and thus live a life unfulfilled.
When we begin living against our heart’s desires, we start to compartmentalize “ministry”. It is no longer our life, but simply a part. This has become a very common way to ease our consciences. As long as we are doing “ministry” a few times a week, we’re good. But no, we still aren’t living the life we were intended to live and if we are honest with ourselves, we still long for more.
During these next six weeks, the “imagining posture”, we will be looking even deeper into these issues: living out our responsibility with God, gaining a clear sense and pursuit of our personal calling, and exploring and innovating different ways to be communities of faith. We will read Acts and Revelation in the Bible and other notable texts, as always.
Please continue to pray that I would stay focused, particularly at this stage of the year. There have been a plethora of external issues vying for my attention (eg. I miss Ryan!). But I believe that especially now, during the climax of the year, I must remain attuned to God’s promptings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.