My thoughts today come from a Rob Bell NOOMA video I watched yesterday. The video is called RICH. If you do not know Rob Bell, I highly recommend getting to know him. He is a pastor in Michigan and he is a fantastic teacher. Brian and I own a few of his NOOMA videos and listen to his messages on line. He is a dedicated follower of Jesus with a fresh voice for mission in this world. You can find him at NOOMA.com and Marshill.org.
Here are just a couple of questions that Rob asks in the companion book to the video. I have been pondering them myself today. What comes to mind when you read them?
Do you feel blessed? Why or why not?
What do you generally associate with someone who's considered rich? Do you consider yourself rich?
Lately I have been desiring to "update" our lives. We are now out of seminary and have this wonderful house that holds all our old stuff. Just about everything we own we have had since we first got married. Our living room furniture is faded and stained. Our dining room area in the house is pretty bare because we don't have furniture for it. All of our kitchen plates, towels, etc. are blue because that was our original desire for our kitchen color pattern. Now our new house has a green kitchen (which we love!). My clothes are old and some don't fit anymore after pregnancy. I really could go on and on. We are in this beautiful new house and all around me I see our things that I want to add, change or update. I want to do it all now, even though I know we can't. So I tell myself to just put up with it for now!
Yesterday I sat down during Zachary's nap and popped in the RICH video. It spoke straight to my soul. Rob uses the verse from 1Timothy 6:17; Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
What do you think of when you hear this scripture? I thought that it wasn't necessarily talking about me, but those who are rich and wealthy with money. Those who have the means to do whatever they want whenever they want. But Rob challenges us to think of this verse differently. We have been blessed. Each and every one of us. We always say "God Bless America!" . Look around us, he already has! We have cars, houses with heat and many with air conditioning. We have refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, TV, cable, beds, clean running water, electricity.... We have so much. Many of us have and are now experiencing times when we lose those gifts. Storms cause us to lose electricity. We can't use water. We try not to open our fridge and freezer much so things don't spoil. All around this country and the world there are people who don't have these items which I take for granted so easily, and I am "putting up with it!" Father, forgive me of my arrogance!
Today I am reminded of just how much I have and how little neighbors in my own community and around the world have. That verse in 1st Timothy is not just speaking to those who have money. It is speaking to me too.
1 Timothy continues with verses 18 & 19; Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Today I am also asking myself a few more questions from Rob's Video.
Are you generous? With your money? Your time? Your stuff?
Are you content? If not, what will it take?
Do you think it's possible to live out the kind of generosity Jesus talked about without being content?
What can you give? Who are you going to bless?
I believe that these are questions that I will always wrestle with. But today I want to take a step toward answering them and acting upon them. I want my focus to not be on me, but on others. I may not be rich in ways that I imagine rich to be, but if I focus on Jesus, the stronghold of my faith, I know I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. I pray that I may be willing to look beyond my wants and give what I can to others. Rob mentioned in his video that experts say that to give everyone in the world clean water and basic health and necessities it would cost about 20 billion dollars. Americans spend this amount every year on ice cream! Think about it. We could change this world! I want to try. I want to find contentment with the life I am blessed with. I want to "take hold of the life that is truly life" and share that life with others!
Thanks Rob Bell, for sharing your love and passion for the Lord and his mission!