Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sandwiched Between Suburbias...

Sandwiched between the suburbias surrounding most cities, is a world that most of don't realize even exists...  Or maybe if we were honest with ourselves, we'd have to admit that common sense tells us it's there, we just never choose to think about it...

In suburbia, our kids get 3 meals a day... working moms can afford to hire sitters or send their kids to day care...  children come to Book Fairs with money to buy books and trinkets...  for the most part, parents are involved in their children's lives...  they help them with their homework...  children play outside and the idea of a drive by shooting is something that happens in movies...

Frankly, most of us who live in the suburbs really have no clue...  I don't know, maybe I've just lived most of my life intensely self-centered and blind to those around me, and no one else is like me, but somehow I don't think so.  If we really knew what life was like for the children sandwiched between the suburbias, would we really keep sticking our heads in the sand?

Sorry, I guess this post is sounding a little angry, but I'm just angry with myself...  Today, I went and volunteered at a low income school in our city and once again, God opened my eyes to a world that is so different than the one I live in every day.

Even though I had just been to Africa, even to the garbage dump, I am still so incredibly naive and it's because I don't take time to think about and learn about a world... a life that's not like mine...  Intellectually I know it's there, but if I understand the reality of it, then I become responsible to do something.  Certainly not to fix it, but definitely not to just sit idly by and do nothing.

I just finished reading a book called "God in the Alley", by Greg Paul (I HIGHLY recommend it) and now I'm reading his second book, "The Twenty Piece Shuffle."  After I came home today, here's what I read, "...there are more than 2,000 references in more than 400 different passages of Scripture that speak of God's passion for the poor...  Biblical writers use more than 40 different words to describe conditions of poverty."

That's staggering to me...  I've always heard that money is the most talked about subject in the Bible, but I really have to wonder if that's accurate...

Mr. Paul draws the obvious conclusion, "Poor people have a critical place at the very heart of God's relationship with humanity."

I've been reading the book of Amos and I've been so struck at how this can apply to America...especially the church in America...  Amos prophesied at a time of great prosperity in Israel, they lived on estates, had luxurious beds, indulged themselves in their pleasures, but they ignored and oppressed the poor and afflicted and God was warning them of impending judgment.

God cares that we aren't caring for those in distress...  Yes, we've adopted and many of you have too and I know that God is pleased...  But one, or two or ten acts of obedience that reflect the heart of God do not constitute a life of obedience.

It has to be day by day... God's heart for the poor has to be reflected in the very way we live our lives...spend our money...use our time and our gifts...

God may not call me to a specific act of caring for someone in distress today, but He might be calling me to save the $20 I'm about to spend on something I, or my kids don't need, so it will be there when He does call me to care for someone in distress.

Or maybe He's asking me to give up lunch with a friend and go and mentor a child who doesn't have anyone in their life to love them...  There's a million different decisions that we make everyday that either reflect His heart for the poor, or our own desire to please ourselves...

I need... I want... to learn more about the world between the suburbias...  I long for my heart to look more like His.


April Isaacs said...

I'll have to sit down and write you an email and tell you about a situation we are dealing with. I get it. I too have been convicted.

Thanks for your words of wisdom... as always!


Naomi said...

I think the key in all of this is to sit at the feet of God like Jesus did every day He was on the earth and to receive direction and preparation for the day so that we will know what to do when the time comes. We are more sensitive to His Spirit when we take the time to pray!!

I say this to myself and I need to do this more every day!!! Be still and know that He is God! Then I will know what to do and where to go!

Denise said...

I so understand. We happen to live in a community where there are many needs. In the school where our children go over 50% of the kids receive free lunch, so there are many needs. We try to help through church and my husband is a breakfast buddy, but I know that we can do more. Thanks for the nudge~

Madeleine said...

This is at the very heart of Jesus.

We have tried so hard to get our children used to living beyond their comfort since they were toddlers.

There is a big world out there that screams for HIS grace & mercy.

I grew up in nice suburbia, and still struggle. I force myself, though it has gotten easier. My children grew up where service and giving hope is normal, and they have done and continue to do things that make me so proud of them.

You can't hang on to your past. Just be thankful that you are now here. And be willing.

HE will provide the rest. :)

sierrasmom said...

We too live in an area where we see the good, the bad and the ugly. We have a homeless person who lives in the woods right behind our house. People ahve tried to help him, he doesn't want it but we all keep an eye on him. Our school too is made up of some well to do and many children at poverty level. The amount of free lunches is increasing every year. Thank you for reminding us to get out there and help. We had a wonderful community Thanksgiving dinner this year for those who had no one or no place to go!!