Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Suitcase Full of Joy & Hope

This morning I was standing in front of our church with a group of orphan children from all over the world who travel our country singing to honor God. They'll return to their 'homes' -- such as they are -- in a few weeks.

As I stood there with several church members who had hosted the children in their homes, I was face-to-face with a contrast that should make us re-think life.

I knew that I was going home tonight with the family project being to carry some stuff from our garage area to storage space under the house. That's what American middle- and upper-class families do: re-arrange their stuff.

Yet as I stood there I saw a nice black suit case for each child, the contents of which likely were all the worldly goods they possess. Everything. Yet they beamed happiness. They were purposeful. They were used by God. They knew joy and peace. And they did not have to have the $300 armoire at the garage sale, or store spare breakfast nook tables in the attic, or have to decide which of 15 pairs of designer jeans to wear. The pair of shoes they owned matched everything just fine.

I'm supposed to be a Bible teacher and good communicator, but I'm not exactly sure what to do with this information, this sensory shock, this reality check. I'm not trying to write a guilt trip to anyone, or I have to take the first dose of guilt. I'm not saying we should sell our stuff . . . well, maybe we should.

I just know that we value the wrong things. Period. It is tragically observable. And I know we are teaching our kids to value the wrong things. And I know that Jesus didn't teach us to do this. And I know if we obey Him, we'll stop, re-evalueate,  and adjust course (in any number of ways God calls us to).

That's my challenge to myself and to you. One great read that will challenge you the same way and perhaps help put feet to conviction is David Platt's Radical. Your middle-school-and-up kids can read it to. I encourage it.

Now, I've got to go put my spare suitcases under the house.

Links, Notes, Quotes

* VERY informative info on your children and cell phones. All parents have to look!:

* "Your decisions are only as good as the info you base them on. It's stupid to decide before knowing THE FACTS"-- Rick Warren per Proverbs 18:13

* Beethoven was deaf. Van Gogh was colorblind. Nothing is impossible. -- via Travis Garland on Twitter

* Ron Edmondson consistently produces good stuff for parents. Check it out.

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