Ashamed of Affluence

24 Sep

[Disclaimer: This post is not meant to judge, since I am guilty of these same things! Instead, it is meant to be thought provoking and perhaps convicting. In my own life, those have already happened and now I want these convictions to inspire change in me.]

Last night, our church had our 2nd Focus meeting, when all the church members and prospective members come together and the pastor teaches us about what we, as a church, believe. This class is kind of review for me and Travis since we just took the new members class at Grace last year.

At some point during the night, they ask questions to the congregation like “Anyone in here have a birthday today?” or “Who in here has the highest college GPA?” Whoever has a birthday or the highest GPA gets a prize (book, gift card, etc.) Those are fun questions and it’s always interesting to see who answers what.

But there are a couple of questions they asked that just don’t sit right with me. The first night, they asked, “Who in here has the most pairs of shoes?” Last night, they asked, “Who in here has the most purses?” It probably goes without saying that women won both prizes.

And that’s entirely my point.

What would a church in Africa, a church that has a dirt floor and a couple of poorly constructed benches, a church whose members are in actual danger of dying from starvation or disease caused by dirty water, think about us? Why is a sort of accepted practice, ney even a joke, for women to be such overconsumers, especially in Christian circles?

How can we sit in our comfy warm homes surrounded by mounds of clothes, shoes, and purses and not care about those who have ONE pair of clothes, NO shoes and NOTHING to even put in a purse?

I’ll tell you how: Satan. Satan is the sneakiest, craftiest being on the planet. He is SO crafty that I guarantee you that today, after writing this post, I will wish I had a new pair of pants, new shoes, or see a cute purse that I’d like. Guarantee it. Satan uses this covetous desire in my heart just about every time I step into the sanctuary at church. I’m ashamed to admit that there are many times when I’m so distracted by my envy of other women (whether it be me wanting cute clothes or to be skinnier) that I can’t pay attention to God at all. I hate it. I hate how Satan distracts us.

Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest on September 18, “[Satan] does no come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.”

Satan is continually trying to distract us from what really matters. There is a part in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis where I believe the uncle demon tells the nephew demon that his goal is just for his target to be comfortable and to think that everything’s ok. Then he will have no need for God.

I believe Satan and his demons do have that agenda and I fall into it often. Just a couple of weeks ago, I asked Travis if I could buy some new clothes. As if I don’t have enough in my closet already!

But here’s the thing. In her book Dangerous Surrender, Kay Warren talks about being gloriously ruined for Christ, meaning being so disturbed and unsettled by the physical condition of other people, by the evil things that happen in this world, that you can never go back to your pleasant, naive little life.

I am almost there.

I would say I’m fully there but then 2 paragraphs ago, I was telling about my desire for new clothes.

I think my personal problem is that I haven’t yet gotten involved in being the solution to these woes. I see the problem but have yet to do anything about it. There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t: busyness, indecision, fear, indifference at times.

But I’ve heard it said that when you’re the one who sees a need, God intends that you be the one who fills it. And I am ready. I am ready to be used.

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