Mood: not sure
Topic: The Purple Files
I've been thinking about money lately. I think about it off and on, but this bout began the other day. I was driving to a neighboring town to take one of my kids to therapy when I passed a pet grooming business. It got me to thinking about all of the people who actually take their pets and spend 20, 30, 50, perhaps hundreds of dollars a year. For what? For someone to comb their pets fur and put pretty bows in it? Now, we could go on and on about the benefits of having a pet and how therapeutic they are, etc. I am not against having a pet. We have a cat and a dog ourselves. But is that really the best use of our money? A use that would be glorifying to God?
Perhaps it's because we work with low income families and support kids through Compassion International. I have seen what it's like to live with little money here in the United States and I've read about and corresponded with children who have next to nothing in life. But, I've never seen or experienced extreme poverty before. My wife and I were talking about this just today. She made the comment that perhaps one of the reason God sends us on mission's trips is to jolt us back into reality when we get back. To make us realize what is really important in life.
A blogging acquaintance of mine, Kristen, from We are THAT Family has experienced just that. A few months ago Kristen was on the blogging team that went to Kenya with Compassion International to write about what they saw and post it on their blogs. You can read their amazing posts by clicking here. I could never verbalize it in the excellent way that Kristen did, but her Kenya trip had a profound impact on her. She came back a totally different person. So much so that her husband commented that he wasn't sure that he knew her anymore. To which Kristen commented back that she wasn't sure she even knew herself. Things just seemed so empty when she got back...so odd.
On her trip Kristen experienced traveling through one of the worst slums in the world. So bad was this slum that they had to split up into groups of three or four and have a personal body guard. They were told not to stare and to refrain from taking pictures while traveling on foot to get to the Compassion project in the middle of the slum. One lady, a professional photographer did take pictures however. She took them from her hip from under a jacket. Those photographs are amazing to look at but disgusting as well. You can find them by clicking on the posts of the bloggers that traveled through this filth called Mathare Valley. Read more of Kristen's story appropriately titled "Today, I Went to Hell" by clicking here.
Kristen had experienced extreme poverty. This isn't the government housing area that Sarah and I work in, or the one in your town...this is EXTREME POVERTY! When she got home Kristen felt lost. She made the comment that she wanted to sell everything and live in her garage. She struggled with coming to terms with what she had seen in Kenya and what she came home to in America. She is still dealing with this and it has had a profound impact on how she and her family now live. I encourage you to click here and go to her blog to see what she and her family are doing now. It's amazing.
The stories that these bloggers told really had an impact on me. Since experiencing the poverty in Kenya through their blogs, I've been contemplating money a lot. I've been contemplating a lot of things a lot. And, no, it's not my depression this time. As some of you know, I've suffered from depression in the past. This time, however, it's God. God has been talking to me lately. I mean really talking to me. About a lot of things. This is just one of them. The other day I posted about another. I'll post more of my thoughts on this and other things that God is revealing to me in the future as well.
Money is just one thing that God has been dealing with me on. Don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge people that have money. Many great Christian people have had money. It's what people do with their money that frustrates me. It's what I do with my money that frustrates me.
I Timothy 6:10 says:
For the love of money is the root of all evil...
Notice it doesn't say that "Money is the root of all evil". It's not money that is evil, it's what you do with your money. Are you frivolous with what God has given you? A dear friend of ours who tragically died in an auto accident used to say "Hold on to things loosely". Don't allow things to get in the way of what is right and what is true in life. Contrary to what some people think, money cannot buy you happiness. In fact, most of the time it is just the opposite. Hold on to what you have loosely. Use your money and your talents to help others. Use them for the Lord.
Lord, although you haven't given my family much, thank you for what you have given us. Thank you for providing for all of our needs. Lord, please help us to "hold on to things loosely" as Betsy used to say. Help us to use what you have given us to further your kingdom. Not just the money that you give us, but everything that you give us. Out talents, our home, our ministry, our time, everything, Lord. Help us to use it for your glory. In your name I pray. Amen
The following is a video of a group of Mathare children singing at the compassion project. Below the video are the lyrics.