Yesterday, in a flurry of activity, our family relieved our home of four boxes of books and videos, some bags of donations and several other bags of things to sell.
And still my home groans under the weight of “stuff.”
As our family continues to read and study the Book of Acts, one thing is obvious. Nothing has the power to transform lives and hearts like the Word of God. I have read so many books and commentaries over the years about the Bible. They were good and insightful, but nothing has ever produced in me or our family the changes that we experience when we read and study the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter for ourselves.
Our lives, though radical and challenging to some, do not even come close to resembling the lives of the early Christians.
And so, borne out of a desire to simply obey the Scriptures and imitate Jesus and His disciples, we are unfettering ourselves.
What does that mean? What does it look like?
In Acts 5:41, we see that the Apostles are freed from prison after being beaten and commanded not to talk or teach any more about Jesus.
Their reaction: “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
You see, I am not like this. I rejoice when my house is clean.
I am Martha.
I do not want to be. Not any longer. And I will do everything in my power to break the ties that bind me to things that drown me and my ability to be fruitful for the Lord.
Listen to the interaction between Martha and Jesus in Luke 10 when Martha is distracted and doesn’t have time to be with the Lord: The Lord answered her,“Martha, Martha, you areanxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I am so like Martha. I am anxious and troubled about many things. And these things rob me of my joy. They rob me of my time. They rob me of energy to go from house to house and proclaim that the Christ is Jesus.
You see, I have fields to mow, houses to look after, a business, animals, stuff overflowing in closets and on shelves, things that need washing, dusting, repairing……
I believe, though I am ashamed to admit it, that I can reach more people in today’s society if I am “one of them.” I can relate better and gain more respect in the eyes of the world if I look the right way, dress the right way, say the right thing, the right way, with the right tone and in the right time.”
But what about the disciples?
They were poor in possessions, yet they were rich in Christ. They were uneducated men, but rich in wisdom. They boldly pointed out the sin in others and called them to repent. Wherever they went. Whenever they went. They didn’t try to “win people over” with wise words or eloquent speech, nice homes, fancy degrees.
And what about what Jesus says over and over in the Scriptures in various ways,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or
‘What shall we wear?’ Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.
- How many dresses do I need for church?
- How many articles of clothing do I need to live?
- How many books do I need?
- How many dishes, pots and pans are required for cooking and eating?
- How many toys do my children need?
You see, though I live in a home much smaller than most, I have waaaaaaaay more than I need or can even possibly use. I am drowning in my possessions and I have become a slave to them.
Are there poor people around me who might benefit from these things?
But I honestly don’t know.
Would Jesus define someone as poor that has cable t.v. and a cell phone? Even the most poor around us seem to have these things and much, much more in abundance. I have delivered meals to people who live in mobile homes and trailers that are overflowing with things to the point of littering the yard.
But it is so obvious that there are many people around me who are utterly poor in Spirit. Every where I look I see sick and hurting souls who need my time and attention and love. Maybe this is what I should give them instead of more “stuff.”
Maybe I am a rich American not because I deserve it, but because God wants me to use my wealth to give to those that are truly poor and without basic necessities like clean water or food or shelter.
How has my mind become so warped to think that I need a vacation, a vacation home, savings for a rainy day or a retirement cruise, when brothers and sisters around the globe are homeless or starving?
I have believed a lie fed to me by the Father of lies. I have believed his words over the Words of Christ.
- I have believed that these things are owed to me.
- I have believed that these things give me security.
In Acts 2 we can so clearly see how the believer’s lived. How can anyone with a heart for God argue with these words of Scripture?
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day,attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Today I repent.
Lord-willing I will keep changing
and believing that Jesus will supply my needs.
I need only sit at His feet and learn from Him.