Monday, March 27, 2006

The Fat Ones

We sing a lot of songs in church that talk about how much we need from God and how desperate we are for Him to give that to us. To me that's a nice thought but when I wake up I'm here, in California, getting a $100,000 education, getting fat, worrying about which things to spend my money on, and it's hard for me to truly relate to need. I make up this artificial need, I need God to make me feel better, to keep me from stressing out, and sometimes I wonder how God can stand it. In all fairness, God should tell me to shut up until I really need something but He, for whatever reason, decides that I am important enough for His energy. For God, no matter how small it is, my pain is real. But the problem is I don't realize that. I think that my problems are huge but in reality I have what I need, I need nothing.

I can’t help but think that when we sing these songs asking for God to “heal our land” that we are blaspheming. What are we praying for? We’re the fat ones, we’re spoiled already. Are we praying for ourselves or for those who actually need what we are asking for?

-2.6 Billion (this is 40% of the world’s population) do not have proper sanitation.
-1 billion people use unsafe drinking water sources.
-114 million people do not get basic education.
-584 million women around the world are illiterate
-800 million people go to bed hungry each night 300 million of these are children.
-There are 2.2 billion children in the world 1 billion of them live in extreme poverty.
-5 million people in Sudan have no access to health care or a school.
-Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger a majority being children under 5
-A woman in North America has a 1 in 3,700 chance of dying in child birth. In south Africa it’s a 1 in 16 chance.
-There are more slaves alive now than in any other time in History, 27 million.

Is it fair that we have so much and they have so little?

All the need in the world and what are we, the fat ones, doing over here in America? We’re actually telling God we need something. What we should really be praying for is humility. We should be thanking Him for all we have. When we are paying for God to “heal our land” we had better be talking about the people who really need it. And if our prayers are for them then maybe we’re hypocrites. Maybe to truly pray for healing is to prayfor God to take our wealth from us and give it to them. we may actually the infirmity which is infecting the very land we're praying will be healed. Is it fair that we have so much and they have so little?

I realize my writing this post is hypocritical but I am desperate. I am not desperate for God to give me any more than I have (though sometimes I think I am). I am not even desperate for revival, at least not the kind of revival which draws more and more people into a safe haven we call “church.” The revival I am desperate for is the kind that meets needs instead of asking for their own to be met. I am praying for that revival in my own life. I’m praying that I may even be willing to lose everything to meet that need

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
-Matthew 16.26

9 comments:

Ashley said...

Wow. Amazing post!

Mike Exum said...

Very convicting.

Thanks, Wes.

Many blessings...

Travis said...

I agree with you Wes. We have a tendency to pray with all our being for God to bless us when in truth we are the most blessed nation on the face of the earth. We say things like "God Bless America" but God has blessed America. I think that if we are going to ask for God to bless something lets ask for him to bless and heal a land like south africa or another land and people that need it. We strive so much with that request I think sometimes in myself that God must grow extremely weary of our potition for more blessings. What I think "we" the most blessed ones need to say to God is "How can we bless you Father?" How can we with everything you have given us bless you? When we truly get to that point we get closer to purpose the God has for us and then needs will be met.
Good stuff Wes.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

I agree to a point. Yes to be sure God has blessed us so very much and yes we do not use our wealth in very Godly ways always. He blesses in order that we might be a blessing and we don't do that always as much as we should on an individual or corporate basis. Even as the church, the Body of Christ, we don't even tithe on average. If that is the case, I wonder how we do at praying without ceasing.

As far as healing our own land I think it is a great prayer. We need to repent and be delivered of much sin on and in our land. The legacy of how we treated Native Americans, African slaves, Japanese citizens in WWII, to name but a few that quickly come to mind. These sins need to be repented on an individual, governmental, and churchwide basis. These are the things that the spirit of racism can and does use to bring turmoil among us. Think also of abortions committed here and of the murders throughout the centuries. This spilled blood cries out to God just as it did in Genesis. Again here, the enemy can use this against us. I am not saying however that our prayer stops here. God is way bigger than that. I agree that we must pray against that same stuff for South Africa or Rwanda or Afghanistan or...pretty much every country on the face of the earth. We need to pray blessings upon them that they in turn may also bless others. One of the clarion calls of all of scripture is the promise to Abraham that finds its fulfillment in Jesus is "I will bless you to be a blessing to the nations." That promise still must be acted out by God through us which means we must be listening and willing to act in obedience. Here is where your frustration lies. The doing of the word. Yes we must pray for them but also we must give of our time, talent and treasure. I am convicted in the same way as you in that regard.

WES ELLIS said...

inheritor,
I agree with you. I'm a believer in the "jerusalem, judea, ends of the earth" model. We can't expect to minister to the ends of the earth if it's not working for us here where we wake up every morning.

But the problem over there, in Africa and other places, really lies here aswell. We are part of the problem we're praying about. The sin we need to repent of might be our selfishness and apathy long before our abortions and murders. And when we pray that prayer "heal our land" we rarely mean it.

That's just what's on my heart right now.
Good thoughts,
Wes

Victor said...

Staggering stats, brother.

Mike Exum said...

May I suggest a look into the word "empire" as you discern our role in the pains of Africa etc. And while you can find plenty on "empire" in Horsely and Wright, I will once again suggest the book Colossians Remixed: subverting the empire by Walsh & Keesmaat (students of Wright). It is a particularly spicey look at our Christian involvement and complicity in the wrong kind of world order.

Many blessings....

WES ELLIS said...

Thanks Mike,
I really need to get that book... I'll check it out.
-Wes

HereISit said...

My friend belonged to a church that stressed thithing: the first 1/10th was for missions and helping others, etc. After the 1/10th, what one gave was called a sacrifice. That was for the local church.

A good thought, for this land of plenty since even our 1/10th's are greater than some people's 100%s.

During a Stewardship talk in our church the speaker said, "The Good News is that we have the money. The Bad News is that it is in our (your) pockets." This applies to our wealthy country helping the rest of the world.

Hey we don't need a TV in every room. There are many things we can give up, while we still live high on the hog, and have lots left over to give away.