Friday, December 31, 2010

To Have or Not to Have?

Lavish vacations in an enormous beach house with lobster for dinner each night, spa treatments for the ladies, new cars, a house being remodeled, i-phones for kids, and an easy $80.00 in each of the teens pockets on any given day. Do you live this way? The majority of the world does not, but there are a few who do. Those who bring in well over six figures and enjoy every penny of it. They are the rich, the privileged as some say. However,I wonder just how privileged they are.

Proverbs 30:8 reads, "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."

How does one live with that much luxury and not become enslaved to it? How do you not become so accustomed to it and then not expect it nor associate the meaning of love and happiness with it? I don't know. I've never lived that luxuriously and you know what? I'm glad.

Ruth Bell Graham said once that when she visited the Queen of England and later a missionary living in a mud hut, both times she felt she had entertained royalty. Some of the most incredible, God fearing people I've ever met are those who simply live on their daily bread. They don't have much left over after the bills are paid, yet they are full of life and equally appreciate the small and big things in life. In addition, they are some of the most giving people I know.

There are others I've met who have a lot, but love to give. One of the families I met a few years ago had recently adopted two children from Russia. They live on a good stretch of land, a ranch with horses, and have enjoyed some nice vacations I'm sure. Both parents earn a sizable income. Renee, the mom, shared with me, "We can tithe the ten or twenty percent. That's not a sacrifice for us. We wanted to sacrifice." The result? They adopted two older children from an orphanage in Russia and have had their world turned upside down ever since. Renee told us,"We never had any problems with any of our kids."

Then her husband, Todd chimed in,"We're making up for it now." They have a long road ahead, but show no signs of backing out. They wanted to give back and sacrifice. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of two children and I know they are.

The best reason to have is to give and to much that is given, much is required. I'm drawn to a picture of the Dead Sea in Israel. It is dead because there is no outlet. It is an immense pool of salt water, so much salt that one easily floats on its surface and nothing living can survive in it. I would much rather be a tributary like the Blue Nile. It is the source of the most water and fertile soil in Africa, the hottest continent in the world. The only way to do that is share and spread the love. After all, we can't take anything with us when we leave this world except the people we've loved to Christ. Everything else is temporary.

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