I read a book that changed my life last month. It was a book that told horrific stories about cruel people who make children into hardened, unfeeling soldiers by forcing them to bite other children to death…stories of women in Haiti who make mud cookies for their starving children… Real life stories of torment and anguish and loss that I can hardly fathom.
We like to talk about our plenty as blessings, but is it possible that we live cursed? Could it be that our abundance and our prosperity is blessing in the context of being given and poured out and sacrificed? How is it I do nothing for that baby shuddering a shaky, final breath in a mud hut somewhere when my cupboard and freezer and fridge are full of good food to eat? I dare think I know what it means to be hungry?
It is a deception, this mindset that just sending a check or praying quick, random, disconnected prayers is interacting with the oppression, injustice, poverty, bigotry and abuse occurring around the world. We lie to ourselves. That prayer and check is a rather feeble effort, perhaps nothing but an action to ease our guilty conscience. It’s time to get real.
We’re not giving all. We don’t have a clue what sacrifice is. Somewhere around the world, an eight-year-old girl has lost her dignity to vicious men who sell her body for money.
Palmer Chinchen said, “Sometimes we give a lot of attention to getting doctrine right – when how we live everyday is not right.”
Do not hear me say that doctrine cannot or should not be discussed, but what is doctrine anyways?
I am convicted.
It is easy to discuss doctrine and religion, but to live it? To offer up myself as a living sacrifice, giving all for the sake of the Gospel and the glory of Jesus Christ?
Is this not true religion?
To be love, rather than talk of love. To be sacrifice, rather than talk about sacrifice. To forego my own pleasure and gain and offer it instead, to the least of these. To squelch the self-seeking flesh with the courage of absolute surrender to Christ. Is this not the discovery of true religion? Is this not the discovery of doctrine, real doctrine, doctrine with hands and feet and hearts?Is this not how I have been called to live?
“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8b