Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Road to Reality

Earlier this week I was in the process of sorting through my books and going through what is a painful process for me- trying to decide which ones to leave behind when we depart for Paraguay. For those of you who don't know, I'm sort of a book addict and I love to read- especially anything to do with history or theology- which creates huge problems for me because in some way, I find them all important. 

Now, that I've got that out in the open, let me share what's really been troubling me. In the midst of this process, I discovered a book that I haven't touched in at least 10 years- the Road to Reality by K.P. Yohannan- the president of the Gospel for Asia missions organization. I have to admit that God has completely blindsided me with Dr. Yohannan's book- and yes it is fittingly titled. 

Let me elaborate a little- As missionaries, my wife and I often have people tell us how much they respect what we do- usually in terms that make us both quite uncomfortable. The fact is, that while we see what we are doing as important, we personally don't find it that extraordinary. Let me be a little clearer. In about a week we are going to get on a plane and leave behind the comfort of our families to serve Christ in a different part of the world, but our goal is still the same as it is here in the US- to serve Christ.

While reading Yohannan's book this week I have been overwhelmed with conviction concerning the American Church, particularly the materialism that has crept into my own life- even as a "missionary." I discovered that my life may not be as "missional" as I thought. As Christians, regardless of our culture, it's our responsibility to do all that we can with all that we have to share the good news of Jesus. No kidding. The sad thing is that if I am really honest, the way I spend my time, energy, and money doesn't back up the statement I just made. People around the world ( and in my neighborhood) are starving physically and spiritually, and on most days I'm too busy trying to entertain me to do anything about it. 

This is the question that really gets me. Is my comfort more important to God than someone elses needs? Does Jesus want me to have a CD more than he wants someone to eat? What if its a Christian CD? Does God really care? I know these aren't easy questions, and truthful answers to them may put a lump in your throat as they have mine, but if we are really going to follow Christ, we have to deal with the materialism that has dwarfed our faith and allowed us to put our trust in everything but the God we claim to serve. The fact that many of us are uncomfortable with even having this conversation proves how enamored we are with our so called "blessed" lifestyles. 

As I said, God is convicting me of the materialism in my own life, and from this point forward I want to respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to do all that I can with all that God gives me. I know that it won't be easy, but it will make me a better reflection of Christ, and that- afterall- is the goal. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, NIV)

peace and joy,

Shaun
 

2 comments:

Brenda said...

Sounds like a great book, I will have to try and find it.

Nice to see you reflect like that before you come.

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

I feel your pain on leaving behind the books. That was harder for me than deciding on clothes or household supplies. I also struggle with the question of "HOW MUCH of my life am I living for me and how much for God?" It's a tough one. Hope you bring the book with you!