Sunday, October 21, 2012

Poverty to Greatness

Have you ever felt like you were on a swinging pendulum?  That’s the kind of weekend I had.  Yesterday I was able to share with several groups about the Isaiah Challenge during some Navigator Poverty Training seminars.  I got to listen to a new friend of mine speak with earth shaking passion about the needs in my local community.  I heard about families that don’t have soap to bathe with, much less running water for a hot shower.  I heard about a “lazy” father who gets up at 2am to catch a 3am bus to drive him to his 5a.m job so that he can provide for his family.

So the pendulum then swings to Sunday morning church.  My pastor is doing a financial series.   “Earn all you can; Save all you can; Give all you can.”  It is a great series.  He is speaking to a room filled with middle to upper class people.  We all ate a hot breakfast.  We all took a hot shower.  No one caught a 2a.m bus.  We all have on our “Sunday Best”.  Our Pastor challenges us in our giving.  He says that God would not have us save all we can to hold it in our “First National Trust Fund” forever. . .we might as well be throwing it into the sea.  God gave us HIS finances to steward for HIS KINGDOM.  Our Pastor challenges us to give God our very best.  My mind wandered to our local food and clothing outreaches.  How many times have I gone through my closet and donated the things that I never wear.  You know, the old stuff that’s out of fashion.  Of course I then pat myself on the back for giving it instead of selling it in a garage sale.  What if I gave my best?  What if I decided to “clothe the naked” with my brand new pair of designer jeans instead of my old faded throw-aways?

Pendulum swings again.  Now I am teaching a Sunday school class.  Not just any class, but the Crusaders.  The Crusaders are all between 70-90 years old.  This group of people is called “The Greatest Generation”.  I talked to them about Noah who was called a “righteous man”.  I talked to them about his descendants.  One of which is named NIMROD meaning rebelliousness.  NIMRODS domain is Babel.  A city of people who wanted to build for themselves; they wanted a kingdom; they wanted a lofty tower.  I likened the “Greatest Generation” to Noah; and NIMROD to my generation.  We are filled with self.  We have ipads, iphones, fancy cars, closets filled with clothes, and rich indulgent foods, we sit in houses with re-fridgerated air!   When we are depressed we take medicine.  When we want something we charge it!  So I asked our “Greatest Generation” to pray for us.  When the Great Depression came they pulled together.  They ate beans and moldy potatoes for months.  Some of them walked miles to get food for their children.  When neighbors were in need, they shared what they had.  This is the point when I saw the pendulum move back to center.  God gave me an “ah-ha” moment.  The weekend all ties together right here in the center of the pendulum.

“The Greatest Generation” was named so for a reason.  Most all of them understand what it means to be in poverty.  They lived it!  What brought them from poverty to greatness?  They understood the message my Pastor wanted to get across today.  Give to those in need!  Give out of a generous heart.  Don’t hoard things here on earth.  Store your treasures in heaven.  That attitude brought my grandparents generation out of the Depression and into Greatness.  Can that happen for us?  If you are participating in the ISAIAH CHALLENGE I want you to consider if you are sacrificially giving your best.  Have you been giving up your sodas so that a child can have running water again?  Have you taken a meal to that family whose daddy heads to work at 2a.m?  The ISAIAH CHALLENGE is about much more than physical weight loss; it’s about becoming spiritually healthy.  Moving our mindset from NIMROD into NOAH.  I challenge all of you to give out of your best and not out of your leftovers.  That is what will move us from spiritual poverty into spiritual greatness!