Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chained Yet Free

This is my first update in a while, and the first update about my mission trip to Africa. God is without a doubt preparing me for Boma in many different ways. The first is with regard to finances and material possessions.

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I wouldn't say that I'm a spender or a hoarder, but my wife has affectionately called me a "pack rat" in the past. While she admits it's more of a joke than anything, I've come to see myself from this perspective as I'm preparing for Africa. By the world's standards, I would be far from the definition of a pack rat; by God's standards, it fits perfectly.

One of the ways I've been preparing financially is to go through stuff that we don't need and sell it (and give away other things we simply don't use anymore, as part of the cleaning process). As I've been doing this the past month, God has been loosening the grip of my heart from my stuff. I've always wanted to hold onto the boxes of baseball cards I collected as a kid, or the books and papers from graduate school. They would be worth money some day, or be valuable to me in my career at some point, I tell myself. But still they've sat collecting dust and taking up space in the garage.

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The reality, I've discovered, is twofold: the only value they hold is what they can provide for others who have a greater need than I do; and God has already given me more than enough. You see, I've been looking at these possessions from a worldly perspective - that they will somehow provide me with value that I believe I need. From an eternal perspective, they are things God has given me in abundance to use as a blessing for others. Selling my baseball cards so that I can help people in a third world country better survive is of infinitely greater value than having a few extra dollars to buy another book for my bookshelf (yes, only a few extra dollars - I finally did a little research and found out that my card collection probably isn't worth much).

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While I've been letting go of material possessions and finances in favor of preparing to give to the people of Boma, I have become free of the chains that keep me bound to what I own - actually, I realize that my stuff had owned me. My heart has moved away from valuing material things and onto the things of Jesus' heart - His people. I am learning how to better use what I've been given for the will and to the glory of God.

So now I am chained. I am chained to Jesus yet more free than I have ever been in my life; because I have Christ, I have everything I could ever need in both this life and the one to come. I have Christ, therefore I have life in abundance.


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