Thursday, December 25, 2008

Actually, this really is not about guilt. This is about motivation and more importantly love. Over at SCL Jon has proposed a book club. We will be reading Crazy Love. I ordered the book and got it right away so I started reading it last night. I'm almost finished with my first read through. Before discussing something by chapter with a group of people I like to read the entire book then read the chapter just before the discussion. It helps me to form a better view of what is being said, especially in a book like this.

I started thinking about one of the things mentioned in this book. I've actually said this from the pulpit so the statistics aren't new to me but the way I looked at them today is. Over 50% of the world's population lives on less than $2 per day. My family is considered pretty poor by American terms. We earn close to half of the national median income and support 6 people on this income. We still spent about $300 on Christmas today. In other words we spend about a half years salary for over 50% over the world on a single day.

Then I read a comment where a person said they thought we should focus on giving to others in the world which was responded to by someone Anonymously saying they rejoiced but did not feel guilt over the plight of the less fortunate because they cannot change that world only the world around them. This person even said that some were called to live the life of poverty but not this person.

I think that is the sentiment of so many in America. We are concerned about what is comfortable. We want to give, but not to the pain. You remember that line right? The Princess Bride has a scene where Wesley challenges the prince to a duel to the pain. He then describes everything it will cost the loser. Of course the prince surrenders because that is unthinkable. We do the same thing. We are asked to give till it hurts and then give some more. We can't bring ourselves to that level of giving. It doesn't really matter what kind of giving I'm talking about.

Sure, we might be willing to give 10% and maybe even more as long as we can still have what we "need." We might even go on a few missions trips, but do we really give till it hurts?

I really don't think we do, because we are called to share each other's burdens and we don't do that. Even here in America there are truly poor and destitute that we overlook. We come up with excuses about how they deserve it or they will just take out money and buy drugs and alcohol, but Jesus didn't really give us an excuse when he called us to help the poor among us did he?

I don't think we should be feeling guilt this season, or any season, but I do think we need to feel motivated by love. If we aren't completely over the top in love with God and moved to do His will by that love then we will feel guilty. If you read this today and think I'm trying to make you feel guilty maybe it is because you aren't properly motivated. If you read this today and are motivated to get out and do then you got the point. If you read this and don't feel guilt or motivation then I hope you are actually involved in giving to the pain, because otherwise I'm afraid that you are sorely lacking a relationship with Christ.

Merry Christmas.