I recently finished a book called Kisses from Katie. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do. It's a true story about a 19 year old girl who went to Africa and how her life was changed as she reached out to the people and children there. Katie is now 26 I believe and she's still in Uganda changing lives as she says yes to Christ.
As I read her book the one thing that struck me over and over again was our excess. I look around and I see toys scattered all over most of my house. I see a fridge and freezer full of food. I see piles and piles of laundry, showing me that I have plenty of clothes. I see boxes in closets and corners full of stuff. Stuff that we accumulate and carry around with us. I know I am not rich by America's standards, yet I'm exceedingly rich compared to Uganda and most of the world. I have always struggled within when I think about how much we have compared to most of the world.
As I was reading my Bible the verse "And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20 hit me in a new way. The truly poor, the ones with out excess are the ones in the world right now that are more on fire for God. The areas of severe physically poverty are the areas of amazing spiritual revival. The more I read missionary stories the more I see it. Those who have much and are rich physically lack spiritually. They are so consumed with their stuff, and taking care of their stuff they don't have time for what's truly important, spending time with God.
I think about how busy my laundry, and dishes and toys and electronics keep me. I'm constantly having to clean up something, check on something, take care of something. Those things that call to me often call me away from God. It creeps into my quiet time, it fills my day so that I'm too tired or have too little to give afterward. Yet you look at these countries that have nothing physically, lacking clothing, food, basic needs being met, but the people are blessed and overflowing spiritually. They are craving God, looking to him for all their needs. It amazes me. I see why Christ said Blessed are the poor. I see why the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
I don't know anyone who desires to be poor. Yet I do desire to be apart of God's kingdom. I desire to press into God and to spend time with him. I desire to grow and to change, and to be more like Christ. I don't think I have to loose all my stuff to do it, or move to Uganda, but I do think I need to prioritize God over my stuff. I love missionary stories, LOVE them. They are great at stretching my faith, at reminding me of who God is and at edifying me in my thoughts and my relationship with Christ.
If you haven't read any missionary stories lately I suggest you do. Start with Kisses From Katie, it will rock your thoughts and your faith if you let it.