Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm Going To Offend You, Boldly ~ because He asks me to

Do you ever go through times in your spiritual journey where everything points to or speaks to the same thing over and over, like a theme in your life?  I am very much going through that right now.  In my personal life, every message, bible study, devotional and so on are pointing to my communities and friendships.  The Spirit's relentless pursuit of my heart is overwhelming.  And shocking at times.  In regards to my role in BFGO, every message, bible study, devotional and so on are pointing to something I'd like to  pass on.  Bold offense.  Oh Lord have mercy!

On Friday I was in Ohio attending an Orphan Care Summit.  I was blessed to stay with a precious blog friend and her family.  I was quickly introduced to her mother-in-law who is a missionary to Kenya.  We shared stories before leaving for the Summit.  She encouraged me to hear whatever God would speak to me.  I received her encouragement without much thought about it.  10 minutes into the conferenc sitting beside poor Marla, I began to sob.  The video screen was going back and forth between images of orphans living in poverty and the statitistics of what Americans spend annually on Starbucks, beauty products, and all of the other frivolous things we have convinced ourselves that we need.  The statistics were offensive.  The images of the children in poverty were offensive.  And I was sobbing.  Partially because I know and I get it. And partially because I'm guilty.  My toes are a pretty shade of pink as I type.

The thing is I'd love to remind my readers and anyone I have a platform to reach is that the majority of the world lives on less than $2 a day and we can solve it.  But I fear offending people.  I'd love to share that if we gave up coffee we could feed the world, but I don't want my friends to roll their eyes and walk away.  I'd love to point out that we were born into a greedy nation and that every one of us is guilty of making it greedier.  But I don't want to make you feel bad.  I want you to like me.

When we returned back to Marla's house after the first night of the conference, her MIL asked me "So what did you learn? Wait... let me rephrase that, what did God show you?"  I stood silent for a moment and then realized exactly what He was telling me.  He is telling me to "get boldly offensive".  And I so don't want to.  I really don't.  But scritpure says I can serve God or serve man.  I really want to serve God.  And the bible teaches that I can take the easy "lukewarm" way OR His way.  His way calls for obedience.  He is telling me to get offensive and I want to be obedient.  Because the truth is bold.  And the truth is offensive, not because we disagree with it, but because it makes us uncomfortable.

So in this beginning journey of being bold and offensive, I've decided to fall onto the recent writing by Beth Moore in her Bible Study "James, Mercy Triumphs".  She points through all of scripture to indicate that we are to serve the poor, without exception.  And to remember the orphans and widows.  We are not just to care about them but to literally care for them.    See Deut 15:11; Proverbs 17:5; 19:17; 31:8-9 just for starters.  Beth writes "Scripture refers to the poor or poverty-stricken hundreds of times from Exodus to Revelation.  The concept is so constant that, from a Bible student's standpoint, it's virtually impossible to remember God and forget the poor.  The point is not to stir up guilt.  It's to stir up giving.  Simply put, we who have are to open our hands in complete humility to those who don't."  
In another section of the same study on James, Beth says "If you and I worked among the poverty-stricken every single day, we would be willing to speak at any volume and beat down any door in their defense." Well, guess what?  I do work among them.  She further writes "We who are not presently assiged to serve those of humbler means in our workplaces must constantly tune our ears to the voices of those who are.".  So, this is my voice.  I'm speaking volumes.  Can you please tune in?

BFGO is but one organization serving those in poverty; those who are orphaned.  There are many.  If you are not currently opening up your hand to serve with what you have, would you do so now?  If not with us, would you commit to being generous with your means and your resources by pouring into some chartible organization who is dedicated to serving the poor?  For Christians, for those of us who claim to love God, this is non-negotiable.  No one is exempt.  And with the wealth we have as Americans, we have no excuse.  None.  So, would you give up your coffee to provide water to a thirsty child?  Would you forego a pedicure and cute toes to send a child in Zim to school?  Would you sacrifice a yummy dinner at your favorite restaurant to feed several people instead?  If you are paying to send your child to private school, could you spare a little more for one less fortunate?  Is this too bold?  Are you offended?
You can join the offense and get in the game or you can remain defensive.  It doesn't change the truth.

Tomorrow a newsletter is going out about a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT that I cannot share on the world-wide-web.  But it involves an opportunity to help one girl, right now.  If you'd like to know more please go to our website and sign up for the newsletter.

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa Irwin ~
Executive Director