Welfare Christians? Or Fierce!

I’m a part of several online Christian women’s groups. That said, I wanted to talk about something today that is just beginning to alarm me some. In fact, it really tears my heart out to see.

Christian’s want to go to church. They want and see the need for fellowship. They arrive, greet and sit down. They agree with the message being preached. They are genuinely convicted by God’s Word, and changed by His loving grace. They pray heartfelt prayers to God because they recognize they need Him. Christians want to change. They want to think and meditate for the entire week on God’s Word. And come back for the next service to their sanctuary from the struggles and filth and taxation of the world.

Many do not want to serve though.

Sure, they’ll put in their 1x a month for the “required 12x a year service in nursery.” Required. I’m wondering when serving had to become a requirement that churches had to put into black and white ink for their members.

Romans 12:1 speaks of how we are to present our bodies a “living” sacrifice because it’s our “reasonable” service. Not our required service. Reasonable. Why? Because, we are Gospel believers and we have received the benefits of God the Son, Jesus Christ’s full and complete payment for our sins. Which before that pivotal moment in history only meant we had earned hell unconditionally. We are Gospel receivers. Why do we think we deserve a rain check for serving in the local church?  Why do we keep on wanting and asking and dreaming and desiring for the benefits God promised to His born again children, yet many of us don’t want to be productive and beneficial participants in the body of Christ?

When did America become okay and accept a welfare mentality of Christianity? When did we become okay with being mostly receivers and not givers. We love talking about how the first will be last and the last will be first. We love talking about how greatness isn’t only standing in the pulpit, but in the background serving. Christ is our leader and He led by serving others. Even by washing their calloused and cracked  heals, un pedicured or uncliped toe nails, washing layers of street filth , toe jelly, and dirt off of their feet and ankles.  It was nothing like washing our clean sock wearing feet encased in carpet, pavement, and tile treading shoes.

I think it’s absolutely commendable that we want to be a productive asset to our American culture. We are part of this world and so we ought to live in it and should do our best to be salt to the earth and society.  Yet we kind of dread it if we are asked to fill in for nursery or when our scheduled time of service comes around. We don’t really want to consider being a volunteer in church ministries because we don’t want to commit. We believe time, is our time. Except for the time we are spending setting our alarm clocks, getting dressed, going to church, worshipping, and listening to God’s Word.  I’m preaching to myself here too!

I am heartbroken because being a missionary everyone looks at me and thinks, “Well, that’s YOUR job. You are paid to serve.” Am I? We need to eat and live in a culture that can hardly provide for its own , so we would never take a job from the ones who need it. America understands this pretty well given the current situations going on. A good friend that has been on the field for well over 30 years now recently said, “I serve God not because I’m a missionary. I’m a missionary because I want to serve God.”

I clean my house, change poopy diapers, do laundry and line dry them and  then make a mad dash to take them off as fast as possible when it begins to sprinkle. It’s been raining for the last 2 full days and sadly I have a load of laundry still sitting in my washer waiting to be hung. I cook all our meals, do everything a house wife does in America with quite a few less helps available to average mommies in America. Although I have a lot more than anyone else in our communities. I’m blessed beyond degree!  Grocery runs are one of the more difficult things we do.  Travel being anywhere from 2-5 hours on mostly dirt roads. Because of the location of the community we serve in the Andes Mountains everything’s pretty far from us. We don’t have one stop grocery stores. There is a meat shop, there are different hardware stores, there is a creamery for cheese, there is a vegetable and fruit market, and there’s even little shops just for socks and underwear. Our milk is always powdered milk since there is no way to bring the amount we consume in 2-3 weeks and store it at the same time.  It takes a whole day and many times 2 days just to get our groceries and other needs.

Then there is also ministry. We serve in a church of about 30 people.  During our services I take the 12 year olds and under along with my 1-year-old and 3-year-old and teach them a Bible lesson and it’s also a makeshift nursery for a couple of little ones. There is no one else. And I feel grateful to be able to teach these children about God. They heard the story of Noah and Moses for their first time this past month.  They never knew why God placed a rainbow in the sky every time after it rains. This is something so basic that my little 3 year already knows. In fact she thinks that it’s actually the rainbow that washes the its-bitsy- spider out the spout and not the rain. 🙂 Teaching and instilling in them a firm foundation is a privilege.

Christian America, when did serving God become a chore instead of a privilege? When it’s a chore or complained about even on Facebook and social media you are heaping wood, hay, and stubble for your eternal rewards. I don’t pretend to know your heart. I only know my own and my own struggles and then sometimes I end up finding out how little I knew my heart after all, but our God knows our hearts.

I’ve struggled with my motives and complaining quite a bit myself. Some days I want to just sulk around because I’m the only one that doesn’t ever get any nourishment from God’s Word being taught from the pulpit. There also is my young husband. He’s only 29 years old and we’ve now been on the field for 4 years. He’s pastoring a church,  full-time, and we are also working as missionaries in these two communities.

Sometimes, I long for those days where we got to sit snugly close to each other during services when we lived in America. That warm Christian encompassing bubble of  love and comfort we get from being with other believers and fellowshipping at services. I always enjoyed hearing him sing next to me because then I got to sing out a tiny bit more, just for the fun of it.  I miss that connection and being able to talk about what we each gleaned from the message. Sometimes, I even complained about how long the message was and the rabbit trails-“Just LAND the plane” moments. Yeah, shame on me. We now long for those words of comfort and challenge. How foolish I was to dread those moments. Now, I ask him about what he taught on our 50 minutes drive back home on the mountain dirt roads as we spot ant-eaters and foxes crossing on moonlit nights (or a random dog with a parrot in its mouth-catch of the night.)

My life may seem like an out-of-this-world experience and hard to identify with. And definitely not something to be desired, and if so by maybe 1 in 20,000. But I’m just a blogging mommy that loves fashion and Pinterest and a great DIY project just like the next American mommy. Trying to enjoy these moments of babyhood as they fly past me and only remind me of the days to come when we will have to say good-bye to our beloved children as they go back to America. I choose not to think about this.

Right now I have a snotty nosed, slobbering 14 month old baby, that is teething his final 2 teeth. And with his mouth on my laptop screen! Haha! I have a 3-year-old who is learning not to be sassy and is learning to talk quieter rather than squealing everything out. She’s playing on her Spanish leap-frog and counting in Spanish with the sing-a-long. We have struggles in our marriage just like anyone else. We’ve been married nearly 8 years ONLY by God’s active mercy and grace on our lives. I LOVE my husband dearly. We have a tight budget like so many young American families. We appreciate and value family time and the days that Daddy is home just as much.

We also have so many blessings. We do not have any debt because of God’s convicting in our lives. It is a massive load off us to live debt free! Try it…warning though, you may like it too much to ever go back to the load of debt. 🙂

There have been 2 deaths recently in our communities. One was a young lady I knew, Aracely, and was hoping she would become receptive to the Gospel one day. She had been in my home a couple of times. A month ago she was struck by lightening while she was planting a baby pine tree on the hillside and died under the age of 35. Life is a vapor. Not just for the ones without eternal security, but for us also.

To all of you who faithfully serve God, His richest blessing are for you. There are special promises just for you. It doesn’t matter how small the service. Even giving a cup of cold water to someone who needs to be refreshed, if done as to the Lord is a service with eternal value.  I’m reminded of this every time someone comes to our door for a visit. Mostly they don’t want to come inside since they prefer to sit outside. They typically live anywhere from a 10-40 minute walk away. Being hospitable is a huge cultural expectation here. As it should. We will never understand the barriers that are brought down through the simple act of hospitality! And we are always offered something to drink from tea to lemonade and we do likewise.

Why not find a way to actively serve God and show Him that you are not only willing but ARE going to be a living sacrifice for His eternal glory. He says “IF” we love Him than we “WILL” obey Him.

Be fierce for Him! Be bold, but not offensive. Be prudent and tactful. Be wise and lean on the Holy Spirit’s direction in everything.  Be purposeful. Ask God to direct you and to enable you to be willing to have your desires and dreams changed for a higher more eternal purpose than all the glam and instagram moments our culture offers you.

John 15:5

“For without Me , you can do nothing.”  The same is true with Him! With Him, we can do all things!

From my heart to yours,

Sandy

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dianna Walters says:

    Love it. Thanks Sandy for writing this! I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Audrey says:

    Love!! Thank you. Thank you for your transperancy and faithfulness!!

  3. Alyssa says:

    Very well put! Sadly, there are many times through life where Christians become too comfortable in their own bubbles and reaching out or serving makes them uncomfortable. Gentle, honest reminders like yours of how Christians should be living helps put things back into a proper perspective and is an encouragement to not become content with the bare minimum.

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