**Warning** I feel like lately my posts could be seen as downers, pretty heavy stuff. It hasn't been my intention to be so intense. But being in the Word will do it to you. It constantly confronts my sin and beckons me to the life that God desires for me. I can't think of anything better to write about . . . even if it isn't all rainbows and butterflies! So here goes . . .
I'm reading through the Gospels, a chapter each day. But I have a problem . . . I can't get past Luke 12. Today is my second day to read it and I still feel like I can't move on. It is a call to action that I haven't yet fully taken.
Luke 12 is wrecking me.
You should read it. Now even. But be warned, once you know, you can't go back to claiming ignorance. You either choose to obey or disobey the Word of the Lord. There is no middle ground.
Scared? You should be. I didn't really see it coming. I was just doing my daily reading, loving being immersed in the life of Jesus each day. I did expect for that Life to radically confront mine, but maybe I was secretly hoping it would be a little more gentle, less in my face. Nope.
So I'm reading along and verses 1-12 teach a warning against hypocrisy, about fearing God above man, about our value to God, not being afraid to acknowledge God before men. Good stuff.
Then I get to v. 13-21 about the Rich Fool. He has so many crops that he has to build bigger barns to hold it all. He delights and feels secure in all his possessions, so much so that he decides he can spend a few years just eating, drinking, and being merry. Not so. That very night God demands his soul and all that stuff is left behind.
We all know that our hope and treasure shouldn't be in possessions. (Although putting that into practice is a little tougher than you'd expect, right?) But verse 21 struck me as never before . . . "So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."
What does it mean to be "rich toward God?" That question stuck in my mind as I kept reading.
I read on in v. 22-31 about not being anxious about anything . . . what you will eat, drink, or wear because God knows that you need them and will provide . . . "seek his kingdom and all these things will be added to you."
Here is where I really started struggling. What about those people who are seeking God, but are watching their children die from hunger? Or those that are dying of diseases because they don't have any clean water to drink, but love Jesus with all of their hearts?
I know God is a Promise Keeper, so I started asking how it is that so many who love Him could be experiencing such poverty and hopelessness on earth. How do they feel as they read this passage? Do they question God's love for them?
Verses 32-34 gave me my answer. They probably don't question God's love for them.
They question mine.
My love for God. My love for them.
I'm being called out on the two greatest commandments . . . Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus acknowledges that there will be needy people on the earth, but that God absolutely desires to provide for them. How? Through His children . . . "Sell your possessions and give to the needy (v33)." Do I really love my neighbor as myself? As I heard Katie Davis say, "Myself doesn't want to starve, so . . ."
Verse 34 says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Ouch. Is my treasure in my stuff or in being a part of seeing PEOPLE cared for and given the Gospel? Is this what it means to be rich toward God?
Somehow I kept going, but verse 35 hit me hard, "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning." Basically, get in the battle and stay in the battle. Stay awake! Get on board the mission God has given you and don't give up.
And if all this wasn't enough, verses 47 & 48 put the nail in the coffin (funny expression, but quite appropriate here . . . put myself in the coffin and nail it shut . . . am I ready to die to self?)
Anyway . . . my heart was heavy with the Word and then I read this . . . "And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating . . . Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."
After being confronted with this Truth, I feel that my life as it is now has me prepped for a severe beating. I've clearly seen the will of the Master, from all of Scripture, but even specifically in Luke 12. I can't pretend like I don't know. It is a matter of obedience.
I have always been brokenhearted over those in poverty, in hunger, and thirst, without their basic needs being met. But I will no longer let it stop at my heart. It has to propel me into action. Not that I haven't ever done anything to help, but I know I can do more. I have certainly been given much. Much is required, not suggested, from me.
I've been reading Kisses from Katie and God has used it to stir my heart to radical obedience. But I think I (we) so often have a tendency to think that radically living out the Word means we have to move to Africa and live in a hut. For some, like Katie, it does. And it might for me or you. But I fully believe that God calls and empowers us to live that same radical life wherever He has placed us. How can I live this life right here in New Orleans?
I'm certainly not done processing all this and I'm asking and listening for how God wants me to specifically respond to this Word. But I can tell you that for starters the Gilbert house is about to be purged! I so don't want my heart to be bound up in possessions so many are about to be sold!
You'd think that being faced with this Word would leave me scared or nervous, but the exact opposite is true. I'm excited at the thought of becoming even more free from the things of this world and living a life more in tune with the heart of God.