While riding the bus today in Honduras, we passed house after house – cinder blocks with tin roofs, barred windows and doors, with fortress-like fences surrounding them. As we stood at our final church plant waiting to board the bus this afternoon, I asked my friend, Amber…
“Do you ever wonder why we were born in America, and they [gesturing to a family across the road] were born here? Why we have opportunities and privileges that these people and their children will never know?
We both wonder.
Such questions have plagued me since my first visit to Honduras in 2007. When I see their faces, homes, and struggles, I feel overwhelmed, burdened, and guilty.
Overwhelmed because I can’t help them all.
Burdened to help them all.
Guilty because I have so much, and they have so little. Guilty because I live in place that affords me so many advantages, and they don’t.
Then, God grabs my heart and says, “They are content in me, Sarah…I am enough for them. That’s why I tell you to go into all the world and share the gospel, so they can know me.”
All week I have fought this guilt over my “advantages,” arguing with myself about the “fairness” of where we are born and in what time. Even though I serve a God who is (thankfully) not “fair” definition our human sense of fairness, I still wonder and struggle.
As I fretted over this and my “American” guilt, part of a verse from Luke 12 kept popping in my head: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48
While locating the verse, I read all of Luke 12, which includes the parable of the rich fool, an admonition not to worry, and a call to watchfulness.
Verses 22-34 spoke directly to me:
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.And how much more valuable you are than birds!25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Fatherknows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom,and these things will be given to you as well.
I know this is true. I have read this passage multiple times, and I have heard sermons centering on it. But, tonight I saw it differently.
This week I have seen this passage reflected in the lives of Hondurans we have served.
They seek his kingdom first. Their love for and thankfulness to Him (and to us for helping them as His servants) is evident. By my “American” standards, they had little. But, by God’s kingdom standards, they have it all – Him – all we need. They have no reason to worry, for He clothes and feeds them just as He promised.
While I feel convicted, I also feel the weight of my responsibility to these people and to all those in the world – whether in my neighborhood or in the banana plantations of Honduras.
To share the gospel with them.
The passage in Luke continues.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor.Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Where my treasure is, my heart will be also.
If you’ve been in church much, you’ve heard these passages before. But, I hope you will stop and pray, reflecting on…
What am I building in this world? What is my treasure? Does my life reflect my desire to see all people come to him? I am more worried about my furniture selections than my sister across the globe who hasn’t heard the gospel? Why am I worried?
There’s no way around it. In America, we’ve been given much; therefore, much is expected.
I have no idea what this means for me in the long term. I can’t answer all the questions I have been asking, but I rest knowing He knows. I rest knowing He’s commanded me to not worry, to seek is kingdom first (not second behind my family or church or whatever), and to be a good steward of the “much” He’s given me.