"I cared for you in the wilderness,
in the dry desert where no water was.
When they were fed, they became satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
as a result, they forgot me!"
This past weekend was the Missions Conference for our church. A reunion of sorts when families, sent out from our church, return from the field to share what God is doing and and through their lives. We were able to have extended time with one of these families who serve in Mexico City. They have 4 kids ranging from 8 to 16. Out time with them was both rich and penetrating.
In particular, Teri and I were struck by 2 things. First, it was obvious that their kids were minimally effected by materialism. Having been to their home in the ghettos of Mexico, I can see how the influence of prosperity is simply not experienced by this family. Since they are not surrounded by materialism, as we are in the US, their lives seem to be mostly void of this trapping. It is hard to yearn for something you don't perceive that you need. Contrast that with the mantra of the American culture where "you deserve it", "you can have it", "it is your right" and "it just makes life easier". As a result, we become so focused on what we think we need that we are rarely content with what we have.
The second thing we noticed was how natural the kids helped out. It was just what they did. They helped with the meal, cleaned up and served one another in a most natural way. My 3 yo son immediately fell in love with the 16 yo visitor and he took him in as if he were his own brother. Teri and I had no worries about our kids because they were well cared for by the friends in our house. Although we had not seen them in years, they were immediately a part of our family in every way. It seems that this is another reflection of how they live life. They are foreigners in their land. They need each other and depend on each other. They extend friendship to those they meet as a natural part of their ministry and this has become a part of who they are.
After the weekend, we walked away a little stunned. We were reminded how easy it is to be satisfied. And in our satisfaction to become proud. And in our pride to forget how much we depend on God for all life and godliness. We really do have enough in our culture to convince us this is not true. There really is enough mind numbing amenities to lead us away from a simple life, with a simple faith and a profound devotion. The time with our friends reveled this reality in our lives.
Our prayer has since been that we would be intentional with our kids. That we would be purposeful in living a God-centered life. That we would protect our kids from the deception of all the satisfying pleasures of our world that can convince them (and us) that we don't need God. We have talked about how we must consistently introduce our kids to Christ and his affection, care and call to obedience.
Basically, Teri and I have decided we want to be "weird for Jesus". We want to live life so focused on God and His work in our life that we live to fulfill His purpose for our life in a most natural and committed way. In order for this to happen, I am convinced that we must live deliberately against the grain of our society. We must lead our family with passion - in a path that does not follow the path of this world. We must work diligently to swim against the current of our society or we will be just another "Christian family" that looks no different than every other family in and of the world.
Lord, hear our prayer.