Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Am the Rich, Young Ruler

There's a restlessness in me I can't ignore.

A doubt.  A deeper understanding.  A sadness because I don't want to do what I know I need to.

What does solidarity with the poor really look like?

I drive up to House of Hope in my car.  I know there is not another Subaru for kilometers from where I am now.  I make sure to leave nothing in it.  I am thankful for the alarm, and ashamed that I am so concerned over a possession that no one in this neighborhood could remotely afford. 

It's Sunday, and I am picking up the kids for church.

"Tia, your car is so bonito!  I like it!"  

They are amazed when I roll up their window from my seat as we get on the highway.  They look at Coen's carseat in the back, something so "necessary" that most of them have never seen up close.  I think of how many younger siblings they all have.

We live in such different worlds....

I sit across from Susi as we are planning out the month's events.  She tells me of her dream to study.  She wants to study social work, so that she can learn how to help our kids and their families.  She can enroll for classes next year, but she'd have to not work in the mornings.  With tears in her eyes, she asks me to pray for someone to help her pay the $180 a month it will take to study.  

Please don't ask me how much my undergrad cost.  

She tells me that since her son is in college now too, her $600/month paycheck won't be enough to pay for them both, as well as the monthly bills.

Please don't ask me how much we make each month.

We pray together.  She cries as she thanks me for all I do for this ministry, and she is so thankful for our friendship.  I am thankful, too.  But I can't help but think about all the parts of my life and my experiences I will probably never share with her.  Although she has never once, not even remotely judged me for having money or possessions, it leaves me sad to know that 

we live in such different worlds...  

We enter the classroom where the kids are playing.  Coen is a little over 3 months.  7 year old Claudia wants to hold him, touch him, love on him, and all I can think about is what if you have lice again?  

I wonder if I will ever let Coen play on the carpet, knowing where their shoes have been.

It's not that I don't love you guys, I'm just trying to protect my son.

In that instant I realize that I am trying to protect Coen from the things our kids here experience everyday.  I am shocked with the realization that my standards for my child are so much higher than the kids I "serve" here.  

Jesus didn't live in a different world.

When I used to read the story of the rich young ruler, I always came away happy.  Happy because I have never been "rich" according to U.S. standards.  Happy because I've never been controlled by the extent of my possessions or paycheck.  Happy because I "gave up so much" to become a missionary.

But could I give up everything I owned and give to the poor?  Could I sacrifice the safety and security of my family to live in the same world as the community I serve?  

And then I realize, I am that rich, young ruler.  I am walking away sad because I know that those are things I just won't do right now.

There is a sadness in me that understands what following Christ really means: following Him.  

Choosing sacrifice.

Choosing poverty.

Is it possible to choose these things??  Lord, I want to follow you.  Help me to choose these things the way you did.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks as always. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this resonates and captures what's been on my mind of late. Sigh. It's a battle I don't know if I'll be at peace with until Jesus returns...I think I need to write about it too!