Youth Ambassador Sarah in East Timor. Photo by Lucy Aulich, World Vision
I wrote this blog as I work through a personal question of what does it really mean to represent Christ with all that I am – with all that I have?
I’m a Christian. I love Jesus and owe my life to Him. He seriously is my best friend, my Saviour and my King.
But it’s interesting being a follower of Jesus. He’s a radical type of guy. If you’ve ever read the Bible you probably know what I’m talking about. Jesus said some pretty controversial stuff. He asks a lot of His followers, whilst also claiming that His burden is easy and His yoke is light. Jesus calls us to love our enemies, to forgive unceasingly and to follow Him no matter what the cost. So often He challenged the cultural norms and I believe He would do the same today.
You see, God calls us to love and serve the people around us no matter what the cost. Our time, resources and money, as well as potentially our life, for our brothers and sisters.
And yet, we often overlook this. Especially the cost part. The sacrifice part. The part that actually requires us to give something of ourselves like our time or money, especially when it comes to “the least of these”. And I’m convinced that it’s not that we are incapable of doing that. I’m convinced we are choosing not to.
Stephen Colbert said “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it”. I think Jesus made it quite clear what He expects when it comes to loving the poor and I often wonder what God thinks of us; of me.
He watches us adorn ourselves with the latest fashion and purchase meaningless items all to enhance our experience of life whilst at the same time manage crisis’ such as famine and refugees. He must look at the poor and vulnerable and frown as we make excuse after excuse for why we spend money the way we do.
You know the saying out of sight out of mind? Well isn’t that exactly what every Christian in Australia is doing when it comes to the poor and marginalised? Can you imagine if the 22,000 children that die each day from hunger lived in our community? Wouldn’t this become front page news? A tragedy? An emergency?
And yet because it’s someone else’s kids, someone else’s life, someone who lives outside our borders, we seem to remain okay.
What I find is that we begin to justify our wealth thinking “I deserve this” or “it’s for this reason I need this item”. But let me throw out a crazy idea – what if our money didn’t belong to us? What if it belonged to God? Would that change how we would spend it? If we saw our wealth as a loan from God? Would he really encourage you to buy a new car, go on another holiday or to decorate your house with expensive paintings?
Now I’m not saying these things are bad – but are they necessary? No. And when they aren’t necessary they become luxury. And then the question is how can we continue to live in luxury when so many people across the world don’t have access to their basic needs? Things like food, clean water, education and healthcare? To ignore the cries of the poor and adorn ourselves with unnecessary things? Doesn’t that just seem crazy. Have we been called to live in such a way? What would Jesus do if He had as much wealth as we do?
As Christians, that is, followers of Jesus, we need to consider our wealth. We need to ask whether our money is ours to decide what to do with. And if it’s not – then we need to be asking the Creator of the universe how He would like us to spend the wealth He has placed in our care. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” Luke 12:48
Wouldn’t this thought radically change the way we spend our money! I guess you could also say our time and energy and all our other resources. Our life is not our own. We were bought at a price. And each day we have been called to take up our cross and lay our lives down for the people around us. To represent Christ with all that we are and all that we have.