~ a continuation of Meeting #2: our collective musings on section 1 (pp. 1-43) ~
Winter 2007, Chapter 4 and following (pp.29-43)
There are so many thing to point out from these chapters and I will refrain from doing so – I am confident that you don’t need me to repeat every good thing that Jen Hatmaker says, as it would takes thousands and thousands of words to do so – but I do have one specific challenge for each of us.
Use these last chapters of section 1 to reevaluate your life and begin to beg the Spirit of God to change your vision concerning this one idea: you are rich.
“Rich?” you might say. “Have you seen my house? Have you seen the second-hand clothes my kids wear? Did you know that our last vacation was our honeymoon and that took place in a hotel in Tulsa?!” But Jen’s research is very revealing and makes it so clear that we in America are unbelievably wealthy.
Think about some of the stats Jen shares on page 32:
1.2 of the world’s 6 billion people live on $.23 a day.
Half of the entire world’s population lives on less than $2 a day.
If you make $50,000 annually, you, my friend, are in the top 1 percent of the world’s wealthiest people. And for those of us on a single-salary basis, if you make $35,000 annually, you are in the top 4 percent of the world’s WEALTHIEST PEOPLE.
So…my husband is the pastor of a tiny church and I am a homemaker and we enjoy a life that only 4% of the entire world can claim? Are you KIDDING me??
Its confession time: I’ve mentioned our white farmhouse several times this past year; the first house we’ve owned, we built it ourselves almost 3 years ago. It has 3 bedrooms, a spacious office, a sunroom, a claw-footed slipper bathtub and a nice, big yard. It is beautiful and clean (well…it WAS clean) and new and comfortable.
It is by no means excessive; we kept to a very modest budget when building it. But in truth, we never should have been able to rent, live in, but especially own such a home. The sole reason we were able to afford it is because my husband’s Mom unexpectedly died and his Dad was so incredibly generous to bless us with an early inheritance so we might make a down payment on a house.
But guess what? I dream about our next house ALL the time. It would be bigger. It would have a couple of guestrooms. More bookshelves. Different flooring. A schoolroom.
Once we build that house, I think, we’ll be set for life.
Funny. Don’t we always think that once we have the next thing, we’ll finally be content?
But isn’t that the essence of true contentment? Being happy about what you have RIGHT now? Realizing how rich and blessed you are this very moment?
Maybe I don’t need that next house. Maybe I don’t even need the house I have now…
Maybe what I need is spiritual open-heart surgery.
My greatest hope, by the end of this reading, is that we will have a better understanding of the truly outstanding situations we live in, that we will thank God for His blessings, and that we will stop the madness of always trying to reach that next level.
“Its just that most of us have no concept of our own prosperity. Nor do we have an accurate understanding of the plight of the rest of the world.”
Maybe this change in perspective is just what we need to begin the quest of looking outward and away from our own futile and passing hopes and wishes. Its easy to berate the billionaires for not doing more to save the world…until you realize that you are actually quite near the top of the ladder yourself.
Questions for thought or discussion:
Have you considered yourself “poor” because you don’t have what the neighbors have? Has the American Dream of security, 2 cars, a house, a huge TV, a yearly (or even every FIVE years) vacation, a fat college fund, and a retirement plan become something you see as normal and necessary?
Because you’ve not considered yourself rich, have you kept what you DO have to yourself? Do you see giving and helping others in a self-sacrificing way as something that those in the next financial rung can do?
And seriously…how much money do you spend on trash bags a year? (I spend a LOT on trash bags).
Repeat after me: I am rich. I have everything I need. (Now repeat repeatedly until you believe it).