Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Drink the water and die, or give the gift of life.

On my 25 minute ride to a friend's house this morning, as I was enjoying K-LOVE (the only radio station I ever have on!), I was listening to the host talk about K-LOVE joining up with Compassion International (one of the most popular and reputable organization that gives you the opportunity to 'sponsor' a child who needs food, education, clothing, etc) to give listeners an opportunity to give clean drinking water to children in Rwanda.  For a one time gift of $55.00, you can buy a water filter that will provide clean, safe drinking water for an entire family....for a lifetime!  These water systems are able to filter the most dirty, nasty, infectious and highly disease-ridden waters and transform (1 million gallons per filter!) it into crystal clear drinking water.  

The stories that were shared and the realization that dawned on me of so many people, so many children, going without water, or because of their great thirst are drinking water that could make them sick or even kill them.  My heart of course was stirred and I started really thinking about why I (and you) need to give toward this cause.

Sunday evening I said this simple prayer to Christ, "God, take it away from me.  Take away all that I have, because I simply can't keep living such a greedy and self-focused life.  It is eating me alive.  I no longer have the self control to be a good steward and I just need you to take it away.  And the only thing I know to ask is that you please take away all the material possessions and money and 'things' with which you have so abundantly blessed me."  I prayed that prayer because I was at the end of my ropes with myself.  I realized how greed had infected my heart but yet I didn't think I had the strength to change...

Since marrying my wonderful husband four years ago, we have enjoyed a frugal, thrifty, and modest lifestyle and what an incredible blessing it has been, though definitely challenging at times.  A few months ago, our situation changed when my husband was offered a ministry position and we now have a more 'comfortable' income though still not enough to give up our frugality.  And (not coincidentally) the past few months I have really began to struggle with wanting....'things.'  Mainly for our home or yard.  I really would like to invest some money into making our home and landscaping more beautiful, more inviting, more special.  But I know that we simply don't have extra money for such luxuries.  With a mortgage, student loan debt, bills to be paid, a new baby, there just isn't extra.

But I want our home to be a certain way, something we are proud of and feel comfortable inviting guests to.  And for the longest time I simply knew it was out of the question, I couldn't justify buying curtains and curtain rods, couch covers, area rugs, and tablecloths for the house or fencing, mulch, bricks and wood for the yard.  But the more the greed crept up inside me, the more I began to justify those expenses.

I recently made a sale of a few Barbies dolls I owned and received $500.  So my husband and I talked and he said I should use the money I make off the dolls to buy the things for the house that I have been wanting.  I was soooo excited!  I started making lists of what I wanted and what I thought would be useful.  I went to Lowe's, searched online, and starting checking out garage sales.  It didn't take me long to realize that $500 (which seemed like a WHOLE LOT of money) wasn't going to go very far in the area of home improvement.  A few matching couch covers, curtain rods for the windows, fabric for curtains and maybe some paint.  

So I just let the $500 check sit on my dresser until I decided what we really needed and what could wait.  That has been a month ago and I still haven't decided what to spend the money on (because I want so many things).

And then today happened.  K-LOVE happened.  Compassion International Happened.  Families and children dying because of nasty, scummy water in Rwanda happened.

And I just broke.  My heart ached at the thought of these people.  These families.  These mommas, not so different from me, who would do anything for her children, but she has no *choice* but to give them dirty water, and just hope and pray that her babies won't get sick.

500 bucks can buy me some curtain rods, paint and a few couch covers.  Or it can provide clean drinking water for 10 families....for their entire lifetimes.

I started thinking about my own family.  The people I love most.

1.  My cousin Robin, her husband and three children.
2.  My cousin Rebekah, her husband and three children.
3.  My cousin, Heather, her husband, and three children.
4.  My (pregnant) cousin Hilari, her husband, and their baby on the way.
5.  My (pregnant) cousin Sarah, her husband, and their baby on the way.
6.  My Aunt Terri, her husband and three children.
7.  My Aunt Eileen and her husband.
8.  My Aunt Les and her husband.  
9.  My mom, dad and brother.
10. My dear husband and our 6 month old baby.

And when I put it into perspective.  Of all of those people.  My ENTIRE family.  Thinking of what I would do to ensure that they had clean, safe water to drink, you better believe I would sacrifice so much more than a one time gift of $55 for each of them.  You better believe I would forget about wanting matching sofa covers, window blinds, new paint on the walls.

And then....my drive was over.  I came home, started doing my chores, cleaning my house, looking at my house.  My bare windows.  The floors that need rugs, the windows that are so bare, the furniture that doesn't match and I decide I will just buy a couple water filters and use the rest for stuff that I really do need for the house.

Did you just read that?  How sick and twisted is my mind?  My heart?  I JUST listened to a 30 minute broadcast about people who can't drink water because it is too filthy and eight seconds later I'm more concerned about the way my house looks, about whether or not this or that matches!!

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
~Jeremiah 17:9

So I go about my day, rearranging and cleaning and still thinking about what I need for this house.  Tonight I drive into town and (I have completely forgotten about Rwanda already!) Scott and Kelli are on K-LOVE still talking about water filters.  And I feel sick.  And I remember my plea to God that he would take away all this 'stuff' in my life that was causing me greed and want and dissatisfaction.  I realized, the reason I have too much is because I don't give enough.  I don't need God to take away all of my earthly possessions, my financial security in order to bless me, in order to set my perspective straight.  I just needed my eyes opened.  I just needed a window to the other side of the world where people have bigger problems than their sofa not matching their love seat.  Where they are dying and suffering because they need a drink of water.  

I am selling my Barbie dolls because I realize they don't have much value if they are just kept in boxes collecting dust.  I realize they are earthly treasures and so I am starting to sell some of them in order to invest the money in something more practical, something more useful for our home.  I kept reciting this verse from Matthew 6, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

And until today that is where I stopped.  And just now after thinking about the people in Rwanda, I looked up that verse in Matthew 6 and realized I have left out the biggest part:  "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  You see, I stopped storing earthly treasure only to start storing another earthly treasure somewhere else!!  My heart was here, in this world, on this earth, for this house.

Matthew 10:21 says, "Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

So I can invest in this earthly house which exists here on this earth for a brief moment in time, or I can invest in eternal real estate.  A mansion so amazing that I can't even comprehend.  One adorned with gold and silver, rubies and emeralds.  One that is being prepared for me by a King.  One that will last forever.  All Jesus asks is that I take care of his people, that I clothe them, feed them, and give them water.  That I tell them about Him.  That I love them just like He loves them.

Please do not read this as my shouting to the rooftops all of my righteous and glorious deeds.  It is not.  Please read this and know that I am struggling with my heart, my flesh, my desire and greed for earthly comfort and reward.  I heard about people needing water and within moments forgot about it.  But I can't keep forgetting about it.  I can't keep forgetting about them.  About those people.  About those children and babies who need water.  WATER!!  The very basics, the essential ingredients to survival.  They don't have a choice, but you do, I do.  And I'm making the choice so that they can drink, so that they can live.

Thank you to K-LOVE for the message you implanted into my heart today.  Calling 1.888.222.0809 or clicking here with give you the opportunity to save someone's life.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
                    -Matthew 25:34-40




  1. Great post. I love how you made the list of your 10 families. That definitely puts it into perspective! Sounds like God is going to do great things through you with this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.