Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Since my last post was on the topic of decision making and on Monday's I am incapable of most thought. I am going to take this opportunity to talk about a decision I made that changed lives. During my time in college, I attended chapel services three times a week, church service on Sundays, and a small group meeting during the week. It was a great time and I was always surrounded by good Christian company. One day at chapel a speaker came and talked about something I had always knew from scripture, but this time I had an "ah-ha" moment where it all finally clicked. Of course I am talking about what Jesus talked about most and that was stewardship and helping the poor (Luke 14:13; Galatians 2:10; James 2:5; Proverbs 28:27; 1 John 3:17-18).

So I am sitting there in chapel next to my wonderful wife, listening to a message about helping the poor and about how much of a minority in the world the people of the United States are. As much as I love math, it is just not adding up to me that, assuming everyone is doing something to help the poor, that they would not all be provided for by now. Now it is time for reality, I started to think about a few years back when my wife and I decided to give our first fruits to the Lord via our local church family and realizing only about 3% of people who regularly attend church are actually even doing that. At that moment I made a decision to so something more. You see you have your tithe or 10% to the local church and over and above that you have your offering. We were so blessed in the tithe but that is a story for another post, so why not give an offering as well.

There was a table [1] set up out in the hallway that had plastic packets sitting on it with the picture of children on them, not like the ones you see in the commercials that make the poor look all helpless and starving, but children that just looked and smiled at the camera and you could see in their eyes that they were capable of hope and of someday becoming leaders themselves. We both gravitated toward this little girl named Karla who lived in South America. Now I must admit, I was ready to give up the cash, but was not ready to write letters and work on another relationship so I let my wife do most of the work. But as a bystander, this little girl had a pretty big impact on our lives and we were able to have at least a small one on hers.

We watched as her handwriting changed over the years from block print to a beautiful cursive. We watched as her hopes and dreams changed over time. And then there was the time when she prayed for us to have a son at about year four of us trying and then year five finding out we were going to have a baby after all the doctors said we would have to have expensive treatments for it to even be possible.  I will let you guess what gender the child was. As we bought our first house, I was reminded of Karla's prayers when reading back through her letters. If I believed in fate, I may say it was merely coincidence but, I Don't, I only believe in providence (Job 10:12 (NIV)).

Now let me talk about the faith aspect because what you may not realize is my wife and I were in college when we made this decision. We were both working at work study positions. By Americas standards, we were considered to be in the poverty class ourselves. On top of this, it was a commitment for more than just that year and we didn't have any idea if we would have jobs after graduation. Even in those circumstances we made the commitment that tithe and offering came before bills and eating. Now reflect back on the story above, years later, we were buying our first house and we never missed a single payment to Karla. God has blessed us greatly and you can contribute that to whatever you want but my experience has been.. the more we try to give in faith, the more we wre given to give. This may not always be the case, test it out for yourself and see (Malachi 3:10).

Today, Karla has exited the project and we no longer get to hear from her because she had to move to the city to work and help her family. I have a new little boy who has recently learned to write by himself and my wife has another little boy that she keeps in contact with. Here is a picture of Jeremias, he rocks! One day I may get down to Guatemala to see him. I will be sure to keep you up to date on this progress as time goes on. Jeremias is a great artist, he has drawn me picture of ducks, houses, cars, mountains and all kinds of other things. I have yet to draw something for him because my talents lie in the digital realm more than paper, but who knows.. maybe I will try.

In Summary:

  • Chapel was great.
  • Lives were changed.
  • Test God!
  • Jeremias rocks.
  • I'll keep you updated.
  • Do something (Esther 4:14). 

Basic 4: God is sovereign - Zech. 9:14; 1 Tim. 6:15-16

[1] If you decide to take my advice, and test God, the organization I sponsored Karla and Jeremias through is Compassion International. There are a number of reasons I chose them and I am sure I will share those reasons in a future post. It begins with a child... 

1 comment:

  1. Josh,

    I was afraid you might not check your OC account again soon so I figured you would not mind my leaving a comment on this blog.

    Man! Great message here...very encouraging! I also see that you follow Shaun Groves. We are in the process of trying to schedule a benefit concert in our town. Hopefully the Lord provides a venue as our church will not permit it at this time.

    Anyway, thanks for inviting me to view your blog. I hope to keep in touch. Take care!