We’ve had some large storms in Dallas the last few weeks resulting in downed trees and power outages for extended periods of time. You don’t realize how much you “need” your creature comforts until you don’t have them.
That’s especially true for my children who basically thought they were part of the Greatest Generation after a few hours of no WiFi.
The Hardship of Too Little
Don’t you love how God’s timing is always perfect?
It just so happened that, shortly after the storms, my older kids and I were off to do mission work for a few days in the colonias (Spanish for neighborhood) of South Texas, making beds, giving out food, and teaching VBS.
Colonias are rural areas along the US–Mexico border that lack most of the basic living necessities such as sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, clean water, and safe housing. The area where we served is among the poorest regions of the country.
As we walked the streets of the colonias, I found myself thinking about how this must be impacting my kids. How they must realize the precious blessing of having clean water, air conditioning, beds, and food waiting for them every morning. Not to mention all of the absolute nonessentials they enjoy like vacations, an Xbox, Netflix at their fingertips, etc.
I prayed it would be a good reset for them.
The Hindrance of Too Much
But, as the Lord often does, he reminded me that I was in need of the reset as much as my kids were -- a reset in my parenting, my priorities, what consumes my thoughts, and what I allow to become the focus of my days.
I was reminded that as I looked at these precious people of South Texas and asked the Lord to bless them both spiritually and physically, that their greatest need is the same as mine: him.
I was given a sweet reminder that, just as having too little is really hard, too much can also be a hindrance if it’s not completely surrendered to Jesus.
Hear me out: I’m not in any way making light of the hardships of those living in poverty or implying that our plight is as difficult as theirs on a physical level. I’m just reminded that, although their hardship may be more visible than mine, I live in absolute spiritual poverty without Jesus -- and knowing that should dramatically impact how I spend my days.
My devotional this morning began with this prayer, from John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer:
“Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be you, let my first impulse be to worship you, let my first word be your Name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer.”
I wonder: Do we live in the place that my devotional describes? Wanting our first thought every day to be about Jesus and our first actions to be worshipping and kneeling before him in prayer?
Are we so passionate about teaching our kids to know God that we are willing to go to any lengths to accomplish it today?
Personally, I more often live in comfortable places of waking up to find my phone and see what texts I’ve missed, emails I’ve been waiting on, or social media updates that might interest me. I spend energy wondering how I will entertain my kids this summer, or how to balance my vacations with my work, or how our finances can best provide the comforts we enjoy while still being a good steward.
Could it be that our “too much” ends up diluting our gratitude for the great sacrifice Jesus made in our lives?
That somewhere along the way our end goal has become living in comfort instead of living as commissioned?
Where Too Little and Too Much Intersect
I love that our God is big enough to take those with too little and those with too much and somehow fit all the pieces together meaningfully. I’m reminded that our shared need for Jesus is the great equalizer, and we are called to fully submit our money, possessions, and time to him.
Jesus stands at this intersection of too little and too much, calling us to surrender all that we have to him and his kingdom purposes. When we do that, problems like extreme poverty and the border crisis become places to minister, not just political issues.
I pray that you have the opportunity this summer to spend time serving others as a family, and praying for the Lord to reveal his plans as you surrender it all to him.
I’ll close with a prayer from the same devotional I referenced above:
“Thank you that it is your gracious will to make use of me, even at my weakest, to fulfill your mighty purpose for the world. Let my life today be a channel through which at least a little of your love and compassion may reach the lives of those around me.”