I can think of no other word more appropriate for how I felt after church yesterday.
Studying the Lord's Prayer has been far more challenging than I ever expected. This week we looked at "Give us this day our daily bread," and the implications this has for us as individuals and as a faith community. Note that we are to pray not just for our own needs (Give me this day my daily bread), but for our brothers and sisters as well. Give us...
What does us look like when I have a fridge full of food, a freezer nearly packed full, and the ability to go to a restaurant anytime I want? Furthermore, can I pray with integrity for those who don't know where their next meal is coming from if I am not willing to share from my excess? And what about those two empty beds in the spare room that could give someone shelter for a night? Tough questions.
Our pastor received a letter this week from the director of an orphanage in Zimbabwe that we support. In the letter, the director says:
"We are safe but very much starved as a nation. Today as I came to the office I met ****** ****** ****** (BICC Zimbabwe) standing in a queue of more than 50 people to draw Zimbabwe$50000 that can not buy him a loaf of bread. Jokingly I said to him "****** you need not be here” He retorted "this where the people are I shall be here until my turn come”, of course until the next 49 or so people are cleared before him". I tell you it is not easy here.
Exchange rate : 1US$ = Z$95 000 a loaf of bread cost Z$100 000.
At the bank you can only draw per day Z$50 000.
Salaries of most civil servants is + or - Z$100 000 per month.
God is great you still see people going to work with the hope that one day things will change."
Wow. How am I to respond to that when there is food in my fridge rotting because we bought more than we can use? Acts 2:42-47 talks about how the community of believers sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need...and shared their meals with great joy and generosity. Verses like this leave me with more questions than answers. Questions that keep me up at night. Questions that prevented me from singing I Surrender All at the end of the service.
There are no easy answers to these questions, but then, Jesus never said following him would be easy.
You can hear the entire message here.