Sunday, November 20, 2005

Just a Thought

I was reading (no, I didn't finish it - yet) a book called Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider. Though not finished, I think it might be one of those books that every Christian in North America needs to read. He makes some eye-opening points, some of which I am still digesting. In the book, he explains what Scripture reveals about the people of God and their ownership of material things. He presents the idea that, though God grants us a "right" to own stuff, it is always trumped by our responsibility to meet the needs of the poor. There is much more to this, but that's the general idea.

This week is Thanksgiving and, if your family is like ours, this is traditionally the time that we exchange our gift lists for Christmas. I have mixed feelings about such a practice. Nonetheless, that's what we do.

In light of these things and my last post, I thought I might throw out a thought. Catch it if you want, or let it go right by you. It isn't earth-shattering. It's "Just a Thought."

This year, instead of making a list of things solely for you, put something on your list that will specifically meet the needs of the poor and oppressed.

There are a lot of great charities doing a lot of good work to meet those needs. Perhaps there is a homeless shelter nearby that has need of some gifts. How cool would it be to call and ask the director what gift the shelter needs most, then play Santa!

My absolute favorite gift catalog is from World Vision. I want the goat! See the catalog here.

The Christian Children's fund also has a similar catalog.

Oxfam is working all over the world to eliminate poverty and injustice.

Anyway, you get the idea. I am sure you can think of something that would be fun to "get" for Christmas. You may have to pitch the idea gently to those receiving your list. And if it offends them, then maybe it's not worth pushing. But, I'd like to think most gift-givers are happy to give what the recipient truly wants.

But before you leave, let me just say this - It is really easy to read someone else's blog and develop an idea of them that is completely contrary to reality. So I want to admit that I have many things to work out in regard to applying what I am learning from Rich Christians. I am not even close to caring about the poor as much as I think scripture commands. I fall way short. But Paul and I have been doing something similar to this for a few years and it has been a blessing, so I thought I'd throw it out there.



Blogger Addie said...

You know, this Sundy our Pastor said something that made me think of your last two posts. We're going through a series on finances and he talked about something a financial planner said to him last week after the message. The guy said that people usually raise their standard of living everytime they get a pay increase. Christians think "God has blessed us so we can raise our standard of living". New car, bigger house, more things. But the guy said that as Christians we need to seek God's guidance on what he wants our standard of living to really be, no matter what pay increases we get. And then we he blesses us with more, it can go to things like you mentioned (poor, missions, charities) instead of more things for us (like everything out of the pampered chef catalog) :-)

Anyway, it must be something that God wants me to think about seriously between reading it here and hearing it on Sunday.

Thanks for the thoughts...sorry to be so longwinded on your blog.

Mon Nov 21, 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To put my opinion seems that the title of the book should be "Rich Christian's in America..." I think most Christian's in the world would be less concerned about material things than those in the USA. I know it was like that in NZ. People seemed to be more concerned about other individuals and relationships than in material things. Why has our culture adopted the mind set that assumes material things equals happiness?

The main reason I am posting is because I'd like to recommend a couple organizations that I am involved in and enjoy supporting (and you might too!)

Thanks Lori for your insightful blog!

Mon Nov 21, 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

Thanks for the recommendation; I'm now going to hunt this book down and read it myself.

Tue Mar 13, 07:29:00 PM  

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