Operation Christmas Joy?

Well, I can truly say that our carolling programme has been a resounding success, depending on how you define success. No-one was saved that we know of, so failure there, but, we must have made at least 500-700 positive contacts with people with the good news of the gospel here in our little community. I reckon that is fairly good going. I guess the greater success comes when we start to build on that into the New Year…2005.

We’ve all seen a little tiny glimpse of what greater visibility in the community can mean. I am sure that we’ll be able to translate that experience into different seasons throughout the year. Lots of little ideas floating around that brain…just need to sort out the ones that will be of more significance towards soul saving.

Right now, I’m flat as a pancake, but in a few days my brain will kick in and I’ll come bounding back with all the enthsiasm and drive needed for the great new opportunities that lie ahead. That is, once I get my mind past Christmas.

I confess to having felt sick in the stomach over these last few days with my shocking wealth and affluence. Yeah, I’m a Salvation Army officer and on low income and all the rest, but my wealth still sickens me. This isn’t really just something that is sparked by Christmas mania, trips to Romania or even scenes of devastation in Asia from tidal waves. It is something I struggle with weekly, daily.

And…I struggle with the wealth of others too. Someone once said “If I give bread to the poor I am a saint, but if I ask why the poor are poor, I am a communist.”

I think in that sense, I am a communist. I reckon that the reason people thought communism was a good idea is because at its roots, undefiled by corruption and mankind, sharing of resources is a deeply Christian ideal. Its God’s idea…it works.

I wasn’t brought up wealthy, in fact we were relatively poor in my younger days, so maybe that’s why. But then really I see it is much more than that. In many areas of life I am given to extremes..I can be an extreme person. And I guess if it weren’t for the fact that I drum up the excuse of making my family ‘comfortable’ I’d probably be content to own nothing but a few books and two or three uniforms!! But there we go.

The battle rages in my heart over material wealth, continually asking if I can really serve God and money at the same time. The Word gives the answer, doesn’t it? It quite blatantly states that you cant serve two masters. And of course, that is further developed in the story of the Rich Young Man who went away miserable because he had trouble removing the one thing from His life that would prevent him enjoying a full relationship with God.

Extremism & freedom? Our world shows us how closely these ideals can be related. I’ll think about it.

yours in Jesus

One thought on “Operation Christmas Joy?

  1. HiI understand completely your struggle with our relative wealth. I reached a point – before I left the church as a young woman – where I realised I couldnt bear to OWN stuff. Because by owning anything, I have to withdraw it from someone who might need it. I also have to be prepared to defend it, insure it, lock it up, etc. I guess that was a rather extreme view, but I lived successfully in intentional community with that attitude for some years, and have lived on and off all my life in intentional community in one form or another, with varying degrees of ‘common purse’. Through twenty years as an orthodox Jew, I continued to hate owning anything, and once the children arrived, I raised them the same way, to regard anything we technically own as being held in trust for the whole household/community. And to be generous. It is surprising how well they have internalised this. My 18 year old has her own bank account at the moment while she learns how to manage money. But she gives freely into the household, without being asked, and when some crunch point arises, her reaction is always, “Well, this isn’t really my money anyway – it should belong to household/community.” Now I am back in the church, come home after a long time away. It is wonderfully liberating to do poverty again with the backing of 8 centuries of Franciscan teaching. No-one has so far told me I am a communist! Francis, like the early SA, was characterised by doing things with abandon. He really gave himself to the ideal of poverty – poverty so that no-one should have more than they need until everyone has enough for their needs, so that no-one should ever have to defend what they ‘own’, for the sake of peacemaking, and above all else as an expression of loving neighbour, truly loving with the love of Christ. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I own nothing.’ Its liberating!

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