“If you didn’t have to worry about money…”

One day my mom and I went to lunch, and this “table topic” was sitting on our table.  And so we asked one another that very question.  Mom went first, and she answered that she would play the piano in nursing homes, rehab centers, etc and maybe even get a masters in counseling or psychology.  After all, my mom has an incredible talent for playing the piano, but even bigger than this God-given talent is her heart for the weak and the lonely.

Most people that know me well would describe me like this: firstly, that I am “Sweet Sarah” and secondly, that I am an idealist, a dreamer.  Excuse me now if too much of my dreamer side comes out here, but I have a question to ask:

Why is it a bad thing to dream big?

Why do we settle for the comfort of what we know rather than dare to do great things

for the glory of God?

I look at my mom, and I see her and all that she does.  She works day in and day out, yes, in a place that she enjoys, but I beg to ask the question: “Mom, why don’t you play the piano at home anymore?  Why don’t you go to a nursing home or to a hospice center on Saturdays to share your gift?  Is life so “busy” with what we “have” to do that we can’t do the things for which God has placed a desire in our heart to do?”

What is keeping Christians from living as God’s word requires?  If the issue is money, why don’t we sell the house and get a smaller one?  If the issue is our obligations, why don’t we prioritize what’s most important?  If the issue is stuff, then why don’t we clear out the clutter?  If the issue is safety, why don’t we see that we are sheep, and He is the great shepherd?  If the issue is reading parts of the Bible that make us feel uncomfortable, then why don’t we erase all that we know and start over again?  Why don’t we value a childlike faith?

Through Isaiah in chapter 55 verses 1-2, the Lord speaks to us today, saying:

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”

God is calling each and every single one of us today.  Do you crave something more in your relationship with God?  He is saying to you, “Come and drink!  I am living water.  I am life.”  He doesn’t want your money, and He doesn’t want your worldly success.  He who has no money, come and buy! That is the beauty of the Gospel: you bring nothing to His table yet receive everything in return.  But you have to bring nothing. All that you are laboring for, does that quench the hunger and thirst that you have?  He is offering to you the only thing that will satisfy: His blessing and His love.

Now I leave you with a question.  If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do?

Would you do what you are doing today?

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A Beautifully Broken House

Broken.  Overgrown.  Left to decay.  Mostly unnoticed despite its prominent location off of University Drive, this house stands in relative isolation.  Despite its crumbling, exterior walls  and other signs of decay, I absolutely love this house!   Its condition begs for demolition, and yet this house is still special to me.  “Why is this house so special?”  This is a question that even I continue to ask myself as I look over my pictures.  Here’s why… You see each of the bricks in picture below?  Someone laid each and every single one of those and covered them in mortar.  Another even painted the brick.

This house is a perfect example of what I was talking about in the post “Redefining Beauty.”  The house’s beauty, therefore, does not lie in the perfection of its exterior.  The house is beautiful because human hands built it, placing value in it by sacrificing their time and health to build it for another.  Although it is deserted now, people once lived in it; this, also, makes it beautiful.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

If we have truly become a follower of Christ, it is our daily mission to grow more and more in the likeness of Christ.  If this is so, that means that our actions, beliefs, and even persecutions will mirror His.  From this verse in 1 Samuel, we learn that part of living our lives after Christ means rejecting our natural impulse to judge based on the appearance and reputation of another, but to see the heart.

Loving like Christ, then, means seeing others with all of their imperfections, yet remembering that Christ also died to save them.  We begin to see just how much Christ loves them and how they are precious to Him.  We see their hearts, and we are compelled to love them.  Christ’s love compels us….

Just like the broken house, we are broken people.  Our brokenness–from sin, from unbelief, from the fall–does not prevent the Lord from loving us.  Our hearts, this is what He sees when He looks at us, and this is why He continues to love us.  We are beautiful in His sight because He simply sees our exterior decay as an even greater back-drop for the display of His glory once He rebuilds us.

We are broken, yet in the sight of Christ, we are beautifully broken…

“Do I really have hope?”

My first meal in heaven…. : You may be wondering why I wrote that post.  After all, it seems pretty random compared to all of my other posts.  I wrote it, though, because it segues into one of my favorite words of the Bible.  Hope.

Throughout the course of a day, we say hope quite a bit: “I hope we win the game,”  “I hope that I didn’t fail that test,” or “I hope we can hang out this weekend!”

In each of those exclamations, we use the word hope, but what do you notice?  Each time that we use that word, we are in a situation where oppositions–an team with a better record, a hard test, or a conflict of plans for the weekend–make whatever we are hoping for very unlikely to happen.  Doubt is present, so we say, “I hope.”  We know that it is unlikely, so we hope and wish for it to happen anyways.

But, this is not what the Bible means when it says hope

My Bible dictionary says defines hope as,

“Trustful expectation particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s Guidance….

This contrasts to the world’s definition of hope as ‘a feeling that what is wanted will happen.’ “

Holman Bible Dictionary, pg 780

Notice that the Bible uses hope when speaking of a TRUSTFUL EXPECTATION and the ANTICIPATION OF A FAVORABLE OUTCOME.  The word’s definition, though, is used only in regards to a feeling in the presence of doubt.

I say all of this to really say one thing about my last blog post.  We all have different ideas about Heaven and our first meal with God.  No matter what we imagine or wish it would be like, though, we all have one hope, one trustful expectation that compels us each day.  Romans 5:2 says, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”  In other words, we live with joy because we TRUST that He will be glorified there.

We only have one hope in our life.  This hope IS NOT for how much money we’ll make, what car we’ll drive, or what team will win the game.  If we truly have the Holy Spirit and God’s love in our hearts, that one hope–the glorification of our Heavenly Father in every area of our lives–will not disappoint us.  Trusting in that one favorable outcome will even allow us to rejoice in our own suffering (Romans 5:3-5; see also 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Now it’s time to ask yourself one question.  Do I really have hope?