How much will you give up?
Sitting at Starbucks and drinking my matcha green tea latte, I thought about volunteering in Kenya and what the days were like. Africa was a blessing to me but it was also my hardest place.
I don't know how to describe it so that you will understand, but living in Kenya for six months shook me up. It challenged my walk with God. I felt physically dirty and disgusting. I struggled with depression and my identity. I felt like I witnessed oppression I had never seen before, especially in the Masai women.
Through the six months, life was simplified for me and I had more time to focus on God, making food, bucket showering myself (on the days I could convince myself freezing cold buckets were worth the energy investment), and of course I focused on nursing at the clinic. It was honestly a breath of fresh air for my life- in that it stripped away all the excess- all the accessories, all the distractions, all the noise-- and it left me in the middle of an African safari land- to test myself and my faith--- can I survive if all I have is Jesus?
Friends, so often we don't realize how rich we are as Americans. The kind of richness that many people in third world countries cannot comprehend. They don't understand how we all have carpeted houses and cars. They don't understand eating out so many of our meals and getting desert when we feel like it. They definitely do not understand how we could waste more than a day of their wages on a drink at a place called Starbucks.
We often live filthy rich lives compared to the rest of the world.
And while that is a blessing friends, it can also be a curse.
Like the rich young ruler in Mark 10: 17-27 what if Jesus asks us to give it all away? What if following Jesus requires us to leave our comfort zone and the things we like?
Mark 10: 21 says: "Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, 'One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
And this morning I have to ask myself, and you, is there anything I wouldn't do for Jesus? Is there anything I wouldn't give up to serve Him? Is there any job I wouldn't do because of my love for Him? Would I be willing to go back and serve in a remote place like Kenya where I didn't have my favorite foods and didn't have clean warm showers, but what if that's what God wanted?
Friends, I just challenge you to ask yourself "What matters most in your life?" Do you love Jesus or do you love coffee? Do you love Jesus or do you love your girlfriend/ boyfriend? Do you love Jesus or do you love sleeping a warm bed, being safe, being close to your friend?
You know friends, I struggled not having access to the things I have in America. I struggled not having matcha, and not getting to eat ice cream or chocolate. I struggled being away from my mom and dad, not having friends close by to support me. But in Kenya I learned that God was faithful to me, that He cared about me deeply. That no matter how scary a situation, God's presence would give me peace. That God was worth any sacrifice that He had good beautiful plans for my life.
And my prayer for my life is that God would give me courage to have faith to follow Him even when that means making sacrifices. That we would learn how good God is to us and that our faith in Him would grow. That our hearts would stretch with generosity, and that if God called us to give things up for Him, that we would be willing to do it, no matter what the sacrifice.