Friday, November 21, 2008

This is What I'm Talking About

Several of you have asked me how teaching Sunday School is going.

Well....I'm in my 6th week now teaching on materialism and stewardship and it's going.....OK.

I enjoy it and preparing the lessons has really helped me to examine my beliefs and firm up my position on certain topics. But I had no idea people would be so resistant to the idea of using God's money for His purposes instead of for their own.

I related how I hate my master bedroom because it is incredibly ugly and not completely finished and mismatched and stained, etc, etc, etc, but that I can't justify remodeling it when that money could be used by God to do so much for His kingdom. Having a nice bedroom would only benefit me and my husband, for a while until it went out of style, but God could use that money to change someone's life for ETERNITY. Who would choose the bedroom?

Well, apparently all kinds of people. I got arguments like, "But you'll rest better and feel more relaxed if you have a nice bedroom" and "As long as you aren't going in to debt to do it and you aren't taking food away from your kids to do it I don't see anything wrong with it". I even had one lady say, "Look, I've got a bunch of left over paint from my family room in my garage. You can have that and at least paint it a nice color." Some people seemed down right upset that I was "suffering" with an ugly bedroom and said flat out that I should paint it.

Apparently all of the discussion about the difference between wants and needs went in one ear and out the other. A child in Haiti needs vaccinations. I want a pretty bedroom. Which do you think God cares about more?

When I got to the lessons about Earth Stewardship and the way our greed for material possessions adversely effects the world God gave us to sustain us it got even uglier. I was pretty discouraged after last week. I wasn't getting the point (the point being that we need to be appreciative of the money and resources God has given us and use them, but not overuse them, being sure to provide as much as possible for those less fortunate instead of just stuffing ourselves) across and frankly I felt a little bit attacked. I have one more lesson to sum it all up and show the class how seeing money, oil, electricity, wood, etc as gifts from God not "certain unalienable rights" meant to be consumed as fast as possible, makes us more grateful and giving people.

And then this morning I came across a link to a real life story that completely sums up what I have been talking about all along. Read this story of how one family helped the poor at great personal sacrifice and became rich in the process. (Note: Pay attention to the amount given by each family in the church.)

I couldn't have said it any better.


Deena said...

That's an excellent article. I've read it before. Did you read the "response" and "response to the response"? I think it's REALLY hard for people to face the fact that even "low income" people in our communities live so luxuriously compared to many others. Plus, I tend to feel ... over-asked? Seems like there's always something that needs "my" money. Which is the heart of it. In spite of the fact that I give God 10%, the 90% that's left still isn't MINE, it's what God has given me to be a steward of. Some may need all 90% for their own needs, but not very many. I tend to get caught up with comparing to others, too. Why can't I go to lunch every Sunday?? Surely I *deserve* that day off. I forget to be thankful that there is food in my fridge, and health to stand, electricity, pots, etc. to fix it. I don't know how to change this attitude though, even in myself.

Crystal said...

Maybe I'll start a series where I post the entire lesson. Several people have been very interested in it and some members of our class couldn't be there every week so they missed a few things. Maybe I'll start on that after Thanksgiving. Thanks for the idea, Deena.