Seems like I am the last person to hear things, so bear with me when I write with such surprise and amazement. Strangely, I even read a lot so to hear what I heard and then to confirm it with that brilliant instructor, Mr. Google, was a surprise and sad.
I read, again, what Jesus said in Luke that those who want to be His disciples must give up everything they have and follow Him. Luke said it this way: 14: 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. I’ve heard this often quoted with the words, “willing to forsake all,” but I don’t find “willing” anywhere.
It’s easy to say, “I’m willing to give up this or that,” or maybe this one, “My possessions don’t own me,” but to forsake all goes way beyond easy. “Forsake all that he has” is a great challenge, especially to us in the modern, developed nations. We have more junk, stuff and things than we know what to do with. So much so that storage rental places have popped up all over America just to hold the stuff we won’t forsake but would rather horde, yet when pressed for an answer why, no answer can usually be given.
Which brings me to what I just learned. Are you ready for my surprise, at least what surprised me? People are fat. There are those who are fat because of meds and then there are those who are just…fat. OK, so you aren’t surprised. But here’s the surprise: “Global hunger now afflicts nearly a billion people worldwide. Severe acute malnutrition, however, is the more immediate killer: it threatens the lives of 34 million children. Every year at least 1 million of them die from malnutrition-related causes” (from Action Against Hunger). Those numbers are hard to envision–they are too big to get my brain around, but I know that’s a lot of hungry people, many of them are your Christian brothers and sisters. Again, not too much of a surprise. Now for what floored me: MORE PEOPLE DIE EVERY YEAR FROM THE EFFECTS OF OBESITY THAN HUNGER.
When a friend of mine at the mission center (thanks, Margo) told me that statistic I didn’t believe her, and she said she was just made aware of it so I should search it out and see what I could find. Well, it’s true. The world, and many Christians who buy into the world’s ways, have gotten so fat it has outraced the starving as a cause of death. For the hungry, as former missionaries, we would work with them, but now, as oldsters, we can at least send money to those organizations that help them . What do you do for the obese? I don’t know. Their doctors tell them they are killing themselves and that doesn’t seem to work. Jesus told us to “forsake all,” which would include gluttony, and that doesn’t work.
What would work? I’ll take a guess and you can correct, enlighten or embellish my thoughts with your wisdom if you want to. Everyone would say we should pray, and I agree. So let’s pray. But what are we to pray for?
Remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. I’d say somewhere around the mid-sixties, or a bit earlier, someone took hold of that idea of humbling, praying and repenting for America and shortly afterward there was a movement termed the “Jesus Revolution.” That revolution/movement swept from one coast to the other, and to many other nations, netting in a lot of young people, me being one of them. All the major news providers reported on it and we were called “Jesus Freaks” and other endearing terms. But the point is, thousands and thousands of young people came to Christ, invaded the churches and it was awesome on many levels. It was also crazy at times. For a short time in America’s modern history, Jesus was front page news and it was good news. We were witnessing of His redemptive love on the streets without embarrassment. Just think what it would be like in America, and other nations as well, if they humbled themselves, prayed and sought after God, and repented.
What would happen if we did “forsake all”? What would happen if all Christians everywhere took Christ at His word and obeyed Him? What would happen if Christians went back on the streets and started sharing the redemptive love of God with any and all? What would it be like if Christians today started living like the 1st century Christians: Selling their stock-piled possessions and giving the money to those in need. Downsizing so they would be able to live cheaper and give more liberally. What if we quit sending troops, F-15s and drones to Iraq but sent 1000s of missionaries instead? Yep, you don’t have to tell me I’m nuts because I know that. But you can join me in trying to walk to the cadence of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and then call me anything you like and I won’t care a bit.
Today Jackie and I taught the teens at our church’s Sunday School and I will tell you this: We are losing this generation. It’s time we humbled ourselves and asked God for another “Jesus Revolution.” I invite your comments, corrections and suggestions.