I apologize if my Radical Chapter 6 post appear a bit of topic. You see, right before I read Chapter 6, I listened to a David Platt sermon entitled "He Came to Serve the Helpless". Platt’s words from that sermon echoed in my head as I read Chapter 6.
So, let me start my sharing with you what I learned in Platt’s sermon.
The sermon focuses on Mark 10:45. A short and simple verse that we have all read hundreds of times. But, perhaps, have never stopped to ponder its implications. It goes like this, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Platt’s basic message is this- Jesus came to serve us. Until we allow him to serve us in all areas of our life, we will not be able to love and serve in the ways described in Radical. Or put another way, in order to love as Jesus does and serve the poor, the lonely, the sick- we first need to let Jesus serve us.
Having just received that message, it was liberating to read Chapter 6. I gotta tell you, it would have been very hard to stomach the message of this chapter if God had not first reminded me that His Son came to serve me and I can change my selfish ways only if I allow Christ to serve me. I suddenly understood why it’s so hard for me to let go of my selfish ways and why despite all my efforts I always revert back to materialism. I fail over and over again because I try to do things on my own and change on my own without really letting Christ do the heavy lifting. For example, after Chapter 4 or 5 of Radical, I swore I was going to cut back on Starbucks to only once a week and give the “surplus” to Blood Water Mission. I succeeded exactly three days. Then work got busy and my daughter got sick and I returned to my almost daily SBUX addiction. When life got busy and tough, instead of letting Christ fill me up and serve me and nourish me, I turned to my own devices- overpriced caffeine!
Here’s the deal- I very much want to do what Platt challenges us to do- operate “under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we would give more.” I want to dare to take things a step forward and “set a cap” on my family’s lifestyle so that we can give more of our resources away for “the glory of Christ in the neediest parts of the world.” But to take the next step is going to require total reliance on Christ. My husband and I both make great salaries and we are conservative spenders so we already have a surplus. A part of that surplus we give away to church, to Samaritan’s Purse, to Lifesong for Orphans, to the IMB, etc. But the bigger portion (after wise savings) just seems to go to things that simply don’t make an impact. So the next step is to reduce the waste! The only way to reduce that waste is to change our hearts and our minds. We can’t do that alone. We will continue to want the things of this world unless Christ has completely filled us up. If we don’t allow Christ to serve us and fill us, there will be empty places in our hearts and lives and our human nature is to fill those empty places with things.