Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"More Than 3 Dollars" Posted July 29, 2009

This is an Article from the "Voice of the Martyrs" August 2009 issue.

I would Like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please

Written by Wilbur Rees

Driving home one afternoon, I heard someone reading the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 on my car radio. As I crossed the Caney River bridge the radio announcer stopped reading at verse 9, leaving out the blessings from persecution in verses 10-12. I felt like I had been robbed. Sometime later my pastor, Joe Colaw, read us a poem written by Wilbur Rees entitled "Three Dollars Worth of God."

Wilbur Rees' line, "not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep," reminds me of an email we received from a reader, disturbed that his children had seen the photo on our newsletter cover of Namrata, the Indian girl whose face was burned by Hindu radicals. Although we also showed her healed face and printed her victorious story, this reader wrote, "I have two small children at home who see the mail and they do not understand this.... it will be difficult for me to continue to support you if this is what I can expect.... We do not need this kind of cheap, graphic, emotionally driven virtual ploy to get us involved... If you do not want my support, then simply let me know you plan continue with this kind of marketing."

The same day we received an email from another family whose children were affected differently by the same photograph.

"We received the April edition in the mail today. Our five year old son, Gideon, saw the little girl on the front of the magazine with her many burns... Gideon had an eventful night because of seeing it laying on our table top. He and Benjamin (our three year old) brought it to us and asked us what had happened to her. So I told him, 'Well... (big sigh)... this little girl is 10 years old, and she loves Jesus, but where she lives in her country they don't think it is ok to love Jesus. So when the other people found out that she is a "Christian" (and I told him what that means) they tried to hurt her.' We later on prayed before bed.. and he said, 'I think God still wants me to be a missionary doctor... because i could go help these people who love him and get punished for it!'

"We reassured him that if God does want him to do this it would be very important... and even if God didn't want him to do this... his job would still be important because he could pray for the persecuted (and we told him what that meant too). He was very open to the idea of praying, for them... and praying for his future, too, regarding what he feels God wants him to do.

We hope this blesses your day! Thank you for all you do for those who are persecuted, and for those of us who are praying and listening to God's will for our lives... even at the age of five!"

Our newsletter is for adults. (We have a children's version published quarterly.) It is up to each family to decide how, if at all, to share portions of our monthly newsletter with their children.

Perhaps how we view published images of persecuted Christians -- some consider them to be too graphic, in poor taste or sensational journalism, while others see an opportunity for fellowship and love -- could depend upon how much of the cross we have been taught to carry. Three dollars worth of the cross does not include the sharp emotions of grief and pain. We can starve ourselves, our congregation and our Christian denominations if our sackful of God is too small.

I thank God for my mother who taught me about suffering for Christ through stories and illustrations before I went to junior high. I realized that our faith does not guarantee us a pain free world. I learned at an early age that our faith will carry us through bad things which will someday work together for our good.

Written by Tom White (Voice of the Martyrs Director)

voice of the martyrs pic



JMC Ministries thoughts

When I read this article it brought back memories of an incident that happened about a month ago.

I was talking to a woman and I was telling her about the ministry we do and how we work with underprivileged children in our area. When I started telling her about some of the children we have helped and reached out to. Children who have been abused physically, sexually and how we minister to the homeless. This woman says to stop talking about that kind of stuff because she can't handle it. She then continued to tell me that if ever I wanted to "get away" from that stuff and have a "break" to come to her church!

My first reaction was "she did not just say that" the next was sadness. Because this woman attends a mega church in the community! And I thought, "all those hundreds of people that attend that church and all that they could do to help the community and she tells me to come to her church to get away from Reality?

I didn't respond to the woman and just stopped talking and continued on with my work I was doing. But her words for weeks now keep resonating in my head. "Come to my church if you want a break from that" How can I take a break and walk away from the calling God has placed on my life? How can I not daily take up my cross? How can I deny the will of the Lord? How can I not follow what the scriptures say to help the widows and orphans and those in need? My answer is I CAN'T!!!!! And I won't!

That is why this article hit me and the poem about buying 3 dollars worth of God. And the man that was offended by the picture of the little girl because his children didn't understand it. Everyday there are children in America in your community that are dealing with this kind of abuse it isn't happening in a third world country it's happening right outside your front door! And you want to ignore it as if it isn't happening!

Some Christians today would rather throw money at a problem in their community than go down into the community and get their hands dirty for the Lord! Get into the projects, the Ghettos, the wrong side of the tracks and try to make a difference in their communities. Isn't that what Jesus did? He showed love and compassion to those who no one would go near. Like the song says "All We Need Is Love"

Why do I choose to "get my hands dirty"? Because if I don't who would take my place? Who will bring clothes to a little girl named Sarah who has none. Who will intercede for those children who are showing signs of abuse and call children service. And who will tell them about Jesus and how he loves all the little children of the world "red yellow black or white that they are precious in his sight"

So, do you still want to buy only 3 dollars worth of God?

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