It's been a while since I've read this chapter. As I started reviewing it the other night, I couldn't help but ask myself one question... one word actually: "Really?" I mean, is this what it actually looks like to be obsessed with God, to TRULY follow Christ? I'll admit, at first I was a little taken back... some of these people, by our society's standards, are just down right crazy! But, as I put the book away and took time to let God work on my heart, I began to realize something. The biggest complaint I've had with this book (and it isn't really with the book) is the flippant reaction that many have had after reading it. I know so many people that have read the book... but most stopped about half-way through... only to throw their hands up and say, "Well, all Chan wants us to do is sell everything and live like paupers." This chapter is proof that Chan's expectations are nothing of the sort... but more importantly, neither are God's. (But, that's not a free pass to live in excess either!)
The lives highlighted in Chapter 9 are all different. Yes, some have lived in poverty. Some have walked away from lavish excess. Some have just packed up and moved to other countries. But others have not. Some of them are living "obsessively" for Christ in their own neighborhoods. As I've struggled to figure out what being obsessed really looks like, I've finally come to the conclusions that it doesn't look a certain way for everyone. In fact, the only common thread that weaves itself in every obsessed Christian is that they place God first, follow Him always... no matter where it takes them. That's an incredibly terrifying thought, if you really think about it... if you're not a place where putting God first is a natural instinct. What I've come to realize is that those that become disgusted with this book or insist that Chan is adamant we all live in poverty are refusing to really look at what Chan is saying... which is that living obsessed lives for Christ is COMPLETELY possible. But, for some of us... those that have immersed ourselves into this culture, either by choice or consequence, have to take a really hard look at where we are, how we're living, what we are placing before God. When we do that, when we really take inventory of our lives...maybe it seems easier to live a life of poverty than "incorporating" God into our current lives! (And the reason is because we're not suppose to incorporate God into our lives... we are suppose to give God our lives!)
Over each of the next seven blog entries, I will look at two of the lives Chan has highlighted in Chapter 9. My intention here isn't to focus on these people; but, instead, to focus on how God has lead them. Each story is uniquely different... as each of us are uniquely different. But, what you'll soon realize... if you haven't already... is that each individual story reiterates a common, undeniable theme. We can choose to ignore it... OR we can see how God wants each us to live out that theme in our own lives.
This is my favorite video in the series. Take a look at the video for Chapter 9: