Well... I can't believe we're finally at Chapter 10. I started this blog almost one year ago... to the date! And what a year it has been. I still have a few posts left in me as I wrap up the final chapter... and I will try my best to share with you what God had revealed to me during this year and how this journey has changed my life... because it most definitely has!
I love how Chan opens up this chapter with the most obvious question: Now what? What do we do with all of this information? How do we begin to process all of this? When I first read this book, over a year ago, my answer was easy: I started the blog. I had two reasons for this: #1 I knew that "dragging" this experiment out over the course of a year would help the concepts and principles sink in a little better and #2 I LOVE accountability! Putting everything out there (for essentially the whole world to see) definitely makes you accountable. But as I come to the end, yet again, I'm still asking myself: "Now what?"
Chan is quick to point out that he's not telling everyone to sell their homes and cars and move to third world countries... unless God is calling us to do those things! He reiterates the fact that we can love and serve God where we are... in our neighborhoods, at our jobs, in our communities. But the question is this: Are we? But maybe a better question is "Why are we?"... assuming that you already love God and serve Him, of course! Sometimes, I feel as if I have some sort of "On/Off Switch"... when I'm "on" I'm serving God and loving Him... when I'm "off" well, let's just say that serving and loving aren't really on my radar (unless, of course, it's about serving and loving myself!). And that's really the crux of the matter (which happened to the the title of the chapter.)
I've been focused on this statement for a while: "The point is that there is another path, an alternative to the individualism, selfishness, and materialism of the American Dream (even the so-called Christian version.)" p. 166. I keep going back to a conversation I had with someone after my return from Nicaragua last year. For the longest time, I was distraught. I felt guilty... guilty that I lived the way I did, that I wasn't doing more to help, that I allowed myself to be insulated by societal mores. When I shared these feelings, one particular person told me that I shouldn't feel guilty that God decided to give me a blessed life... I should be thankful and enjoy the life I was given. Now, it should be noted that this person isn't a Christian, and I had to remind myself of this many times during our conversation. Her comments infuriated me... but not for the reason you might think. Yes, I was so incredibly angry with her selfishness and sense of entitlement... but,now, almost one year later, I've come to the understanding that she was only voicing what I was actually living. It is only right now... literally at this precise moment that I sit here and type, that I'm realizing the obvious: My guilt and heartache for the children in Nicaragua wasn't born out of an inability to do more for them. It festered from an insidious wound: an unwillingness to sacrifice my comfort in an effort to serve God.
I keep going back to Matthew 19:24- "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." What has been so incredibly hard (and humbling) to swallow is that I am the "rich man"... even though my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck, even though we have absolutely no idea how we are going to stay afloat this next year if our financial situation doesn't change... we are comparatively rich. Because of where we live, the provision we have, the culture WE HAVE ALLOWED TO MOLD US... we have lived our lives as that "rich man"... and, as a result, unless we change our ways, I wonder if our fate will be the same? (Of course, I'm going to say "no" because this little experiment has FINALLY allowed God to pierce through my stubborn exterior!)
What path are you living: God's path or the American Dream? Be careful when answering this one. There's a difference between the path we WANT to follow (or better yet... the path we TRY to follow) and the path we find ourselves on.