Where in the World is my Heart?

Eighteen months ago I didn't even know the nation of Burkina Faso existed.

Yesterday my daughter broke our cheese slicer (to be fair, it broke while she was using it, she didn't actively do anything to break the implement.)

These two things have nothing to do with each other except this: I now know that Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations in the world. It has been suffering from the African drought. It's people are starving, dying for lack of clean water, and medical care. Spiritualism and the occult are rampant.  I know this because I love a Compassion child there whose father has died recently and whose mother left many years ago and so now he stays with his father's girlfriend and her children.  He's a tentative breath from being a homeless orphan every minute of every day.

Yesterday I was briefly more upset about the loss of the cheese slicer than I was over any part of the entire paragraph above.


It's so hard here, in the land of the American Dream to have any sort of perspective of what life is really like for the majority of people on this planet.  It's overwhelming to even consider the scope and depth of poverty, pain, evil and disease so we just choose not to. We make excuses that we need to provide help to our people, that it's our nation where our focus should be (and oh there are so many, many hurting, helpless people in this nation, some just on our doorstep), but the reality is that most of us do very little even locally in the name of the Gospel.

Where are our hearts? What in the world have we made our treasure?

Half of me wants to throw some things in a U-haul, drive across the country and take over the Blue Bus ministry tomorrow (calm down, calm down...we aren't actively seeking to go anywhere at this point - though honestly we never have. We've always been moved at God's plan and not our own whims).  It's easier to maintain perspective there where the need of humanity is in your face all the time.  But as of today, I don't live there and I still must discipline my heart to see properly all the time.

A book I read recently suggested that if we really loved our neighbors as ourselves as we profess, we'd all be giving away 50% of our incomes in obedience.  I was highly convicted.  I don't know that we, as a family, could actually live in this country on 50% of what Hunky currently brings home.  I do know that God stretches our obedience, when we do choose generosity, a ridiculous amount.  Rather than being hung up on numbers, what I have been asking myself lately is whether or not I am living a sacrificially as I am able for the sake of the gospel, right now.

I am not.
Not yesterday, not today, not anytime recently

It is this that motivates me in the non-consumer experiment.
It is this that compels me to reduce and simplify.
It is this that enables me to make decisions about where I go, what I do, how I spend - or squander - both my money and time.

Where in the world is my heart? It's in Kenya and Haiti and Burkina Faso, in Arizona and Milledgeville, Ga.
Except when its in cheese slicers and new running shoes, Walmart and Krogers, Little Ceasar's and Lieu's Peking restaurant.

My heart is where my treasure lies...I need more real treasures and less cultural idols.
That is why I must be emptied, so God can fill me with a heart of flesh, a heart for the world.


Becky Perry said...

You might know that Burkina Faso used to be called Upper Volta. When I was elementary school, my dad went on a 2 week mission trip to Upper Volta. He took several mission trips by using his vacation time.

God told us to "go" - looks like you're ready and willing.

Jeanne said...

You could live, in this country, on half of the income you now have. You might not be comfortable in the community you are now a part of. You definitely would not be vacationing the way you're used to or see your extended family as much as you're used to. You would not live in as lovely and safe a neighborhood as you do now (you've been there, I know). You might have a much harder time educating your children than you do now. Your life-style would be so different with half the income, but many people, more than we realize, live on so much less than your income. You might not like it; they don't like it necessarily, either. I hope you're never forced to find out what it's like, though. But then, you'd be amazed at how much you could do with much less! [I hear they're looking for an executive director at AICM - have your girls ever been out there?]

Dana Portwood said...

I did just learn that actually! And how cool is that that he was there!

Dana Portwood said...

Jeanne you are right, and I may have come across as insensitive when I spoke. We could survive on half of what we currently make in this country (though you seem to make some assumptions about my lifestyle and educational preferences that are more extravagant than the reality, but since I don't advertise dollar amounts I suppose those are easy to make)
What I am actually curious to learn is not how little we can live on, but how little we can live on while being generous, even extravagant in giving. We have lived in the 'hood (and at the time our pay was relatively comparable to what it is now. In fact while we were in the 'hood we even made the most we have ever made in one year) but we were not obedient in giving. We were barely giving at all. That is not what I want as my legacy.