On Friday, we went to an all-day orientation for Bethany families. We learned more about Bethany; how their domestic ministry works, what we can expect, and more about the staff. We also had the privilege of hearing from several adoptive moms who told their stories. Among them was the pastor’s wife from a church in our town with which we’re familiar (several friends are members). We didn’t realize they are a Bethany family, so we should try to connect with them!
The day was full of confirmations that we’re in the right place. This is great not just for encouragement for challenges ahead, but because I often struggle with the reasons why I live in the United States. I am uncomfortable with comfort. Since I’ve been involved with a ministry in Haiti, God has been increasing my passion for missional living, simplicity, and people in poverty. Some days I am actually jealous of my Haitian friends’ rich faith and community. In comparison to them (and most of the world), I am materially rich, but spiritually poor. I really would be fine living there and I think that is probably in our future – many friends confirm the same expectation. So I often wonder why I’m here, living in a nice house with a yard and 2-car garage in a nice subdivision, working at a full-time job with benefits, living the “normal” middle-class life. It’s not my style. I get sick of the cultural emphasis of the “American Dream” and its syncretism with Western Christianity. In my view, it just does not line up with the Gospel or Biblical examples of Christ’s church. I don’t feel guilty for having nice things, but I do see each dollar earned or spent as a stewardship decision – wondering how many people it could feed or how else it could serve the Kingdom.
My go-to explanation/justification is that my job does have Kindgom value (I produce digital Biblical resources) and there are people here in my social class in the United States who also need Jesus. In fact, Jesus said it’s harder for the rich to be a part of the Kingdom, so this is certainly a vital mission field. Nashville also has serious homeless and human trafficking problems to which I’ve been called to respond. We know for sure that we are at the right church. There are men here who sharpen, challenge, and encourage me.
All those are legitimate, but even they feel like cop-outs sometimes. I could do the same job, reach the same people, and serve at the same church if I were much poorer. I would be plenty content if we lived in a trailer. I know it’s weird to be discontent with having what I perceive as too much. But that’s the true context of Philippians 4:13 – contentment with a little or a lot, in whatever situation God has me, through Christ who gives me strength.
This week, that took on a new meaning to me personally. See, when looking through our paperwork and seeing the requirements and qualifications for adoptive families, I realized that we JUST fit!
God has us exactly where we are right now so that we can adopt.
I am more than content with that. I’m stoked.