Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker – Week 4


Possessions

As we embarked on the homework for this week, I experienced an apprehension that this week’s fast wouldn’t cut deep enough.  Rather than seeking God’s guidance from the start, I began by  thinking that I would give away seven things a day for seven days.  So I started a list.  What would be a true sacrifice for me to give?  Seven books, seven movies, seven music CDs.  OK.  What else?  I listed seven more “7”s on the sticky note and set it aside.  I went through my bookcase at work where I keep lots of books to inspire and encourage me.  I grabbed seven books and set them on the “giveaway” table in the break room, praying that the Lord would use the volumes to draw people to Him.  Before you go thinking that I’m so thoughtful and generous, let me admit that I only had a tough time giving away maybe one of those books.  It wasn’t too much of a hardship.

That was my “fear” for this week, that I wouldn’t make the hard choices, that I wouldn’t seek God’s will in this exercise.  It would be easy to grab bags of clothes to give away.  The hard part is taking them to a shelter and looking into the faces of the people who would receive that kindness.  What could I give away that I possess that would bless someone else and draw me closer to God?  Here is how I listed my choices next to those four remaining “7”s on the sticky note:

Prayers.  You might argue that “anyone could do this”.  True.  But would they?  Praying can be a challenge, so I had to stipulate that it wasn’t a prayer I would routinely say.  My first opportunity came when I received my boss’ email saying he would be at home with a sick child rather than at the office today.  I prayed for the child’s recovery, comfort and rest and for my boss’ peace and trust in his employees to get the job done in his absence.  I also prayed that God would use the situation to draw them closer to each other and to Him.  I’m still awaiting other chances to pray.

Contacts.  I don’t like talking on the telephone.  This is a genuine sacrifice for me.  When I wrote this one down, God brought someone to my mind who had been in the hospital recently.  I waited until I thought she might be awake and called her house, hoping that she had already gone home.  The phone rang a bunch of times, but she finally picked up and we talked for about 10 minutes.  It was truly a blessing for both of us.  My second contact will come at lunchtime.  I was supposed to have coffee with a friend last night, but she didn’t feel well so we postponed.  I plan to text her and ask if she’s feeling better.  I’m not usually that thoughtful, so this is another significant step.  I can’t wait to see who else the Lord brings to mind during this week!

Witnesses.  I’ve been asking the Lord to give me opportunities to share my faith.  The first was a woman at work who came up to me and said she just learned that I was a breast cancer survivor.  So I shared part of my faith journey with her.  I probably shouldn’t count her since I talked with her before I decided this would be one of the “things” I gave away, and also because she didn’t really listen to me while I was speaking.  As I shared, she kept saying, “right, right,” and watched television.  The second was a man I conversed with about humility and prayer (and also the woman who was in the room and involved in the conversation).  I’m still praying for opportunities and that the Holy Spirit will fill my mouth with the right words when those opportunities come.  I’m looking forward to five more.

Hugs.  Yes, I am absolutely going to take the easy road on this one. One husband.  Two daughters.  One son-in-law.  And I know I can find at least one person to hug at church!

What “possessions” would you have given away if you were me?  Or would you have handled this fast differently?

Before we tackle the battle plan scenario, let me confess that I totally dropped the ball this week.  I didn’t seek God, and that’s what this whole thing is supposed to be about.  Right?  So, to formulate a plan of attack, how can we translate this week into daily Christian life?  First, let’s recap:  We’re meeting with God first thing every day.  We are putting on the whole armor of God (I confess that I neglect to do this more than I remember).  So, how can we fight this spiritual battle regarding possessions?

Third step in the battle plan:  To be honest, I’m having trouble coming up with something.  I suppose we should be observant, engage people, get to know their needs and use what we have to meet those needs.

Most gracious Father in heaven, carve the Pharisee out of me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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