Moving Right Along–reflections on couches, CDs, and “other stuff”

“Moving Right Along.”  Yes, before you ask, I did lift that title from the Muppets Movie.  But it seems to fit.  What does it say about us that a singing frog and bear in a Studebaker seem to sum up our current experience?  I’ll let you decide…

But, muppets aside, there is a lot of moving and transition going on for us.  First up is getting our condo ready to rent.  Liz and I hope to get a renter for our condo by this spring, and move into the mission house located on our church’s property.  This will hopefully give us greater flexibility to travel in the upcoming months to speak with churches and individuals about prayer and financial partnership with us in church-planting and AIDS ministry in Ethiopia.  But it also means that the time has come to start selling or giving away many of our belongings, and also means we have to say goodbye to a home we love.  Seriously humbling and scary!  These transitions have already begun to expose Liz and me in the often hidden ways that our hearts cling to “stuff” more than to our Savior.  But it is also a joyful and liberating task–as we grow in excitement in our sense of calling to Ethiopia, and as we are daily reminded of the power of the Gospel that promises God’s grace and forgiveness for the subtle ways we love couches and CDs more than Jesus.  Liz just finished reading Missions and Money by Jonathan Bonk, and it has spurred lots of conversation, and has led us to reflect quite a bit on what the Scriptures say about wealth and material possessions.  ”As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)  The humbling reality is that even as Liz and I give away many of our possessions, and transition into a lifestyle in Addis that most would consider quite modest, we will still be among the richest Christians in the world.  This feels strange to say.  Liz and I have sought to live modestly and without too much focus on material possessions, and yet the truth remains that by global standards we are wealthy Christians– especially when compared to the numerous believers around the world that live on less that $1 or $2 per day.  It has forced us to ask in very personal ways, “What is God calling us to regarding our possessions and lifestyle in the future?  What does it look like to live as wealthy Christians in a city like Addis Ababa that is so deeply affected by poverty?”  Liz and I have started calling out to God in prayer about these things, that He might deliver us from the greed, materialism, and worry which so easily entangle our hearts when material possessions and our own financial security are involved.  Please pray for us, that we would grow in faith and trust in God as our eternal portion and lead lives of generosity and readiness to share, that we might “take hold of that which is truly life.”  We can not do it without the work of His Spirit within us.  Thank you for praying–it means more to us than we can possibly say.

In the meantime, we’ll keep getting rid of stuff until our lives can fit into a shipping container.  Keep singing Kermit and Fozzie, the journey has just begun.  ”Moving right along, footloose and fancy-free…”  ~ Jason

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