Tuesday, 4 April 2017

How do you measure wealth?

The Uk teenager in school scorns the girl who is yet to own her first iPhone. Her family must be really poor right? The city family can't get their head around why their rural relations only have an old car, and broadband speeds that make a snail look like Usain Bolt. The big new mega-church looks at the little "tin" chapel (that has been there for three generations), and sneers at it in perplexity... "is it worth keeping going?", "how can it keep going in such a little, humble, building?"

In reality we all make decisions based on our own value systems. We chose to do things on the basis of whether we think they will be worth it? In our consumeristic society we do things on the basis of what they will give us back. Sadly the truth in the UK is that we have lost the value of many things which really are worth something. Little things like; the family, marriage, compassion, faithfulness, gentleness, contentment, trustworthy friends, community, in reality - make a huge difference to our lives. 

You may dismiss this as my value system (which is different to yours), however the timeless truth of the bible speaks to every age and value system and exposes the reality. What we sometimes invest everything into turns out not to deliver in the final analysis. Conversely, things which seem worthless to us now can turn out to be priceless. 

When the equals sign is drawn at the end of your life, will it amount to much ?
How will it be valued ? Will you be the one to decide the value of your life? 
Will you be that bothered about your bank balance or your golf handicap when you breath your last breath ?

The bible speaks a lot about what and who, we give our affections to. It tells us to "guard our hearts knowing that it is is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23) This priority message about our affections is one of love, from a God who not only knows the true value of all things, but remarkably ... values us. Ultimately that is what is so unimaginably, incomprehensibly, beautiful about the cross of Jesus Christ. In a place of rejection outside a city, is one who is rejected as worthless in order that you and me might be received as priceless. Even though we have treated God as worthless, we are given the gift of greatest eternal value. We cannot earn a relationship with God, Jesus Christ is a gift . He alone, transforms the lives of people with a daily and eternal payout of unconditional love we don't deserve. We don't bring any thing "of worth" to him. 

How do you think God views those who don't yet have a family? Those children who have never experienced compassion, gentleness, or faithful friends who speak the truth in love and stick with us closer than a brother? I believe from what I read in the bible that His heart beats loudly for such children, teenagers and churches who value such things. The truth is that a local church has to value those to whom this world says... "you are the weakest link ... goodbye!". Yes, in a moral, relational, and beneficial to himself sense, God has every right to dismiss us out of hand... but he doesn't! Therefore  the church must not only invest in God and what is precious to Him (and not our own idolatrous value system), but also those who are precious to Him. Those our world has rejected are very precious to God.

The work of Grace Baptist church in Odessa and across Ukraine is one which goes out of their way to offer unconditional love to children and teenagers who need faithfulness and family. It is a beautiful work. It is from God and for God, and is characterised  by His love and faithfulness. Many may yet dismiss it as worthless, maybe not even worth time, attention or money. After all, what would we get back from supporting such a thing, when all we have to show for it is a bunch of grown up teenagers who grow up to move on and find their own way in life? I would suggest to you it is one of the wisest moves I've have ever seen a church make. 

It is a privilege to support this project, one that we don't deserve to be part of. It has given us far more than we have ever given to it. It is such a valuable and joy-filled thing when you know that you are investing in something which God is smiling on.

If you are fully spent up on time, energy and money at the moment, we do hope that what you have spent on turns out to be wise and a good payout. If however you are skint, feeling worthless, occasionally useless, but still looking to invest your time in something  worthwhile... (like us)... we would love you either to come with us or be our hands back in the uk. We need people to help us to gather stuff which will equip people, churches and projects for good, we need people to pray faithfully for us and with us. 

This is the way our team sees things at the moment...

  • Our money is loaned to us from God. 
  • Our time is a gift we want to use wisely. 
  • Our evaluation is that this is a great project. 
  • We love "Grace Church", it's leaders and all the community stands for. 
  • This family has become our family, and so we want to love them with all we have. 
  • They are priceless to us. 

Thank you all those who support us and value what we are trying to do. Individuals, church leaders and church families you know who you are and you mean more to us than you can know.