Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Man unfazed with materialistic lifestyle

When Ian came in his Volkswagen to take me around Charlotte, he pulled over his car in front of my American host’s bungalow, his ‘old junk’ stood in great contrast with the expensive modern vehicles parked there. Judging from the look of the car, I seriously doubt its reliability. But the Germans are noted for manufacturing solid tankers.

Ian drove his Volkswagen as if it is a Ferrari. He even overtook several bigger cars along the high way. All along the journey my left foot was stepping on the imagery brakes. Ian is a huge American. He looks like Francis Schaeffer, the great philosopher and theologian whom I admire. Ian was completely contented with his ancient machine. He was unfazed with materialism. I find his attitude towards money refreshing.

Ian spent a few days taking me around Charlotte. He was most generous even though he wasn’t rich at all. Being a missionary kid, he grew up unlike most American kids who have more things than they ever need in their lifetime. He has very little and yet possesses much. He has a big heart and kind. When he insisted paying the bill for the pullover I bought at Billy Graham Center, I could not fight with him. His size dwarfed me.

This is a man who chose not to go to University and yet had written 3 books. He once worked in the Hollywood’s studio and is gifted in literary, video shooting. His gift will enrich my church when he comes to us.

His wife Darlene sings like an angel. Darlene is a Sundanese and also a missionary kid. They have 3 lovely children. They live a simple lifestyle. It’s such a joy to know this family who are committed to serve God wherever He calls.

Jesus’ sermon on birds of the air and lilies of the field was fleshed out in their lives.
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field… So do not worry…but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…”

It is often said that we will not be judged by how much we possess (hoard) but by how much we gave away to be a blessing to others, and yet many have bought in the materialistic culture lock, stock and barrel.

We save our lives, we will lose them. We hoard our possession, we will lose them. In giving away, paradoxically we find them and possess them in return.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I always thought it was thrilling to see rich people give away their money generously, or use it to bless other people. But perhaps it's even more thrilling to watch not-so-rich people do that with whatever they possess. Such a reminder, that whatever we have comes from God's hand, whether little or a lot, and ultimately it's not ours to keep forever. I'm reminded to hold whatever material wealth I have as loosely and as generously as possible.

And yes, it's true. Americans have way too much. I see it everyday.