Encountered the following while reading through The Disciplined Life by Calvin Miller in a section on dealing with conflict between materialism and spirituality … read and take yourself on a sobering journey of the imagination.
The editors of Leadership magazine (in the Summer 1988 edition) suggested nine rather drastic steps wealthy Westerners would have to take to truly identify with the developing world:
First, take out the furniture: leave a few old blankets, a kitchen table, maybe a wooden chair. You’ve never had a bed, remember?
Second, throw out your clothes. Each person in the family may keep the oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. The head of the family has the only pair of shoes.
Third, all kitchen appliances have vanished. Keep a box of matches, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a handful of onions, a dish of dried beans. Rescue the moldy potatoes from the garbage can: those are tonight’s meal.
Fourth, dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, take out the wiring and lights and everything that runs by electricity.
Fifth, take away the house and move the family into the tool shed.
Sixth, no more postman, fireman, government services. The two-classroom school is three miles away, but only two of your seven children attend anyway, and they walk.
Seventh, throw out your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, insurance policies. You now have a cash hoard of $5.
Eighth, get out and start cultivating your three acres. Try hard to raise $300 in cash crops because your landlord wants one-third and your moneylender 10 percent.
Ninth, find some way for your children to bring in a little extra money so you have something to eat most days. But it won’t be enough to keep bodies healthy – so lop off 25 to 30 years of life.
For those of those who have gone on a mission trip or who have served as missionaries, does this exercise of the imagination paint an accurate picture of living conditions in developing countries?
The world headquarters for Habitat for Humanity is located in the south Georgia town of Americus. Close to their headquarters building in downtown Americus Habitat has a Global Village & Discovery Center. Apart from serving in the mission field, it is one of the best ways to get a sense of how so many people in this world live. You can see life-size Habitat houses from around the world along with the shacks, boxes and villages they have replaced. Reading the above reminded me of our family visit there years ago …
Contemplating and considering … may you do the same.