What is crazy?
It’s almost official. We’re like 99% sure we’re moving overseas. We think we’re getting an offer on our house tomorrow. Mark’s interviewing in London on Monday. The reality of everything changing is hitting me. I often feel excited. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. But mostly, I feel a crazy sense of peace that God is leading. But before I go, there are some things I have to say.
About a year ago, I was laying awake in bed in Africa, listening to rain pound like the beat of a dream on the roof of our guest house. We had spent the day visiting a hospital, a prison, a slum and an orphanage. Seriously, I thought, next time I am tempted to grumble that my life is hard or I am too busy, remember this day. Remember these faces. Remember these stories.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)
What are you doing for the least of these? Are you pouring yourself out for the hungry? Or are you pouring yourself out for something else?
I believe we are created to worship. We are always living for something. For comfort, pleasure, security, success, admiration. Or perhaps for Jesus. If we are living for Jesus, then our lives should be different. We should be pouring ourselves out for the least of these. Not because it earns us God’s love, but because God loves us. And when we receive God’s love – when we are filled with his love – his love overflows. We pour out what we have received. And we are satisfied.
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise as in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. You shall be called restorer of streets to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:10-12)
Over the last two years, I have experienced this over and over again. By God’s grace, I have poured myself out. And I have been deeply satisfied. Seriously. It has been amazing.
Sweet friends, I watch many of you living in this place of fear, avoiding anything that could be difficult, seeking comfort and security. You are terrified that if you pour yourself out, you will be left empty. But God’s love never ceases. When you pour out his love, we are pouring from a spring of water whose waters do not fail. This life is not about having a flawless house or perfect marriage or beautiful, well-behaved children. It’s about sacrifice. Suffering. Redemption. And great joy.
Do you see the hungry?
So often in cities like Bellevue and Seattle we go through our days unaware of poverty and suffering. Our lives our easy and comfortable. And we like it that way. But there is poverty here in our community and there is poverty all around the world. People are hungry, thirsty, alone, ashamed, dying and in prison. And most of the time, we do not see it.
If you want to pour yourself out for the least of these, first you need to open your eyes. To pray for God’s heart. To receive his love. And to give it away.
About 15 months ago, I did something really crazy. I wrote a total stranger and asked a completely crazy question. I love what Noonday Collection is about. Is there any way I could sell Noonday Collection here in Seattle? But in one of those crazy moments where I knew God was at work, the stranger wrote back and said I was just praying about that. Just over a year later, I am one of a dozen women together on this mission. Together we are providing income for hundreds of artisans around the world. We’re giving back thousands of dollars to support adoption and orphan care. And we’re helping women see the least of these, while helping them feel beautiful inside and out.
In just a few months, however, I am moving to London. There are Noonday Collection Ambassadors all over the United States. But right now, I am the only Ambassador in the Seattle area. As I am writing this blog, I am praying for the women here in Seattle who will feel God put this on their hearts. Are your eyes open? Is your heart longing to do more? Are you overflowing with the love of the Father and willing to pour yourself out so others can know him and experience the goodness of his kingdom?
Being a Noonday Collection Ambassador has been hard work. It has been a sacrifice for our family. But it has also been a great blessing and honor. Strangers invite me into their homes to talk about jewelry and fashion – but in the process I get to tell the stories of artisans and orphans. I get to talk about Jesus and how his love motivates me to give my life away.
A few weeks ago, I said a half hearted prayer: God, I’d really like to go back to Africa. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But if you want me to go, you could open the door. The next day I got a message from that same stranger who has become a friend: do you want to go to Rwanda? I was sitting in the car waiting for kids after school. I wanted to jump up and down and cry and tell the other moms waiting in the school parking lot that God is so crazy amazing. He heard my heart and he was already opening the door for me to go. To see. To pour myself out. I will be going to Rwanda to represent Noonday Collection alongside the designers from Matilda Jane.
So seriously. What are you living for? Are you pouring yourself out? Is your heart pounding as you read this? Do you want to host a Noonday Collection Trunk Show? Or to be an Ambassador? Being a part of Noonday is not the only way to pour yourself out for the least of these.
But if you have received the love of God and you are not pouring it out to others, that is crazy.
Crazy is living for comfort and security. Crazy is caring more about what people think that what God thinks. Crazy is missing out on what God’s doing in the world because you can’t imagine living differently. Crazy is closing your eyes and your heart to the poor and the oppressed. Crazy is believing you can know God’s love without giving it away.