This is Going to Hurt

This is going to hurt. I’m going to get in your face. Really? Yup. Here it comes – in a single question. Will you turn in your chopsticks and your bowl? So you think I’ve gone over the edge. I haven’t. I’m entirely serious. You may not own a set of chopsticks, and you might not care one way or another about your bowls, but when you understand my question you will understand why I said this is going to hurt.

Last night, I read in Paul Y. Cho’s book “Prayer: Key to Revival” the true story of an elderly, impoverished beyond description woman who desperately wanted to sacrifice her chopsticks and bowl as an offering to be sold to help finance a building for prayer in Korea where she lived. She knew her chopsticks and bowl would only earn a few pennies toward the project, but more importantly she knew these were her ONLY possessions.

Pastor Cho told her she should keep her chopsticks and bowl because surely she needed them. She replied that she was elderly and only had a certain time left on earth. She said she would eat her rice on newspaper, and she would eat with her hands. I cried, and I cried as I read this story. 
Pastor Cho could not refuse her offering, and sure enough God gave enormous increase through her decision to give from her poverty like the woman who gave two mites in the Bible that Jesus honored because of her sacrifice. What happened next? Her chopsticks and bowl were purchased for a very large amount of money because God gave the increase. He honored her faithfulness, her obedience, her heart. 
In a single year, the year before Pastor Cho wrote his book, over 300,000 people registered at Prayer Mountain, where thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people – more than many of us can even fathom – pray together as part of an ongoing revival in Korea. When Pastor Cho wrote the book, nearly 400,000 people were members of this vibrant church.
Now consider the chopsticks – and the bowl. What about your chopsticks, and what about your bowl? What are you giving to a world in need? Or, better yet, what are you not giving? 
Ouch. It hurts, doesn’t it? It’s one thing to cry with humility, with awe, at what this elderly woman did when she gave away all that she had. It is another thing altogether, isn’t it, when we consider what we won’t give away.
As Walk by Faith Ministry moves forward with its Sweet Dreams Project: helping the homeless dream and sleep, proving preaching/teaching and sleeping bags, Bibles, toiletries, and more to those in need, I see a need beyond what I could possibly have imagined. The more I see the need, it seems, the more I am convicted of this nation’s greed. 
I look inside my closets and I see the chopsticks. I look inside my kitchen cabinets and I see the bowls. I look inside my heart, and I wonder. Am I giving all the Lord would have me to give? Or am I greedy, am I hoarding? Do I have something someone else needs? 
Do you? Ouch. Hurts, doesn’t it? I told you it would hurt. I warned you. Why do you have all those extra winter coats? Do you really need the extra comforters you never use? Is there a reason you’re not making a donation to that organization the Lord keeps putting on your heart? Why do you cook big dinner parties but can’t find the time to visit your local soup kitchen and help make a meal? You keep changing the decorations outside your house to make sure everything looks pretty for your neighbors. But what about your neighbors? When was the last time you prayed for your neighbor whose kid has cancer, or took them a casserole or a batch of your favorite cookies? 
I know. It hurts. It should, anyway. Shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t it hurt when we’re faced with this truth? We have so much more to give than we’re giving, don’t we? This is how I look at it. People are sick. They are dying. They don’t know the Lord. They know nothing of Jesus. They’re hurting. They’re broken. Homeless. Hungry. Lost. Addicted. Suicidal. Hopeless. Despairing. Begging because no one will help. Clueless about the Lord. Don’t even know how to find Him. Know little, maybe nothing, about the Bible. They’re hooked on sex. Because they’re lonely. The loneliness feels like it’s killing them. They think about killing themselves. Or someone else. They’re prowling the streets at night, looking for something, someone, anything, whatever, won’t anything help? It gets worse. The world darkens. 
And you? You kick up your feet, you groan because you left the remote control on the kitchen counter when you were choosing between the chocolate peanut butter ice cream, the Oreo cookies, or your kids’ first attempt at Toll House cookies with sprinkles on top. Man, now you have to get back up again, go get the remote – or?
Hey, will you turn off the television for a second? Maybe a minute? Would you do me a favor? Would you please consider this? This one question I have for you?
What about your chopsticks, and your bowl? 
Isn’t it high time you lay aside your dreams, set down your agenda, give up your own way of doing things – and ask yourself this question.
What am I doing to help a lost and dying world, a world that is more broken than any of us can possibly fathom?
Got chopsticks? And a bowl? 
I encourage you, my friend, to see this very moment as a turning point. A new beginning. Do you believe in Jesus as Lord? If not, He beckons. He calls. Call me at 843-338-2219 and I’ll be happy to introduce you. Got Jesus already? Following Him? In His Word? Doing the Lord’s will in your life? Okay, now the next issue at hands. I ENCOURAGE YOU with every ounce of my being to begin afresh your life, to come down on your hands, your knees, and your face and seek the Lord’s forgiveness for where you have gone wrong, where you have fallen short, where you could have done things differently, His way, and receive His mercy. And then, my friend, I ENCOURAGE YOU to ask Him to lead you forward in a new way – with chopsticks and bowl in hand – and live the life He intended for you all along. For Him.
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