Friday, June 27, 2008

Did You Know...

If 1 out of every 7 Christians adopted, there would be no more orphans. 1 out of every 7.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Because, I know our intention when we started this adoption. I know we knew it was a calling from God. We were able to quote at the very least 5 times in the Bible when God specifically mentions caring for the orphans. He calls Himself "The God of the fatherless." A handful of times as well. He talks about "the least of these" and "the last will be first" and things of that nature. Zach and I knew we were both selfish and spiritual in our quest to adopt our little Tariku. We chose an older child because we knew these were, in fact, "the least of these" in the adoption community. We knew they lingered in orphanages far longer than their younger counterparts and we also knew our hearts were ready for a kid who walked and talked and knew the right direction to the bathroom (though not the right place to spray, as it turns out). So Tariku was handed to us by the One and Only and we are ever thankful.

Of course with that 1 in 7 statistic that also assumes 1 out of 7 want a child. If there aren't that many Christians out there who want children in the first place, things get complicated. But then there's those of us who would have 20 if our finances could squeeze it in. Point being, first there must be the want of another child. There are some Christian leaders who don't agree with that necessarily; the fact is God never called us for a comfortable life void of all suffering. But I'm from the camp that believes taking on another child when one is not necessarily wanted would not be what God had intended for that child or family. But...moving on.

Last weekend at church we had Bono kind of lead the sermon. They showed a clip of an interview with him that was pretty amazing and guess what, I cried. One of my favorite things he said was that life isn't about "pie in the sky". We can't walk around waiting for heaven. God didn't tell us to sit around and wait to die because heaven is going to be that good. Our mission is to bring heaven to earth. Andy, our worship leader, distinguished between vertical worship (singing praises in church, etc) and horizontal worship (being the hands and feet of God). Our mission is horizontal worship. The fact of that matter is, if we're okay to sit in our fancy homes and eat our fancy meals and wear our khakis and not be seriously disturbed by the fact that this world looks NOTHING like heaven, then we are not doing our Christinanly duty. We are anything BUT the hands and feet. We'd be more like the butt and toenails, necessary but nasty at times.

Bono also reminded us (and told me, I had never heard it before) that Jesus only speaks of judgement or hell twice. But he speaks of love and caring for others all the time. One of the time he speaks of judgement he talks about separating people at what has commonly been referred to as the pearly gates. He says God will separate between the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be the ones who cared for the least of these. The ones who clothed him when he was naked, who visited him in jail, who fed him when he was hungry. The people remind Jesus that he had never been in jail to which Jesus answers, "Yes, but I say whatever you do to the least of these you do to me."

I was all jazzed up by Andy's worship and message and then by the U2 leader himself. I was horribly disappointed, however, to have no call to action after the service. They had laid rocks at the front of the stage for people to walk by and be reminded of the Liberian children we sponsor through church who spend all day in a rock quarry for something like a nickel a day. Touching, I do admit, but to be quite honest I've only thought about that twice since Sunday. What I wanted was a call to action. A church leader to stand up and convince us (me included) that we are not doing enough horizontal worship. Sure, I may sing as loud as I possibly can, raise my hands to the sky and cry my eyes out during vertical worship but who sees that but the other Christians around me who are doing the same thing? I can tell you the Ethiopians who are dying from hunger don't see my vertical worship and see that as any saving grace to them.

I think so many Christians have no idea what it means to be the hands and feet. What do I do? Where do I start? Where do I focus my energies when the world is filled with places that need the strength and hope of Jesus? These are all good questions but I don't think God only calls us when we're good and ready. We need to be seriously disturbed RIGHT NOW. Start anywhere, really! But I think church leaders need to give thousands of outlets for people to get started. Got a business person who doesn't want to do missions but has the brains that might help to get micro-loans kick started in countries who need self-sustaining options? Send them to ANYWHERE in Africa and watch the effect of an entire community be transformed by the grace and hope of one Godly person. Got someone who might be interested in orphan care and possibly adopt but don't have the money to pay for something like it? Start a separate fund where other people can donate (and receive a tax deduction!) and help out. That list is not exhaustive and are not earth shattering ideas. But it's something and it's somewhere to start.

All this said, I'm still one of those who has just started my horizontal worship. I'm still in the infancy stage, suckling on the horizontal worship mommy's breast (Zach only reads this if I mention boobs, what can I say?). I've taken the huge leap of faith that was adoption and have found myself restless since to begin God's work in any way I can. I truly hope it's in Ethiopia, but who knows? I know I'm ready. I know I'm thinking every...single...day about what my strengths are and how they can benefit a country who has given me so very much. I know I'm on the edge of my seat, knowing Coach is going to be calling me into the game sometime very soon and I wonder how I'll play. Will I disappoint? Will I lead the charge for others? Will I have to take a sacrificial foul to save time on the clock? Don't know, but I know there HAVE to be more Christians out there like me. Keep your eyes on the prize, whoever you are, our time will come soon.

Oh, and if you think you might want another child...ADOPT!

13 comments:

tkladynred said...

Amen and Amen daughter of mine. I love you. tmom

Cindy said...

I've heard that 1 out of 7 statistic. Is that saying that if one out of every 7 Christians in the US or in the world? I've had someone ask me to clarify. I am totally with you on the point, but wanted some clarity on the statistic (if you have it), so I sound more convincing next time someone asks me.

A family in Iowa. said...

Cindy -- I, too, have heard the statistic and been convicted by it. I did a little of my own research, wondering, how could this be true? Well, it's true. A quick google search (to reliable websites, of course) will tell you the number of orphans in the world and the number of Christians in the world. A bit of quick math will tell you that it equates to one in seven. I don't have the links I found the info. on in front of me, but I'll look through my piles and come up with it. I, too, was curious about this astounding fact and can verify it.

Thanks for the post, Tesi!

Leslie

Courtney said...

tesi - i'm a childhood friend of jody's - read your blog regularly, don't think i've ever commented.

thanks for this post. i'm speechless. don't really know what to say. except you struck chords deep in my heart that i hope will spur me to action! thanks!

becker25 said...

Awesome post Tesi!
Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all of the positive information that you gave us last Sunday, and we too have decided to adopt from Ethiopia! The agency that you had gone through IS the same one that Brians sister had such positive results with, so we have already started the process with them. Just wanted to let you know... Michelle Becker

Matthew and Amanda said...

Tesi,

Just thought you might like to know, you've got another bench warmer eagerly waiting to be called into the game. I'm not athletic, but I'm ready to play my little heart out! It's good to know others are working towards living their faiths as well.

Amanda

rebekah said...

AWESOME POST, TESI! Better than a post, this is an essay, a proclamation, a life statement. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you rock.

Chatter said...

Great post Tesi!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

cathy said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Christ tells us over and over and over to serve one another and take action. And it's not as if adopting is some kind of harship, right? My children are the best things that have ever happened to me.

Mama Sweet Pea said...

AMEN!!!

amy smith said...

you put words to my thoughts...

Tiffany.Bobendrier said...

Amen sister!!!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I love reading your blog as we wait to meet our first child...who happens to be in Ethiopia.

Thanks for sharing your passion and conviction for this "horizontal worship" that glorifies God by demonstrating to the world who Christ is. I completely agree.

I would only add that many people say that they are waiting to be "called" or say they are being “called” to do what they are currently doing. We are called in so many ways each day...via the Word (if we read it) via the knot in your stomach when you think of a child suffering. The problem is that “the call” ALWAYS comes at the price of our comfort.

For me personally, its a lot more exciting to get geared up for the big items (like adopting from Ethiopia) than the small inconvenient stuff like stopping to love on that unlovable guy in the cube next to me, or not buying that new gadget (but Lord.. its a 3G iPhone!) so that I can give more.

This whole adoption experience is showing me that it took the spiritual equivalent of an air horn to my ear to hear Him tell us His plan…but what a rush to be "off the bench" as you say. Now I'm praying for Him to help be a better listener for those daily whispers (and the obedience to do something about it) .....or risk becoming comfortable...which usually means you are back on the bench. Thanks so much for inspiring us in our adoption spiritual journeys.