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October 15, 2008

We started a new series with the students last Friday called Party Like a Monk. We’re talking about the monastic lifestyle and gleaning what we can from them. Friday, we talked about the first vow that a monk takes: poverty.

Monks take a vow of poverty that forbids them to own anything except what is allowed them by a superior. They thus identify with the poor, and share whatever they do have with those in need.

Which is nice, but if my family and I are living in a cardboard lean-to and you tell me you took a vow of poverty to identify with me I’m going to call you a mean name and move on. Thanks but no thanks; I’m not interested in perpetuating the problem.

We talked about numbers:

  • Almost half of the world’s children live below the poverty line.
  • One child dies every three seconds from causes related to poverty.
  • Malaria (a preventable and treatable disease) claims 1,000,000 lives every year. Eighty percent of them are children in Africa.

We looked at painful pictures:

And we talked about Matthew 25. “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

We talked about what we can do, and what we need to do. We talked about what the people of God are called to do, and what we’re privileged to do and be through Jesus’ name.

We talked about Matthew 24. Just before three consecutive parables about being prepared for the second coming, and doing the work of the gospel, Jesus tells us what to expect in the last days. Among the horrors, He says “there will be famines” (plural).

We talked about getting involved for the long-haul. We’re not being called to hold a fundraiser, throw a couple hundred dollars at a charity, and check it off our Good Works list.

And we talked about three practical applications:

  1. Compassion International can provide an insecticide-treated mosquito net to a family for $10, and save countless children from malaria. There are several organizations that do this, but we want to go through Compassion because we know that where Compassion goes, the gospel goes.

  2. Benevolence. Our own church has a great ministry that is feeding people in our own town. Poverty is worldwide, and that includes Elgin, Illinois. Did you know, for example, that over half of the students at Elgin High School qualify for free or discounted lunches?

  3. Warm Wishes is (was? – I’ve tried to contact them and the email address doesn’t work. Stay tuned.) a ministry in our area that collects blankets and distributes them to the homeless, and homeless shelters, in the north Chicago ‘burbs.

We took a vote that I haven’t tallied yet. Friday we’ll know what the majority of our students feel they can get passionate about, and get involved with.

In the meantime, go play FreeRice.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    October 16, 2008 12:50 pm

    Free Rice is pretty much my new favorite thing to do during class.

  2. NaNcY permalink
    October 16, 2008 4:29 pm


  3. Lex permalink
    October 16, 2008 7:39 pm

    Word, Jen. I figured out the other day that I can get on my cell phone too. It’s over.

  4. Craig Snedeker permalink
    October 18, 2008 1:14 am

    Sweet post. This is my fav bible verse that talks about this stuff:

    “If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” – Deut. 15:7


  5. Lex permalink
    October 18, 2008 5:47 pm

    Right on, Craig. I love going back to the OT for that, too. It’s not even a post-Cross idea that we’re supposed to extend whatever we have to those in need. (Happy birthday, BTW.)

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