Yesterday morning I was trimming the hedges. Now, I have never trimmed the hedges before and was intimidated at the prospect of wrestling into submission the bushes that were eating our house. Yes, it was that bad.
So I was into it. It was a massacre of epic proportions. And I wasn’t the only landscape warrior fighting the good fight.
There was a symphony of yard work rising up from our cul-de-sac. A weed eater, multiple lawn mowers, and my garage sale hedge trimmer all making sweet gasoline powered music.
I was sweating profusely, slashing my poor bushes into a roundish shape, and listening to the cacophony of sound . . . and then I stopped. Just – stopped. Is this it? Is this where I pour my time and efforts, into this chorus of landscape conformity? Do I spend my Saturdays in the pursuit of the elusive, perfectly round bush?
Am I drowning out the cries of the needy with the sounds of suburbia?
Maybe that seems a bit melodramatic. Maybe it was a big leap.
But . . . there has to be more. I can’t let this be the defining characteristic of our life in this season. This can’t be it. John Piper wrote a whole book about it, Don’t Waste Your Life. (Editor’s note: READ IT!!)
I am currently obsessed with Psalm 82:3. It loops in my brain constantly as I breeze through life as a one percenter.
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Psalm 82:3 (ESV).
How do I do that? How do we, the Huggins family, live this out in Clarksville, TN?
After the hedge slaughter, we watched the Hunger Games last night. Let me just say, I could write a book on my reactions to that movie. But I won’t.
I will tell you that as a culture, I feel like the audience in the Hunger Games. Decked out in the glittery trappings of a self-absorbed life, consumed with our own entertainment, desperate to maintain our comfort. Our apparent apathy for the suffering of others is astounding. We watch children die of hunger. We hear about it on television, we see the pictures of living skeletons on the internet. We know the statistics on child slavery, on the sex trade.
I watched as Rue died and the world watched and I was sobbing because children are dying and we are watching and still, still
. . . we get up Saturday morning and try to make our bushes round.
How do we stop watching and start doing? What does it look like in our life to give justice to the weak and the fatherless? I so desperately want this to be the heart cry of my family every day.
Okay – time out. It is not a bad thing to trim your bushes. I will be the first to say I love my new house and I love decorating it. God calls us to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and I am grateful beyond measure for the physical blessings He has showered on this family. This is in no way a guilt trip for having possessions. This is about priorities and how we use those blessings to fight for the poor, the downtrodden, the afflicted. How do we serve with what we’ve been given?
I don’t know the answer. We are in the crawl stage as a family – I’m not preaching from a soap box, trust me.
It’s different for all of us.
There are a slew of legitimate charities, organizations, and individuals living Psalm 82:3 moment by moment. Here are a few on my radar at the moment.
(This is a personal list, I am not affiliated professionally with or receiving compensation from anyone on this list. As a matter of fact, none of them even have a clue who I am. Except for Laura and Joel. And I just love them.)
Children’s Hope Chest. “Children’s HopeChest was founded in 1994 in response to the devastating need of orphans in Russia following the fall of the Iron Curtain. These children had serious basic needs – for clothing, food, medical and facilities – but more compelling was their need for love, human interaction and care, and future hope. In response, Children’s HopeChest developed a holistic approach which meets medical, physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of orphaned children and youth, in fulfillment of our mission.”
Compassion International. “Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.”
Rahab’s Rope. “Rahab’s Rope is committed to fighting human trafficking in India and to bringing life and hope to its many victims. We are a faith based non-profit organization that desires to follow Jesus’ teaching and direction on every step of the journey. Our vision is to see lives transformed by God’s love in action.”
International Justice Mission. “International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.”
World Vision. “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice . . . Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.”
Beyond these organizations, there are individuals.
I just internet-met Laura Parker. I love her blog. Her family is living Psalm 82:3. Read it, pray for her. My human to human friend Laura and her husband Joel traveled the globe trying to figure this out. Their hearts are truly on fire to change the world. There’s a million more. Seek them out. Support them.
Find organizations in your community. Pack a backpack for a hungry kid. You don’t have to go across the world to serve the needy.
Please, just start by asking yourself the question.
If you are already seeking to answer this question, I would LOVE to hear your ideas for your family, especially with small children.
P.S. This topic has been on my heart for a long time. This blog post from Ann Voskamp started a slow and steady burn . . . although for the record, there are still presents under our tree:)
UPDATE: Now see this blog post as well. How to Live the Really Best Bucket List. By Ann Voskamp. Of Course.