I was expecting more wrestling when we got back.
Wrestling more with having more again; having more of just about everything: more reliable & accessible utilities; more ease in contacting and connecting to the internet, cable, HP Instant Ink; exponentially more products from which to choose on Amazon.com, supermarkets, hardware stores & every kind of specialty shop imaginable (teddy bears, cheesecake, slippers, not that I’m currently in the market for any of these things).
Of course, having much more stuff includes having many more expenses, as is only fair, right? Having a car means car inspections & repairs (had to replace the brake pads & rotors (ouch); having a home means replacing a broken floor lamp & a visit by Stanley Steemer due to the tenants who breeched the lease by welcoming a dog that generously left its odor in the carpets, upholstery & vacuum; being reconnected to the much larger grid required replacing Deb’s ailing, aging phone (she was able to download her 8000 pictures from Malawi before it died).
You see, I was fully expecting to and worrying about wrestling with having both more choices and more expenses. But, here we are, sitting pretty comfortably, seemingly back in the swing of things within less than 10 days of returning home. Maybe it will hit me later, after we return from presenting our stories of our time in Malawi to churches across PA or sometime in ’24 when I resume working part-time.
If I have wrestled with something since being home, it’s been Jesus’ parable, in Luke 12:16-21, about the farmer whose energy, talents, productivity, and enterprising vision led him to build upon his success by storing up more means and resources for his life and retirement years. Like the farmer, Deb and I have done pretty well over the years in terms of working hard and saving up for this stage of our lives. And, yet, paradoxically, we just learned in Malawi that we could live a full and rewarding life on half the income and twice the level of giving of 2022 (please know that you all made our giving possible with your gracious, generous donations!).
So, I guess, the real wrestling match is going to involve how we live and practice our faith with so much more at our disposal and so much more to give now that we are back in our comfortable cabin and routines. Will we have an open-door policy, as we did in Nkhoma, inviting people in for meals and fellowship to a far greater extent than we ever have throughout our married life? Will we seek out individuals and non-profit faith communities and service organizations who need more of our money than we would normally consider giving due to having so many more choices and expenses of our own? Will we humbly, honestly, fearlessly wrestle with what it means to be rich towards God?
O God, help us wrestle.