I didn’t shower yesterday, at all. I’m pretty sure the smell was bad because my wife refused to give me a hug last night. When the people who love you most don’t want you near them, you know its bad. No, I’m not on some ‘hippie don’t shower, get dreads, and wear a hemp necklace’ kick. I was fasting. I was actually fasting from taking a shower. You see there are all sorts of modern conveniences that you and I enjoy that a large portion of the world does not. In some places in the world if you want to take a shower you’ve got to hike a few miles just to get the water to shower. In other places there isn’t clean water to shower with. Even here in the US there are people who can’t afford to shower on a daily basis. There are other things we take for granted: homes, beds, cars, ipods, shoes, microwaves, and so on.
So why fast from these things? Isaiah 1:16-17 says “…cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). The cause of justice in the world has been handed to God’s people. If we’re not fighting for the poor, the fatherless, the oppressed, and those in need, who will? My friend Matt told me that if only 7% of Christians adopted a child, there would be no more orphans on the planet. The church has the power to take care of the fatherless today, right now. It would take a huge effort or a massive fund-raising campaign. It would take just a small percentage of the church acting like the church.
So over the next fifteen days our student ministry is going to fast from different conveniences. We’re going to strive to feel what it is like to not be privileged. We will long to see life without all the stuff, not just to get a glimpse into the lives of the less fortunate, but to also draw closer to the heart of God. We’re calling it a Journey to Awareness We’re striving for awareness of the plight of others, but also awareness of the call of God to love and fight for people, regardless of their social status or geographical location. So if your kid is doing some weird stuff over the next few days, or if you see a high school kid without his shoes on, relax, its not the latest fad, its a fast.
I’m not saying any of these things are bad. I love that I can take a shower, wear deodorant, drive my truck, and listen to my iPod. I’m also not just saying that if these things deter my focus from God then I should remove them from my life. While that is true, if any thing in my life takes precedence over God it is sin, I think I’d like to go one step further. If these conveniences numb my heart to the suffering of others, then they are causing me to sin. Experiencing the grace of God should compel me to action. So my goal through the fast is to awaken my heart to God’s provision in my life and to how God can use me to provide for others. I’m excited about what God might do.
If you would like to join us, Journey to Awareness journals are available in the youth center.