Last week in one of my posts I said I was being moved to action. One of my best friends asked me, "What kind of action? What are you doing?" I love this friend! She is not afraid to ask me the hard questions. She will not let me get away with just talking about action. She will make sure that I do what I say I'm going to do.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." -Romans 12:2
This verse really speaks to the action that is happening right now. I am working hard to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I am turning away from the pattern of this world. You might be thinking, "That's lame! She's totally avoiding real action!" But here's the deal, I want this 7 experiment to change me... and I want to stay that way. I don't want it to be some thing I did during the Summer of 2012, and then I went on with life as usual. I want to be changed. I want to be transformed.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle
I don't want to just do a few acts of kindness and charity so I can feel good about myself. I want to create new habits so I can be more useful to God and hopefully do good for other people... for the rest of my life.
In his book "The Hole in Our Gospel" Richard Stearns writes,
"The most common view held by Americans is that poverty is the absence of things. If only the poor had things like nutritious food, medicines, better houses, clean water wells, adequate clothing, agricultural tools, and seeds, they would no longer be poor. This is why we throw a dollar in the panhandler's cup, give our old clothes to Goodwill, and take short-term missions trips to other countries to dig irrigation channels, teach English, or build schools. But this kind of charity, while it has it's place, can backfire on naive 'Good Samaritans' who discover that those who receive their gifts are soon back asking for more of them. They saw an easy way to have their needs met and became dependent on the givers for their livelihoods. While providing things like these in urgent situations is sometimes necessary, it neither addresses the underlying stubbornness of poverty, nor is it sustainable; it just creates a dependency. Frankly, giving things to the poor does much more to make the giver feel good than it does to fundamentally address and improve the condition of those in need."
This is why my plan of action is to transform my mind and my habits. Because they way he described the American giver describes me... and it makes me cringe.