This last Sunday Raquel and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. I am very thankful for my wife, and our wonderful relationship. We have fought through many difficulties, we have survived theological shifts, church plants and closings, panic attacks, kidney stones, unemployment, eviction, depression ect. We have experienced the joy of companionship, amazing passion, the birth of our two beautiful children and the blessing of ministering to many young people along the way. It truly is a celebration for us.
Now as you might know we live fairly simple lives, don't have a lot, don't really need a lot. But every once and a while we get a special treat. Last night as we celebrated our anniversary we were able to use a gift voucher for a beautiful, fancy restaurant in St. Kilda called the Stokehouse.
We were given this voucher as a thank you for the work we do with Red Network (formerly South melbourne restoration community). This allowed us to go and have a really nice night out, that we wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.
So we are sitting upstairs, looking over the bay, and enjoying the most beautiful food. I had potato and leek ravioli with parmesan encrusted pumpkin, and really nice glass of red wine from Spain and we shared a beautiful affogato with walnut liquer for dessert. My wife looked beautiful and we were enjoying the atmosphere.
Then my mate Jono from UNOH sent a text message. If you don't know Urban Neighbors of Hope, they are an amazing group of people that live in community with people below the poverty line. Some of the UNOH team live in the slums of Bangkok in what amounts to a shed, with their children. This amazing organization is worthy of your prayers and financial support if you want more info http://www.unoh.org/html/s01_home/home.asp?dsb=5 AND PLEASE GO TO THE SURRENDER CONFERENCE THIS MONTH
Well when I get Jon's text I am confronted with the amazing diversity of these two worlds. I am eating in this posh restaurant, and am communicating with a sacrificial missionary, who inpires me so much. The question is what do you do with this?
Now I could follow my good Catholic upbringing and jump right into guilt. I could also jump to my Pentecostal education and say "God wants me to have this wonderful meal as His blessing". But I found myself in neither of those camps. I sat with my wonderful wife, and enjoyed a gift, and also prayed that God would allow me to become more like Jesus, accepting life as it comes. Having a wonderful feast with some wealthy friends and experiencing hunger an homelessness the next. Accepting the annointing of oil with grace, and walking in absolute humility, even becoming the worst of slaves, by washing his disciples feet. That truly is a man to follow.