Excess is Not the Enemy

03/05/13

The following is an excerpt from a blog Fraser kept while leading a Venture Team to Malawi and Uganda last summer.

After arriving in Malawi and getting things up and running with the team, about day three, I started asking God, “OK God, what do you have for me on this trip?” The answer came on Friday night, August 10. It was after the team had all gone to bed. I found myself unable to put down our 96-page debriefing book, Unearth. Near the end of the book there is a paragraph entitled "Excess is not the enemy."

When I had first read this book three years ago, I remembered reading that part and not believing it. But somehow this time I realized it was true. I sat there in my pajamas and T-shirt and flip-flops under the gazebo with my team asleep in little huts all around me in the middle of Malawi, just staring at that line in the book and realizing it was true.

Even though I knew it was true it was still crazy. Earlier that same day I was playing with kids and visiting families in an extremely poor village in one of the poorest countries in the world.

                 Fraser and his wife Holly spend time with a family in a Malawian village.
                 Fraser and his wife Holly spend time with a family in a Malawian village.

I have a great life. Not to say I don’t have problems—trials—because I do. But I have been blessed by God with a really great life. And I don’t have to feel bad or guilty about that. What freedom!

I never really felt guilty about my life, but I did feel the tension of having the things I have while knowing other people who have nothing. And I definitely wondered if I should feel guilty. When God answered my prayer and gave me this realization, the weight of that tension just lifted off of me. I felt a new lightness.

I don’t think God is interested in guilting us into anything. Guilt happens naturally when we do something wrong or when our priorities are out of line. God is all about inspiring us toward greater things and looking toward the future.

A few days later during a very long car ride, I was mulling over my newfound realization, and I thought to myself, So, if excess isn’t the enemy, what is? And the answer came immediately: a hardened heart. A selfishness that says, “This is mine,” and “It’s all about me.”

That is the enemy.

And then a second answer came right away. It’s about what you do with what you have. Are you generous with your house? With your cars? With your time and your money? Do you live your life with open arms?

                  A girl in Malawi grins

                        What do YOU think?  Leave your thoughts and comments below.