Friday, September 08, 2006

The air was stale as evening intruded on the bustling daylight. Perspiration filled any path as city streets emptied theirs. How could it be so hot at evenings entrance? How could there not be air conditioning to ease the rough edge of intensity? This is July in North Africa's largest tourist city.

My room this night was on the second floor. As I stood by the window watching the city fold up for the evening, my attention was drawn to a street sweeper... a garbage collector. His mule drawn wagon boasted of the aromatic refuse left behind by his cities visitors from that day. This lone man had charge of clearing this busy alleyway of it's funk.

He was emptying one more load of trash into his wagon when from it, something caught his eye. He retrieved it, sniffed it, then began to eat. My reaction was repulsion. My stomach was threatening to empty its contents.

In a world which has much, but offers him little, in a city containing the highest number of visitors in his country, his poverty cries out in contrast to their wealth. Here he has discovered a means of survival. This is how he lives.

It is hard for us to comprehend, yet it is not given a second thought in his mind. He ate this day!

There is much we could do with what we assure others is nothing. In our quest to compare ourselves to others in our own society, we fail to realize how great our wealth is. The world around us is starving, and we retreat to air conditioned comfort and plan our next trip to "Frolicland."

How often in our own lives do we fail to realize we are ingesting garbage. We have the "Bread of Life," yet seek to feast on crumbs from the 'upper crust.' We must have what they have. We deserve it. We've earned it!

When I was 16 and employed as a dishwasher at a restaurant, I developed a routine I am not proud of. You see I love cheesecake! At that point in my life, they had the best I'd ever tasted. I loved visiting there with family and being treated to this scrumptious dessert. It was one of the reasons I sought employment there. You know, the idea of fringe benefits? Free cheesecake.

As the dishwasher, the busboys would bring me the bounty from cleared tables. My job was to deposit the scraps and cleanse the china. I found that it was pretty common for patrons to leave part of their cheesecake. This yummy delight would find its way to my humid domain. I felt it was my obligation to make the best of that which their hard earned money had been expended.

I cut away the portion their fork had tainted, inhaled the remainder, all while scooting the dishes through the washer!

Yes, it is disgusting. I was 16. I loved cheesecake. I still love cheesecake. I still find it necessary to help my wife or children clear their plates of delectable delights. BJ was my foe at this. He too, loved cheesecake. It was one of the few desserts he would eat. We would do battle over who got to "assist" our family members in "cleaning their plates."

We live in a society of surplus. Our expectations come at the expense of those who can only dream. We can offer them much. We can replace 'garbage' with Truth. We can even feed them in the process. A shift in our priorities is necessary. We cannot afford the "Let them eat cake" mentality. They are our responsibility. We who have much, need to give up some, so others may eat and be full, so others may know Him!

Let us come to the end of justification for gratification and extend beyond our borders for the sake of Him who gave all.

dad


Deanna and I head to Snellville, Georgia this weekend to share at FBC in their Sunday 5pm service. We would appreciate your prayer support for this body as they hear our journey, and that the Lord would move in their hearts as He sees fit.

11 Comments:

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

i will be praying. for safety, and for the moving of the Holy Spirit.

we just talked about this idea of materialism and always having more than we need in Chapel today. i love to be reminded of it..b/c so often i get hugely caught up in my "stuff". and its completely unnecessary.

love you guys.
see you soon.
miss you! praying always.
~kristin

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Brent,

You've touched on an issue that we're struggling with at our house...

How can we actually, day-to-day, become more helpful and generous to people who have virtually nothing, especially compared to the average middle class or upper middle class American??

A shift in our attitudes is imperative, but we MUST go beyond the thought process, and be sure that we actually DO something about the situation.

A few days ago I was driving in downtown Houston and realized that I had some food in my car that I could give to a street person. So I made it my "mission" to find someone to hand it to---would you believe that they were not at their usual locations/corners, and I was not able to share??? I was frustrated, and will certainly try again later, but was impressed upon that it apparently will take more effort on my part, and a concerted, planned "mission" of some kind.

Still, I hope to always be ready for the spontaneous encounter, but am seeking other ways of involvement also. I know for sure that there are many, many service organizations in the Houston area--Lord, help me follow through with my desire to serve people in need, and lead me to the opportunity you have chosen for me....


Jolene

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

Dear Brent,

Thank you for sharing such an important lesson that we all need to be reminded of. The key as Jolene stated is action. If we all acted all year round in our giving as we tend to do at the Thanksgiving and Christmas, there would be a lot less hunger, a lot more kindness and caring shown all year round.

blessings on your trip to Georgia.

Tina

 
At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blessings on your trip this weekend. May He open the hearts of many to HEAR your story!

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous On Our Knees... said...

A bit quiet over here...still checking in daily and def. still lifting you up daily! We've been to Snellville FBC when we were in Atlanta area! Small world!

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying with you.
Love to you Family.
Indpls., IN

 
At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Michael Elmore said...

Thanks for posting that. I need to be reminded more often of the amount of junk I've let myself get attached to instead of devoting my whole self to Jesus. I'm still praying for you Higgins family, and I definitely havn't forgotten the blessing that BJ was in the five weeks that I knew him. I love you guys a lot and I'll be praying for you.

Michael Elmore
Peru 05

 
At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearing the Clutter!!

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous patbarrington@bellsouth.net said...

We were At FBC Snellville tonight and it was phenomenal!!! Praise the Lord for the great testimony. My husband teaches at a Christian school here and wonders if there is a DVD of you(BJ's dad) telling the story you told tonight. If so he would like to buy a copy to show at the school. Also I am from Broken Arrow,OK and my husband is from Marlow,OK. areyou doing any speaking in BA or Marlow so we can send our family and friends there to hear what God is doing and has done in your lives. My email is patbarrington@bellsouth.net if you would let me know about these two things(especially the DVD). Thank you for the wonderful words from the Lord. Pat

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger Brittany said...

I just want you to know that the story of your son touched me tonight so much. I feel that God is calling me somewhere, but I am not quite sure where yet. As I watched the DVD of clips from The Passion of The Christ and your son, it ran through my head that if a 15 year old can be sold out, so can every one of us. Jesus died for us and the least we can do for HIM is reach people! I have a passion for missions and I always have. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, what a blessing you are to our church. I pray that your ministry will overflow with teens and college students sold out for Christ.

Brittany

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for coming to FBC Snellville and sharing your family's story. The Holy Spirit did a mighty work through you as you sweetly shared about BJ and Jesus. When the invitation was given my daughter practically ran to the altar. This is something that we have been talking about for weeks. It is exciting to see her personal faith take shape and grow. What a honor to have a child that loves Jesus.
Thank you as a parent to help me release her back to Jesus. This was a very emotional night as you were used by the Lord.
God bless you and your sweet wife.

Keep in touch,
FBC Snellville Mom

 

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