When I think back to 1969 to my first trip out of the United States, it gives me goose bumps of embarrassment. To now realize how arrogant and naive I was then is incredible now! I actually thought everyone in the entire world was exactly alike in the ways they thought and reasoned, but they just spoke different languages. (We are not even alike in this countryjust listen to our political wrangling, look at our divided congregations, and consider our divorce rate!)
To presume to tell other people how they should think and feel is arrogance supreme! To believe your way of reasoning is superior to other peoples ways of reasoning is horribly naïve! Consequently, people look at us (not listen to us!), dismiss us with a wave of the hand or shake of the head, and mutter to their friends, They are Americans. If you wish to observe this phenomena, look at everything we dofrom wage war, to seek treaties, to conduct international business!
I distinctly remember re-entering American customs in New York after living with my family for two years in West Africa. A huge American flag hung from the ceiling just past customs. Tears filled my eyes just to think of what was ahead. My first visit to a grocery store was an emotional experience. I had not seen that much food in two yearsand it was so affordable! My first worship upon return was a jolt! A carpeted, air-conditioned room with padded pews after two years of split bamboo seats and dirt floors in the bush! Never had I appreciated life in this country as then! Never had I been filled with such a sense of privilege!
When we had guests from the population area in which we lived in West Africa, I was deeply concerned. How would they react when they saw the prosperity of American congregations? (At maximum strength, we had six families working together.) The comment of my brothers: You people left this to come live with us?
Hopefully, something happened in your life to make you aware of your privileges. Hopefully, something happened to make you realize that you enjoy what many never dream about (they have never seen it to dream of it!).
Do you realize the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ? Is that sense of privilege bigger than money? Bigger than possessions? Bigger than lifestyle? Bigger than social level? Bigger than health? Bigger than death? No matter how you live or when you die, do you count it an enormous privilege to know Jesus Christ?
Is it obvious you consider it the privilege of privileges? Is that privilege reflected in who you are and how you live? Is it reflected in how you treat other peopleincluding your family whom you live with and your fellow workers with whom you labor?
We will never correctly reflect our God and our Savior unless we see each of them through eyes that see privilege! A sense of privilege must silence our complaints!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell