This week, as always, I was faced with a load of guilt. The guilt weighed down my spirit and left me confused with no answers to the problem that plagued my soul. Each week...I face this guilt. So unlike any guilt I've ever known...it is unrelenting in it's accusations. This guilt takes fragments of truth, and shouts them at me over and over and over again. I recognize the voice of guilt as that of the devil, seeking to discourage me and keep me from walking close to my Lord. Yet, never has the confusion been so great as what the devil is using now.
I was grocery shopping for our family. There are eight of us now, two still in diapers. Our grocery budget is the same each week, and I keep within the limits. I buy all household items with this money. I had my small cart loaded to nearly overflowing...my list was nearly all scratched out. Cleaning supplies, treats for Sunday School kids, diapers, shampoo, produce...it was all there. I began unloading my cart and looked up behind me to see three ladies standing there counting change. They had a couple of bags of flour, salt, cornmeal...just a few items. I turned back to the task at hand, unloading my cart. I couldn't help but notice their stares as I put ALL my stuff on the counter. And then came the guilt. Why? I had 4 bags of chips...2 bags were for our lunches this week...2 bags were tortilla chips for a dinner of nachos. I thought of the cost of just the chips. I could buy what the ladies were carrying 4 times over...if I didn't buy the chips. Did we really need chips? Then came the voice of guilt, "HA...sure you're a Christian...follower of Christ...with all of your expensive food, while these ladies are counting shillings to buy flour! Who do you think YOU ARE AMY? Serving God on the mission field...if you really cared about these people..." And on and on the voice spoke. I continued unloading my cart, but every time I glanced back I saw the faces of the ladies, staring at my groceries.
The verse crossed my mind..."And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
We are need fillers, that is why we are here. People need the Lord, yet sometimes they need food as well. Obviously we cannot feed every hungry belly...so difficult choices must sometimes be made. Do you help only those who come to church...because you cannot help everyone? What about the children whose parents do not come to church...yet they are hungry too? How do you know who to help, and who to not help? The only answer is to listen to the Holy Spirit, and follow His promptings. God is capable of saying to me, "Amy...help them" and He does.
All of these thoughts flooded through my mind while I was checking out. Then I heard the Lord..."Just buy their groceries Amy..." I looked at the cashier and said, "Go ahead and ring theirs up too...I'll pay for them." I couldn't talk to the ladies as they only spoke spanish. I don't think they even knew what was happening, because as the lady checked them out, they began counting their change again. I paid the cashier and quickly walked out.
I never thought I would feel guilt over buying food for my family, yet I do. Why was I born in America? I didn't choose where I would be born any more than these people here did...so why are they hungry, while I buy chips without a second thought. The ladies food cost me less than $8 (US)...while my chips cost around $20. Once again I am humbled. I think from now on I will always see the ladies faces each time I buy a bag of chips.