I have been in a training class for the past several weeks at Southeast Christian Church. I have met some great people. I want to share a story that was published in The Outlook last week about a woman I met in this group.
Simplifying Helps Make Greater Kingdom Impact
Decluttering Your Spiritual House
Editor’s Note: Decluttering your spiritual house is a three-part series that examines how three different people have drawn closer to God by being intentional about how they communicate with Him, how they live their lives and how they view their personal belongings.
Part 2 of this series, Southeast Care Groups Ministry staff member Christine Heeren talks about how prioritizing wants versus needs changed her relationship with God.
By Patti Smith
Christine Heeren was a technology buff ever on the lookout for the newest gadget.
“I was always needing the next best phone, and I couldn’t wait to get it,” said Heeren, who is on staff at Southeast in the Care Groups Ministry.
She also loved playing racquetball, going shopping for new clothes and getting her hair colored every several weeks,
Now, she colors her hair at home, takes fewer shopping trips and has given up playing racquetball competitively.
“I was playing three times a week. I was putting it before God and home.I had to reevaluate my priorities,” she said. “There’s some freedom knowing that my focus isn’t on the stuff. What I have stays here. It serves no purpose for the kingdom.”
These examples only scratch the surface of the changes Heeren has made in her life over the last two years t trade the things that hold only earthly value for things that hold eternal significance.
The change in her heart began a couple of years ago when she read the book “Radical” by David Platt, who calls readers to start viewing purchases on a want versus need scale and challenges them to sacrifice something and use the money to help others.
She chose hair color.
“It would cost me $150 each time I would go,” said Heeren, who at the time was preparing to travel to Kenya on a mission trip. Heeren talked to her hairdresser about continuing to come for haircuts, but skipping the color treatments so that she could help other mission team members with their travel expenses. As a surprise to Heeren, her hairdresser continued t color her hair for the next year at no charge to show support for what she was doing.
Traveling to Kenya last summer gave Heeren a whole new perspective on living based on needs instead of wants.
“They (Kenyans) are living out of need,” Heeren said. “It was humbling to see the stuff they created our of stuff we throw away. To them, it’s precious.”
At Christmastime, Heeren told her family she did not want gifts for Christmas, so they pooled their money and used what they would have spent on her to make a contribution to an organization that works to free exploited girls from the sex trade.
They also purchased animals to help provide for people in Third World communities where owning chickens or a cow can turn into an enterprise for a struggling family.
Heeren reflected on Platt;s words while she was in Kenya and long after she returned home. She decided to continue meeting Platt’s challenge to live radically for kingdom-building purposes.
“I started purging my house of things I’m holding onto that are just clutter instead of saying, ‘I might use is someday,’ she said. Heeren plans to have a yard sale later this year and use the money she earns from it to help someone in need.
Thinking about the families she met in Kenya and the sacrifices they make to provide gave her pause. They would walk miles to work, work all day and then walk back home. She called their dependence on God incredible. Many do not know where their next meal is going to come from.
“Even her time is spent more wisely. Meditating on the Word of God–taking each situation she comes across in life and praying through it with Scripture–has become a regular practice for Heeren.
She is slower to take the reins when her prayers are not answered quickly enough. She has decided to trust God and that His provision will come in His time. Now, there is peace in the waiting.
She does it for the reason that’s tattooed on her wrist: “Soli Deo Gloria,” which means, “For the Glory of God Alone.”
“It’s not about me,” she said. “It’s for His Glory.”
What an honor and previledge it is to get to know these people and hear their stories.