[written Tuesday, February 1, 2011]

After a eventful and exhausting football match today, my team triumphed 3-1. But wait, there’s better news… I had 2 assists and 2 more shots on goal. (I’m always in need of a good dose of humility. Today, February 3rd, I did not play quite as well as the other day. I made 1 assist…but for the other team! I was clearing a corner kick and ended up passing it to the opposite team who took a shot and quickly scored thanks to my inconvenient pass.) But it was a great day of football and after a few weeks of playing here I think I have found my position on the field at Right Wing. Actually, they use numbers here to designate positions so I’ve had to adjust to referring to positions by numbers instead of places. So with that… I guess I’m a 7.

It’s very rewarding to spend an evening after teaching all day exercising my body through a sport that I love. (You see, football is kind of a BIG DEAL here…) But my efforts on the Uwanje (field) had an interesting rendezvous with some Scripture I read the other day.

Okay, open up a new webpage or browser and Google-Search (yes… I just used “Google-search” as a verb…forgive me!) this Scripture: Isaiah 58:1-11 (NIV). The main verse I want you to check out is verse 10 but go ahead and read all of it so you can understand where I’m coming from. Alright, I’ll wait here until you’ve spent some time reading it…

Okay! Everyday, we spend something. I think it’s fairly safe to say that most of us (if not all of us) like to spend money. Throughout our day, we spend our time doing things (though sometimes we also spend it doing nothing, don’t we?) Like my football match earlier, we can spend our energy physically trying to maintain these rental suits aka the human body we’ve been offered. All day, every day…we spend A LOT!

Isaiah talks about spending too. He sheds some new light on this notion of “spending.” Isaiah calls us to “spend ourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.” (vs 10) Have you spent any of your time doing this lately? I’m not trying to guilt trip anyone (okay, maybe just a little bit.) Instead, I want to call your attention to another idea of spending worth considering. Spending is something (for better or worse) that is central to our lives. It drives the economy… it fills our day with meetings, fun outings with friends and family and time to be still for reflection… and this impacts what we do and why we do it. What if we spent as much time serving others as we spend serving ourselves? It seems to me as if we stopped by a gas station, saw the SELF-SERVE sign and took it to use as a Life Motto. Isaiah, as most prophets do, calls us to change! He reminds us that spending is as old as time (because…what else would you do with time but spend it?) and it is happening all the time so why not choose the type of spending that reflects your faith and even your very soul? I read these words from Isaiah and began to reflect over my day’s actions as the sun was setting on the day. I bought myself a coke and some snacks but did I share them? Nope. Did I spend the extra couple of minutes to see how my co-workers were doing? Nope, I raced home to eat some food and get on with my day. Did I wake up grateful that day to have a job (although I don’t get paid…ha) and food to eat and friends and family that care for me? (Not as grateful as I should be!)

Isaiah was talking to people who had lost sigh of our purpose in life. The Israelites were fasting for their own sake (they were proud of their humility!) and were holding on to their SELF-SERVE signs a little too tightly. He told them to go and do some good, honest spending today. Then what happens? Isaiah says that your light will rise in the darkness and your night will be like the noon day. It might just be that the cheering up you need or the peace that someone around you is searching for could come from a change in your spending habits. And I’m not talking about money here…

Maybe you’re busy this week… Perhaps you’re tired after school or work… Or MAYBE what you need is to reach out to another and fulfill that inward desire to care for another. Have you ever met someone that helped someone else and it made them sad or upset? Can you hear the laugh of a child or see the smile of one of our elders and not feel joy inside?

Let’s listen to Isaiah and spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry and…actually… let’s spend ourselves with everyone around us. It’ll do both them AND us some good. My prayer for each of you is that you find something worth spending yourself…then go!

That’ll be a day well spent…


(Speaking of a day spent… this is a picture of me at my home after spending all day walking around and teaching! It’s quite exhausting!)