Repatriation, Part 3

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In early January I whined in a Facebook Status Update about having to leave most, if not all, of my crafting stuff here in Thailand when we repatriated to the States in mid-March. I guess I was hoping for sympathy or prayer or both. Mostly, I guess, it was a public processing of an inner turmoil. My crocheting, knitting, and sewing are how I relax and make gifts for friends and family and I also sell a bit. It’s like a three-way multitasking event that doesn’t feel like multitasking. For me it’s fun and produces something that STAYS done, quite the opposite of general housekeeping and laundry.
Anyway, a few people have commented and several have private messaged me about how I need to be more like Abraham – he left his country at God’s call, not knowing exactly where he was going to settle. We’re in that same situation – leaving our home here in Thailand and not being really sure about where we will be living when we get to Southern California. We have a general idea, but not an exact location. That will depend on where we’re able to find work. We do know it will be relatively near Riverside and Desert Hot Springs where the family members who need or will need us to a greater degree than the others live.
This morning I decided to look at Abraham’s Call in Genesis. See what I was not remembering correctly, so that I could “get my act together,” to totally be chastised and disciplined by God about my poor attitude. But, instead, I saw something else. Take a look at Genesis 12:1-9. I’m using the ESV version because I can copy and paste digitally.
The Call of Abram
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
I noticed that third phrase in verse 5, “. . . and all their possessions they had gathered . . .” Now I’m just like most Americans, prone to hoarding. And believe me, there’s been a LOT of “decluttering” going on around here. And, granted, when Abraham traveled from Ur to Canaan, he didn’t have to pay exorbitant shipping fees. But he got to take his whole household and all their possessions. I have no idea what those possessions were, but I do know that Abraham was a wealthy man.
There are two things I take away from this. The first thing is that, while I ought not to be taking “clutter” back to the States, my basic yarn and crochet thread are legitimate. They are my recreation, the way I create, in order to give as gifts and to sell. (By the way, the picture with this post is an example of the crochet work I do.) The second thing is kind of a rebuke to some of us. Do we hold our missionaries and other ministers to a higher standard than God does? I do know that when we first entered full-time ministry we were expected to dress to the 9’s, all on about 25% of what people in most professions had for income. I was condemned for praying for a proper white blouse to go with an amazing suit I had just been given. Be careful of what you expect of others if you’re not willing to walk that exact same path with them. But I now feel free to bring some of my supplies with me. If I had to replace it in the States, it would be well over 2,000 USD. The shipping will cost about 200 USD, one tenth of the replacement cost.
Just a couple of thoughts, maybe they’re correct, maybe they’re not.
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