in the world but not “of” the world…

Andy Stanley has a fantastic series on money on his website under the media tab

We’ll be addressing money and marriage at the marriage retreat and will pull a lot from this series.  Each segment is 30 minutes long and you can watch it online or download them to your iPod.  I highly encourage you, as men, to watch these.  Money is a HUGE issue in marriages and this is an area where men need to StepUP and lead.

In this series, Andy talks about how he was invited to speak at the prayer ceremony for the inauguration.  They told all the priests, pastors and clerics to come dressed as they’d dress in their realms.  Andy wears blue jeans every day and preaches in jeans.  OK, that won’t work.  So the next question was, “What will we wear”.  Andy went and bought a conservative suit and tie (I guess he didn’t own one).  Then his wife, Sandra, had to tackle what she would wear.  She does not own a dress – only owns 2 skirts and one of those she wears as she visits the tribes in Africa.  OK, that won’t do either.  So she set out shopping for an outfit to wear.

First observation – I love Andy’s transparency.  They just don’t have nice clothes.  They live pretty simply and they aren’t hung up about it.  They are very comfortable in their own street clothes.  They aren’t using clothing to impress.  I also love his almost child-like honesty about going in front of the President, Vice-President, members of Congress and the Supreme Court…plus, all those other religious leaders.  Once they were there, he was talking to one of the other religious leaders and asked her what her role was and she said, “I’m the Bishop” and Andy said, “Bishop of what?”  She replied, “I am the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of America” and he said all the other leaders looked at him like he was an idiot.  That high-church, who’s who hierarchy just isn’t the circle he travels in.  That’s refreshing.  He simply isn’t caught up in keeping up.

So Sandra goes shopping and can’t find anything.  The next day he calls her and she says she found the perfect suit – it looked great, fit great and she felt good in it.  “Where are you?” he asked.  “Neiman Marcus” she replied.  While he’d never shopped at Neiman Marcus (but he did walk through there one time because it was the quickest way into the mall), he knew enough to know “uh oh”.  And then Sandra said, “And I just that second looked at the price tag.  It’s $3,000”.

All kinds of things raced through Andy’s mind like maybe she can wear it and take it back – or – maybe we can sell it on eBay as a suit worn to the inaugural prayer ceremony – or – “I’ll be a good husband and if she really needs that…” and then Sandra said, “As soon as I saw that price tag, I knew.  I knew there is no way I could spend that money when I think about those kids in the orphanage in Africa and imagined what good that $3,000 could do in their lives.”

So here are two people surrounded by members of their church that are extremely well-off even by American standards and they just aren’t caught up in the “world”.  They are in the world – daily – living, working, ministering but they aren’t “of” the world.  They are not drowning in this need to “keep up”.  You see their hearts coming though.  You see almost an innocence to their lifestyle.  He’s never been in a Neiman Marcus.  She doesn’t even own a dress.  He wears blue jeans to work every day.  He doesn’t know the “must-knows” in the major demoninations.  And you see their heart for true need.  The true need isn’t “my” looking good, “my” flat panel TV, “my” new car, “my” luxury vacation, “my” new iPhone…

The true need is the great commission.  The true need is the 2 billion people on this planet living on $2 a day – that’s less than an order of Chick-Fil-A large fries.  The true need is the kids dying from a lack of clean drinking water.  And all of these needs open the door to share the Gospel with a lost world desperate in their need for a Savior.

I thought this story was refreshing, enlightening and encouraging.  LiveUP!


One thought on “in the world but not “of” the world…

  1. I’ve met Andy Stanley on a few occasions. He is just that real. My brother is a member of his church in Alpharetta. (My brother lives here in Columbus and drives to Alpharetta weekly to worship and serve at North Point Community Church. But the story is not about my brother.) I met Andy Stanley the first time while attending Passion 2010. Andy was one of the speakers at this awesome annual conference led by Louie Giglio. Prior to one of the sessions, I went up front to introduce myself to Andy. He was wearing blue jeans – just like the majority of Passion conference attendees. I told him how much his ministry work means to me and my family. I mentioned that my brother attended North Point. He asked for his name. He said “doesn’t he help out with the Parking ministry?” I was impressed. “Yes, he does.” I told Andy that my brother drove to and from Columbus weekly because he felt called to be a small part of a big effort for God. Andy pulled out his cell phone and jotted down some notes. “I’m going to get some gas money to your brother” he said. I told him that wouldn’t be necessary. He was glad to make the investment in the Kingdom. God is blessing Andy and Sandra’s ministry because they bless Him in everything they say and do. Good folks!

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