Pastor's Blog

First World Problems Posted 3.25.2016

Sometimes we think that our problems are overwhelming.  Put into perspective, however, some of our problems are simply “First World” problems.  A First World problem is a relatively trivial or minor frustration that most the world would love to face.  For example, last Sunday morning, after my shower I went out into the laundry room and discovered the smell of something burning.  No smoke, but it was disturbing.  Hmmm.  Better investigate.


The water heater had been making some strange and loud noises on Saturday – and it was glowing blue off and on all day.  I was going to call my plumber on Monday and see what was up (with our 18-month-old water heater).  But the smell forced me to shut the thing down, lest I burn the house down while at church.  No more hot water out of the tap.  First World problem.


By Monday the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes, all showers were cold. I called the plumber, and within six hours there was a new water heater and that defective one was on its way to the junk yard where it belonged (first world solution).  But then I thought, what if it hadn’t been replaced, what then?  We’d have to heat water on the stove . . . just like most of the world.  Later in the week, the water filter system needed filers replaced. I proceeded to induce a minor flood in the kitchen.  First World problem.


We all face a host of various problems in the First World category.  They are really inconveniences.  Wrong iPhone.  Uber driver too talkative.  Can’t find something at Costco. We get frustrated and complain about things only experienced in wealthy countries.


We have so many conveniences at our disposal, things geared to making life easier and chores less time consuming.  So I thought about that this week and wondered, what am I doing with all of that extra time and energy.  I don’t have to boil water to wash the dishes, so what do I do instead?  Watch more TV?  Take a nap?  Probably.  Shouldn’t I invest those moments in more productive ways?  Spending time with my wife? Or my kids?  Or with my God?


Then I thought about the figurative tornado that hit Peninsula this week.  Every day this week there was a crew here packing boxes for our container heading to Uganda in a couple of weeks.  People gave up their leisure hours to pack and inventory over 500 boxes for Bombo.  We will make a huge investment in the education of 800 children and the medical care of 7,000 people and the spiritual health of five local churches.  How is that possible?  Because a lot of people invested their free time to serve God.  Most had to work, but some could serve.  Willingly.


So this week as we all face First World problems, part of us ought to thank God that we can face such challenges.  And the other part of us ought to remember that once we’ve solved the issue, the time we are now once again saving should be invested.  Invested in relationships and in our God.  I come to Resurrection Sunday overwhelmed by the love and service of this amazing church family.



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