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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love Letters (Missions): Not Too Poor to Serve God

What will happen after we leave?

Will those we are now teaching continue to teach others after we are gone?


Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples (of him) and teach them to obey everything he has taught us. He has taught us to go and teach others. If we fail to teach others who will in turn continue to teach others, then we have failed this task.


One false concept that we must always battle is that the Muzungus (foreign white people) are the only ones who can teach. If we are not careful, we could give the impression that there are requirements to become a teacher or to spread God's word.


False Requirements to Become a Teacher:

  • Own a vehicle
  • Own a bike
  • Have a nice house
  • Be American
  • Be white
  • Be selected by Americans
  • Be supported by Americans

If the Kaonde come to believe any of these, then we have severely injured God's work. I believe we will answer to God for that. Therefore, we must do everything possible to avoid teaching these false requirements.


Right now, I believe we are doing a great job working against these concepts. Many Kaonde have become teachers and are going out to their neighbors to teach them as well. For example, Konkwa church (about 2 years old) sends someone to Mushingashi church (less than a year old) each Sunday in order to teach them. In order to do this, the teacher needs a bike (it is a 45 minute bike ride or a 4 hour walk).


A mistake we could make is trying to provide a bike for this teacher. That would be equivalent to saying, "You are too poor to buy a bike, so we must give you one." Sadly, some Americans have this attitude toward the "third world." However, the fact is, that many of the Kaonde live in nice houses with iron sheets. Their iron sheets cost more than a bike. Many people have bikes that they have purchased themselves. By giving them something they can provide for themselves, we are teaching them that they are too poor to serve God without us.


"You are too poor to serve God without me." That is a lie that will destroy God's work. We Americans have a dangerous pride that we are the only ones who can save the world. God is the only one who can save the world and he doesn't need us to do it. Historically, the poorest Christians have been the most fruitful.


Here are a list of things that the Kaonde can and should provide/accomplish themselves:

  • Transportation to church service and Bible studies
  • Communion supplies (fruit of the vine & unleavened bread)
  • Bible for each member (who can read)
  • Song books (or better they can just create songs appropriate to their culture like the early church did without a song book of European songs)
  • Feeding their neighbors who are hungry
  • Caring for the widows and orphans of the church
  • Keeping God's family dry during the rainy season (building some shelter to meet in as the church family)
  • Teaching their neighbors who have never heard God's word
  • Anything else that God requires from them (God will not require something they cannot themselves provide)

We cannot and should not do these for them. These are duties that God has asked them to do. Instead, we must teach them that they are rich in God's kingdom. He has given them, his children, everything required to do His work. In our teaching and our examples, we must help them to know that they are indeed rich and capable.


Therefore, as an example, I will be walking to a Bible study today that is about 3 kilometers away. I could easily get in my truck and drive there in 5 minutes. However, I want to show that even without a vehicle, anyone can still teach God's word to others. It may seem like a waste of time, but by walking for 30 minutes I may be teaching a more important lesson than anything I could teach in 2 hours.

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