Tuesday, June 3, 2008

1st June 2008, Chilombo

It was so good to be back in Mngwangwa territory (chilombo was where we were at, it borders Mngwangwa). Chilombo is Sidwell Mwale’s place; Calvary Chapel.

It was an interesting time for me as we talked about money. It is a hard thing to talk about money to people without it but the kingdom principles work just the same for everyone (5, 2 and 1 talent alike). It is foolish of me to think that talking about money and our relationship with it is only for the rich. Can the poor have a wrong relationship to money? Should we talk about tithing to people who struggle to feed themselves? Is it my call or yours? Is it an opinion that we use to justify our stance?

In the end I did talk about money and about how we look at it. It was hard because you are talking about people who live in their farm intakes and monthly cash of about MK1, 500.00 (R75, US$ 10, £5) to MK 15,000 (R750, US$100, £50) for the better off. The song during the offering was ‘kupereka kumadalitsa koposa kulandila’ (it is more blessed to give than to receive). So I asked the question: is it? Does it feel that way? Is the evidence of your life a testimony to that saying or is it a song we sing during offering? Do we have faith and no works? The truth is we do have faith but our faith is evidenced by our works because faith without works is dead. So we went about the equation in reverse. We looked at our works and discovered our faith. We walk into church an hour late and yet we stand hours earlier for fertilizer. It is because we understand the value of the fertilizer and do not know the value of fellowship together in worship of God. This was our talk. There were dead silences and hearty laughs. It was family talking to one another about a subject no one likes to hear mentioned in church. Yes, sex and money – taboo words in the body of Christ and yet, two of our strongest prison guards.

The truth is when you believe you have nothing, you give nothing. Most people here don’t know their gifts. They don’t see themselves as people who have something to give. Their only understanding of giving is monitory and so everything else is hidden under a patch of earth. And yet… in each of them is everything that pertains to life and godliness. In each of them is every spiritual gift in the heavenly places. Not talking to a person struggling with their finances on how to manage the little they have is robbing them of being equipped. If you wait until they have money worth talking about (not sure what that really is) is it not too late? I left Chilombo and found myself at home, full of questions, so many questions. I left Chilombo reflecting on the church and where we are as a body. I know we all have our individual assessments but cooperatively… where are we? Will it get better?

Yes, some days, I come back from a high on the word and excitement of the people and slump into a spiritual depression (if there is such a thing). This is one of those days. I know the bible tells us that we will always have the poor among us but my question is: was it meant to be THIS MANY?

I am in a dark place, no one can see me
My light is imprisoned in ditch darkness longing to be free.
There is nothing here, no way about
The exit is guarded by a mighty hand stretched out.
It presses down on me, ‘you don’t belong out there,
There is a place you will never see.
I am trapped, bound, a prisoner
No word has penetrated through to release me.
I am intercession and I long to be free
I long to reach out and grab a hold of those that need me.
But here I will lay, in this invisible room
Until someone comes and speaks me out of my tomb.

If the one talent could speak (Matt 25)

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