As fathers and mothers, our vision is not to make our Mozambican family dependent on us, but to help them mature into fathers and mothers who can break the curses of fatherlessness and poverty off their own people. For this reason, one of the primary foundation stones we are working to lay in their lives is generosity. We are teaching people who have almost nothing how to give. It sounds almost wrong, but the only way to break the poverty spirit is to give your way out of it. When we distribute food to the prisoners, for example, we have them practice generosity by handing their portion to someone else and receiving a portion from one of their brothers. We also teach them about tithing and invite them to tithe of their bread.
Some time ago, one of our property managers, a Muslim who came to Christ, built a home on land owned by Muslims. It took two years of his salary and work on his off-hours to finish it, and just when he had, the Muslims seized the house and kicked him and his family off the property. The timing could not have been worse. It was right before the rainy season, which is also the start of the hunger season. On payday the man came in for his wages, and I immediately saw his distress. He told me that his family was now homeless and destitute. "How are we going to survive?" he asked.
I gathered the rest of the local staff, who had all come in for pay-day, for a meeting. I said, "I want to talk to you about how you can build wealth. You can work for a wage and save. You can also inherit wealth if your fathers leave behind an inheritance. And you can position yourself so that God blesses you." I quoted various Scriptures about sowing and reaping, generosity and promises about inheriting God's blessing. Then I pulled out my car keys and asked, "Would you like this truck if I gave it to you as a gift?" Everyone nodded. "But most of you can't drive," I pointed out. "If I give one of you this truck, you will probably kill yourself and some of us too. I can give it to Carlos, though, because he knows how to drive. He's mature and responsible, and he's not a drunkard. I can trust him with these keys, and you see him driving everyday."
"Our Father wants to bless us," I continued, "Just like you want to bless your own children. But He's waiting for us to grow up so that the amazing things He has for us don't kill us. One of the biggest ways we can grow up is by being generous. When He knows He can trust us to steward His resources to bless others, then the windows of heaven will open. Today we have an opportunity to practice generosity. Our brother has just lost his home. You all know what that means in hunger season. He has a large family to shelter and feed. Let's take up an offering to help him. Not only will we help him; we will send a message to our town. The entire Muslim community will see how the Muslims deal with you and how the Christians deal with you."
I placed a bucket in a discreet place where their contributions would not be visible to anyone else. I said ,"This is between you and God. You don't have to impress me or each other. Just know that I will match whatever you put in there." Two of the other missionaries chimed in and said they would also match the total offering. The staff all gave extravagantly. We raised enough money for the man to build a new home on some property near our clinic, and then we gave him a month off work to finish it.
Soon after, I went to visit this man's property and saw that in addition to the new house, a bunch of bricks were going up for another structure. "What's that?" I asked him. "I'm building a church," he said. "There are more and more Christians in this village now, and we need a place of our own to worship. We need to prepare a place for God's glory to rest in our village."
I was impressed. He never asked for more money to make this happen. I knew him to uneducated, illiterate and only barely acquainted with the basic teachings of his new faith. But he understood about preparing a place of worship and about returning the generosity of others.
I greatly anticipate seeing the blessing God will certainly entrust to these sons and daughters who are rising up with His heart to father and bless their communities and nation. This blessing and calling is not just for the poor; it is for all of us who have chosen Him. Regardless of what your life entails right now, your job is to use whatever gift God has given you to bring spiritual orphans home by reconciling the world back to Christ, just as Christ reconciled you and me back to Himself:
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
EXCERPT from Outrageous Courage
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