Tuesday, April 2
“How many loaves have you?” (Mark 6:38)
Several years ago it was common when doing socioeconomic analysis to refer to the haves and have-nots, terminology that places much of the African continent into a have-not box that simply does not fit. My experience in working
with the churches in Africa has been that these churches have many points of strength: vibrant worship, powerful theology, a strong commitment to justice, effective evangelism, and a deep understanding of living in community, including extravagant hospitality and sharing of resources. And many of these strengths are areas that we in the Western world are lacking—yes, we are often the have-nots!
If we look at the ministry of Jesus in this familiar passage, we see that he doesn’t look at his followers as have-nots. It’s clear that it is very important to Jesus that the disciples offer what they have to meet the pressing need of feeding 5,000 hungry men and their families. We might ask, “Why did the Lord of the universe, who was certainly capable of miraculously feeding the crowd without the seemingly meager offering of five loaves and two fish, ask the disciples to contribute from their own resources to meet that need?” I think Jesus wanted them to experience the joy of sacrificial giving and of participating in God’s work of meeting the critical needs around them.
However, as I look at the work being done on the African continent by mission and development agencies, I am afraid that much of it does not follow Jesus’ model of inviting local participation in his mission. I see many clinics, schools, and churches built exclusively with foreign dollars, and programs that are managed from the outside. In such cases the local people are not being treated as those who have ability, resources, and creativity; rather, they are denied their human dignity by being viewed as have-nots.
The Introduction to the Africa section concludes in the April 3 entry.
Let us join in prayer for:
Project for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA): Rev. Dr. Johnson Mbillah, director, Rev. Angele Dogbe Wilson, women’s coordinator • All Africa Conference of Churches: Rev. Dr. André Karamaga, general secretary, Bright Mawudor, deputy general secretary, Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, president • Christian Council of Liberia • Presbyterian Church of Mauritius: Rev. Rodney Curpanen, moderator, Mr Jean-Alain Moussié, president • Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Togo: Rev. Agbenoxevi Mawuli Awanyoh, moderator, Rev. Luther K. E. Degbovi, clerk, Mrs. Adzowavi Dzigbodi Amuzu-Nomenyo, presbyter executive
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jennifer Evans, PMA
Let us pray
We thank you, Lord Jesus, for your church in Africa: for the growth it is experiencing and for its heartfelt worship and commitment to sharing the gospel in word and deed. May we be faithful partners who respect the gifts, hopes, and plans of these churches and learn from their vibrant witness. Amen.