What a peculiar work we’re a part of!
A new group of international volunteers has arrived with us at the Hub in South Africa and yesterday I heard how one of them struggled to raise funds to come here: he sold his few possessions to pay for himself to come serve the poor in Africa. Of course it had been scandalous to his friends and family, but he was convinced it was part of God’s calling for his life.
That conversation came after I’d spent the morning with a team of care workers in a Bushbuckridge village near the South African border with Mozambique. Sitting with the care workers, one of them a woman in her mid-forties, had explained to me the impact that her husband’s death had on her life: she was left to care for six children (only four were her own), she has no job and she’s battling serious health issues herself.
In her community poverty is considered a curse, something to run away from. In her community everyone seizes every opportunity to get out and away from the poor. Yet, she had decided her calling from God was to seek out the poor, to enter into the chaos of those suffering even more than her and to find a way to help. In the eyes of her community she’s foolish and should be rejected.
I was deeply challenged by both stories, because they bring to life God’s definition of His people: "Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself to the Israelites." (Duet 14:2, KJV)
God’s way is a peculiar way. The Bible tells us that if we follow God’s way we will be misunderstood. We will be rejected. We will become foolish in the eyes of many friends and family. Paul advised his readers, "Become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (1 Cor 3:18,19)
At the end of the day I was humbled and filled with gratitude to be part of this community. It is a strange way of life indeed: people around the world (divergent cultures, languages, ages, denominations) bound together in foregoing all they’ve ever been taught for the sake of radically displaying the good news of Christ among the poor!
But, of course, you and I are called to nothing less! I’m blessed to be part of a community that takes this seriously. How about you?
Lynn Chotowetz serves on the executive management team with George Snyman and Levy Mwenda.