"Our neighbor is the appointed agent authorized to receive what we owe the Master" -Bishop Lesslie Newbigin
By Jack Campbell, ministry development strategist for Africa and Haiti
October, 2013—Something I recently saw in Uganda made me want to pass along a thought on grace:
“Mama Grace” was sweating because she just led a Community Action Team to a hut located deep in the countryside. The team members came from far away, sacrificing their time and leaving their fields to help a widow who had a broken pelvis. They collected water for her, harvested her crops, and even helped with her personal hygiene.
In another part of Uganda’s Lira District, a Community Action Team helped reconstruct a crop storage hut and a latrine on the behalf of two orphaned boys who had lost their mother to HIV/AIDS. This team, too, was sweating—but singing as they worked.
I got a lot of inspiration from all this perspiration! These teams were composed of people from all the different churches in their particular areas—from Catholic to Pentecostal in their affiliation, but vitally connected with Jesus, acting like Him in the most difficult environments.
These perspiring saints were acting out their faith in powerful ways—taking care of orphans and widows, the very people others had neglected. Now that’s true faith—faith worked out while caring for the needs of people.
Part of my prayer for those involved in humanitarian work is this: that by acting in gracious ways (like those I’ve shared above) in our programs, projects, and interactions with staff, we will make Jesus attractive to all.
Philippians 1:9-11 says: “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”