Dear City Hillers
I’ve had a number of experiences over the last little while that have caused me to reflect on the role of the church in this great continent of ours. In speaking to many church leaders and mature Christians, I’ve been quite surprised by how parochial the church has become; especially those of us who are privileged enough to live ‘in the suburbs’
For may of us, ‘Africa’ is just a concept – a place somewhere out there where trouble and hardship loom large. It’s a place we hear about constantly through the media, a place that we’re part of – but not really.
As a church, we had ‘Africa’ on our hearts from day one, but I can honestly say we still haven’t worked out what that means – much less what it looks like. One of the things we instituted early on, as a baby step towards ‘earthing’ our vision, was the food bank. We were going to be a ‘Bible and tin of baked beans’ kind of church, right here in the leafy suburbs of Bryanston.
But there’s something about Bryanston, and the Northern suburbs in general, that makes carrying tins of beans seem – I don’t know – out of place? Just look around you – nice houses and big cars; surely we should be talking about cheese and wine, not baked beans and all those ghastly non-perishable food items!
Well let me tell you something my cheese-eating brothers and sisters, “To whom much is given, much shall be required.” (Luke 12:48). I don’t mean to make anyone choke on their cheese or spit wine from their mouths, but I need you to understand that it’s time to wake up from our suburban slumber and realize that God does not entrust his children with resources just so we can make ourselves more and more comfortable!
Many times I’ve considered giving up on the Food Bank, but each time I’ve felt that to do so would be to lose part of our soul as a church. So, the Food Bank is open for business my friends – and I instruct each of you in the Lord, to bring food to the ‘storehouse’. I’ll send out a document later this week to let you know exactly how it works; then there will be no excuse.
And let me tell you one more thing; you need the food bank more than the food bank needs you. Think upon these verses from Matthew 25:38-40; “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
How nice – but Jesus doesn’t stop there: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
The Word of God has spoken my friends, blessed are they with ears to hear!