A couple of weeks ago, I saw a video that surprised me. I mean, at first, I was excited about what I saw. The group that put the video together were very interested in helping some brothers and sisters in Christ who live in a very difficult situation.
Then, as I continued watching the video, I became less and less excited. According to this group, these people were struggling and needed our financial help because their pastors don’t have Bible schools, or commentaries, or study guides, or leadership training, etc. etc. etc.
I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did. It made me realize something… and ask myself a question: What (Who) are we teaching people to rely on?
I know that the group that put this video together had great intentions, and they truly believe that the churches in this country – in this difficult culture – needed these things. But, in reality, they don’t need these things.
In fact, the only reason that someone would think they needed these things is if we (i.e., people from the “developed” West) told them that they needed these things. Now, they are busy trying to acquire things that they don’t need, because we have told them that they need them. And, we are spending our time raising money to send them things that they think they need because we told them that they needed these things.
And, we all feel good about ourselves because of what we’re doing. But, what we’re really doing is teaching people to rely on things that they don’t really need.
As I thought about these things, I began to wonder why someone taught these brothers and sisters that they needed things that they don’t really need. Obviously, whoever taught them, thought these things were needed. Unfortunately, that means that the “teacher” was relying on these things as well.
What these brothers and sisters really need are people who will stand beside them and encourage them to trust God regardless of what happens in their situation. Could it be that we don’t know how to do this? Could it be that we’ve replaced trusting and relying on God with relying on these other things also?
It’s a difficult question… and a question that everyone wants to answer with “NO!” Of course we trust God and rely on him. But, is that the way we act as the church? Do we live as if we rely completely on him, or do we rely on our education, training, conferences, books, commentaries, leadership methods, etc.?
Perhaps… just perhaps… those of us in the West could learn something from our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in difficult situations. Perhaps they could teach us that we really don’t need all of those other things.