Many things my African friends do, I don’t understand; but I do not question. The time of day they eat their meals, the fact that their weddings are 8+hours long, or that their funerals last a week or more are just a few examples. I don’t question it. I just go with it. There is something I have noticed many places I have been in Africa: Africans sweep their dirt. I really want to ask some questions about this practice. It is not just any dirt but the dirt in front of their home or place of business or school. The “sweepers” get up early each morning and sweep. They make sure the leaves or trash are all cleared away before they start each day.
Some might view this as silly or as a waste of time. After all, it is dirt. However, I see the beauty in this sweeping. They are taking care of what they have been given. They are good stewards.
How often do we view something as not worthy of our care? I am not proud of it, but I have left perfectly usable things sitting outside to eventually rot or rust just because it wasn’t brand new. I have seen an alarming trend among people of all ages in our “developed” world: we waste without thought. Often those who live in places where needs are the greatest are the most resourceful and the most careful with their property.
Several years ago, our family pastor threw away items from the preschool department at church just because he wanted new things. I was heartbroken when I saw the items sticking up out of the dumpster. Bless him…. he redecorated yearly and consistently used items for the youth ministry only to throw them away after one use rather than take the time to store them.
How did we (in the West) get to the place of such excess where we rationalize this behavior to be acceptable. How much have we, as followers of Jesus, wasted that could have been used so much more wisely in advancing the Kingdom? How many “secular” holiday events have we as the church celebrated and spent thousands of dollars on with the “claim” that it was done to “reach people” when our brothers and sisters in other countries are dying of thirst?
Luke 12:48 says “to whom much is given, much is required.” This is a wakeup call to me. To us. It is a reminder. We have been blessed immeasurably, yet not to hoard it all for ourselves but rather to be a blessing to others.
How can we impress this on our children and stop this inexcusable neglect and waste of the blessings we have been given?
It starts with us.