20 March 2013
Sitting in an office in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, it's easy to get lost in the urban setting around us and forget a different reality - the peri-urban and rural areas not too far from us. As they say, 'out of sight, out of mind' for most urban folk.
But travel more than 20km in any direction outside Bulawayo and you begin to see the changing landscape, from cars to bicycles and scotch-carts, from brick under tile to mud and thatch, from sprinklers and swimming pools to dry, arid land.
‘I interpret the words Jesus spoke in a broader sense - relating to all our daily needs such as water.'
The differences are not limited to that only, but also to basic needs. The further you drive into the rural context, the more you see people struggle for things we take for granted. Things such as electricity, water (just water, never mind piped water), food, clothes and basic health, among others.
To zero in on one basic human necessity in particular: water. Even in an urban context, rationing is bad for those without boreholes and makes basic sanitation difficult.
In one rural area, I saw ladies wait from midday in a borehole queue for their turn to get water for their homes, and they only managed to get it after dark. By then there is so little water left that each person is only allowed two 20-litre containers.
The rains in Zimbabwe have been erratic for at least a few years now and the water situation in the drier areas is often dire. The dams are taking 'forever' to fill up and crops have been burnt by the sun... again!
Here I interpret the words Jesus spoke - 'Give us this day, our daily bread' - in a broader sense, relating to all our daily needs, such as water.
I may grumble about the water rationing but at least it comes three days out of seven. There are those not too far from us who have to trust God for daily water, and they don't always get it.
Even bathing and laundry become a luxury when the little water they can access has to cater for cooking and drinking.
Our responsibility and privilege
So exactly whose role is it to deal with challenges like these and help people?
Matthew 25:34-40 is a wonderful passage of scripture that shows something of God's heart towards his suffering people.
'Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
'"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
'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."'
Wow, so we do have a role to play. All of us! And by serving others in this way we are actually serving Jesus!
For some people the required needs are basic and we, together, have a responsibility and a privilege to serve Jesus by helping, in a sustainable and empowering way, those who can't help themselves, whether it is in the areas of food, water, health, training or advocacy, among others.
So get involved today with the IF campaign and be part of this amazing Kingdom-building work.
Reflect. Pray. Act. Today.
Hannington Sibanda is a pastor with New Creation Church (Bulawayo), and is involved with Operation Trumpet Call, a church-based programme empowering local churches to transform their communities.
Lord, you made us to know what hunger is,
but also to know the goodness of your provision.
We pray for those who share this earth with us,
but for whom hunger is a crippling, life-threatening danger.
We pray for those who have nothing and those who have too little to eat:
would you help them and allow us to be part of the solution?
Find out more
ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF: join the campaign
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