We were out on Expedition in Simwatachela Chiefdom in Zambia. A bare-bones two-week ministry trip in which we drove 7 hours with the DAF truck and set up camp in the bush just outside Mafuta village. We were here to work with the local churches, visit from home-to-home, and share the Gospel.
Expeditions are exciting! During home-to-home visits, many people hear the Gospel for the first time. Zambia is known as a Christian nation, but the reality is that its churches are weighed down by false religion and doctrine, and the Kingdom has never been preached. Building relationships with local leaders and pastors is one of the greatest opportunities to encourage them from the Word.
After Bible Study (we met at the school at 14h00), we came back to camp to prepare dinner before the night meeting (which was scheduled to start at 19h00).
I was halfway into preparing dinner when Kati and Trenton asked whether we could accommodate 5 more guests for dinner.
Admittedly, I was reluctant to say yes. We had worked out decent portion sizes for each meal, but since our team is made up of mostly college-age young men (who eat their weight’s worth), there are hardly any seconds or leftovers.
Kati asked, “can we feed more people?” And I said, “Maybe. If we start praying now.”
I immediately felt convicted by Holy Spirit for my own selfishness.
We were tired and hungry, and we needed some team time before heading into the night meeting, and now we had 5 extra people, and multiple kids, who had shown up, expected to be fed, and would impose on our team time.
Holy Spirit reminded me of this passage from Hebrews 13:2 — “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood–being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Our guests were from a village 13km away. They had all walked here to attend the Bible Study, and they wanted to stay for the night meeting.
Yet, we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to feed them, and that our own comfort would suffer? Ridiculous, right?
I was reminded of the offering a young boy brought to Jesus as five thousand men (and many women and children) were gathered to hear Him teach. It was a simple offering: five loaves, and two fish.
And it fed the multitudes.
How are we to feed the Spirit, if we do not feed the flesh, and vice versa?
Our Western scepticism has lead us to build taller fences in stead of longer dinner tables. We’re afraid that, if we feed five visitors and some kids the one evening, that the next evening, the whole village will line up at the doorstep, expecting handouts and food.
Yes, we don’t want to create a mindset or an expectation for dependency, but are we so selfish that we cannot share what we have with those who need it?
We had breakfast burritos for dinner last night, and after our guests, ministry partners and entire team had been served, and EVERYONE had a second helping, there were still some left, which I then gave to the kids standing around outside our camp.
Who are we to think that we can ever out-give God?
Matthew 6 says that we are not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear, that tomorrow will take care of itself. Yet, this is what consumes our day-to-day: we work hard so that we can save money to buy more things and go more places and plan ahead and afford better stuff. And, though there’s nothing wrong with being frugal stewards, I’m amazed that these people, who live in mud houses, surrounded by bush on every side, who haven’t had a good harvest in 7 years, who share what they have with an entire community, do not grumble or complain or hold back when they have to share their nshema with Westerners who think it tastes terrible without salt or relish.
Yet, here, those who have the least are most eager to share.
As I was feeding nearly 40 people on a 25-person budget, I was reminded of this passage from Colossians (here below).
Let us ALWAYS be ready to minister, to serve, to share, to give an answer for the Hope of Christ that is within us!
“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving. And at the same time pray for us also, that God may open a door to us for the Word (the Gospel), to proclaim the mystery concerning Christ (the Messiah) on account of which I am in prison; That I may proclaim it fully and make it clear [speak boldly and unfold that mystery], as is my duty. Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”
— Colossians 4:2-6