When I met Philip last year, he reminded me a little of my brother. They are a similar age, they are both married with a couple of young children; and, their days are occupied with work, looking after their families, planning for the future, and trying to do their best with the duties that have been entrusted to them. Both men try to live lives of responsibility and faithfulness, and for each of them, there are times when that is very difficult.
But the nature of the pressures they experience are very different.
For my brother, it is the pressure to commit his life to wealth, to be the hero of his own life and trust in his own success. For Phillip, the challenges are those of survival—turning dry ground into crops, building a house from nothing, and finding a way to get water, free from disease, for his family. In a strange way, their unique wrestles are connected – like two sides of a coin.
The traps of poverty or affluence can both diminish us. We find ourselves enslaved by fickle things – trusting in the idols of power, or money, or success, or rain to make us secure. One of the things I love most about the work of Baptist World Aid Australia is that it confronts these problems at both ends.
When people like you and me give to work that supports families like Phillip’s, it is an act of faith—faith that God is at work in the world, faith that we have not been abandoned, and faith that life can emerge from dry ground and this world can be restored.
At Baptist World Aid, we are lucky to see examples of God’s work in the world every single day. We see incredible change in places like Kenya; but we also see God at work in Australia, as people decide to live by the values of His kingdom—demonstrating that we are truly blessed when we give away and let go.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus climbed a mountain, just as Moses had once done many years before that. Instead of handing down the ten commandments, He handed down a new kind of instruction for how to live: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the peacemakers and the merciful. What we hunger for, and thirst for, and long for, will be satisfied… the world is being made whole.
Behind Phillip’s homestead is a mountain. If you climb it, you can see a valley filled with crops that are growing tall, families working together, and people gathering water all along the sandy riverbed that winds through the valley.
Just a few years ago, you would have only seen dry ground and failing crops. The men were absent, trying (unsuccessfully) to make money in far-away cities. But because of people like Phillip, our Christian partner in Kenya, ADS Eastern, and Australians who have given to Baptist World Aid, this scene has changed completely.
Lives are restored, crops are beginning to grow, and a clean water source lies, hidden, beneath what was once desert. Praise be to God!