Friday, March 20, 2009

Lent Journey 2

In the lent journal from cession|community, Tuesday’s entry about Matthew asked: Are there people you play Pharisee with? Undesirables who you avoid, marginalize or judge?

On Sunday we went to church here in Nairobi with a mission partner. After the service I stood by the newcomers table, looking at some material about the church. A man, who I assumed was a greeter, came up to me and started chatting. Before long he was sharing about a ministry and asking me to get SIM to partner (not only money of course:-). I quickly extricated myself.

Likewise, back at the guest house I struck up a conversation with a Kenyan pastor over breakfast. Before long he was asking me if we believed in helping widows, how big my church was back in NZ, and I could see him angling to ask for money. My reaction was to leave before he asked. In both cases I offered conversation and they appeared to be trying to take advantage of me. It made me angry that believers would do this

and I wanted to avoid them.

This has me thinking. What is the difference between generosity and stupidity, wisdom and miserliness? How can you tell when a need is genuine or when someone is out to rip you off? In Ecuador we faced this issue almost daily, and my response was all over the spectrum. In NZ it is not so in-your-face, but does that mean we shouldn’t grapple with it? After all we are rich in comparison to most of the world.

Lord help me to live in this tension, not judging those who present needs, but wisely listening to your voice and giving generously but not foolishly from a heart open to love. Likewise may I not be disappointed when others take the friendship offered & try to take advantage, but continue to seek conversation with others.

No comments: