My first day of Harvest School 25 was in Johannesburg South Africa. My classmates and I were supposed to go directly to Pemba, Mozambique, but things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Because of complications with us obtaining entry Visas in Mozambique, starting school in South Africa would have been the best option for us. The adventure already began on the first day of school!
The first day of school, we broke out into spontaneous worship for probably an hour and a half or so. It was surreal for me to think that only a few weeks prior to that moment, I didn’t have enough money to pay for school and I still needed to pay off my car loan! I was in tears as I thanked God for providing for me in the miraculous way that He did.
What is True Poverty?
While I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, I took notes on a sermon about poverty. Even though Johannesburg looks very similar to a first world country in many ways, it still operates as a developing country. In my Harvest School notes, one of the things I thought about was how easy it can be to think that holes in someone’s clothing make them poor.
Poverty is easy to identify in a developing country, but it’s difficult to identify in a first world country. In a developing country, poverty can be seen through the natural eyes, but in a first world country, it’s often seen through our spiritual eyes.
If someone has holes in their clothes and sores on their arms, we can clearly see the poverty, but if someone drives a BMW and lives in a big house, the poverty can only be seen by opening the eyes of our heart.
Many of us define what’s rich by the clothes people wear and by the cars they drive rather than by the condition of their heart. The poorest people in the world are people that don’t know who they are and don’t know why they’re alive.
In one of my classes, Rolland Baker said, “Rich people aren’t people who have the most, they’re people who need the least.” Now that’s some truth right there.
(Harvest School 25 Worship)
Knowing Who We Are
One of the things Heidi Baker shared (aka Mama Heidi) during school is that when you’re called by God to reach the lost, lots of people won’t get you. Or, lots of people may think you’re weird for doing something out of the norm. For those of us who are missionaries or missionary minded, it’s easy to get angry or bitter when people don’t understand the sense of urgency we have to actually live a Godly legacy on the earth instead of choosing to be a grocery bagger at Walmart.
One of the things I learned is that we can’t get bitter, angry, or defensive when people don’t understand what God has called us to do. Some people really do think that having a nice house, a nice car, and a stable job is the purpose of their life. If that’s how they think, it is what it is.
Our job isn’t to try to convince people that we know the true meaning of life and they don’t. Our job is to demonstrate the love of Jesus to them in a radical way. When people are truly touched by the radical love of Jesus, that’s when they’ll understand the true meaning of life.
Are You Willing To Pay The Price?
Knowing who we are in Christ and being obedient to God comes at a price. When Heidi and Rolland (The founders of Iris Global’s Harvest School of Missions) went to Africa to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the poor, they didn’t have ongoing financial support from their church. They didn’t go with a missions organization. Heidi’s parents didn’t even agree with what she was doing.
In the face of opposition is when we’ll truly discover whether we heard from God or not. External favor isn’t always a sign that God is moving. There are drug dealers who make millions of dollars every year and they could care less about God’s plan to redeem the brokenness we see in the world.
Whether everyone is on our side or no one is on our side is not what we look at when it comes to fulfilling our God-given destiny. We don’t need to prove anything to anyone. If we stop focusing on external things and focus on sharing the love of Jesus with the poor (both spiritually and physically poor), then we’ll gain the tenacity we need to live our lives with a divine purpose.
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