I am certain that all reasonable people today are concerned about how, in the midst of a global health crisis, we can protect the vulnerable amongst us, protect people’s livelihoods and also protect our personal and collective freedoms. This is a complex time – the proverbial onion – with layers within layers of important issues to consider. I heard someone say that they are glad this problem is above their pay grade and that they are grateful they are not leading a country. I can say Amen to that; except …. I am not exempt … from leading in my job, in my family, in my community and from leading myself. I cannot hide in my kitchen baking endless loaves of bread, waiting for this all to go away. How do we, as followers of Christ, respond to all that is threatening us right now? I would submit that we respond in exactly the same way we have been encouraged in scripture to respond to the threats we faced yesterday and last year and the centuries before that - by looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and following his example of serving in love. What does this practically mean? One of the core values of Orchard: Africa is Simplicity. The issues we face every day in vulnerable communities are very complex. Yet, we have tasked ourselves to find simplicity within the complexity; to respond in simple, sustainable ways. Simplicity, we believe, is the key to sustainability. If someone is hungry, we feed them. Then we teach them how to grow food. We provide care for those who are sick at home. We support, equip and encourage their community leaders. We respond. We act. Scripture teaches us to not only be hearers of God’s word, but to be doers. Jesus tells us the story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock. He equates hearing and doing what he teaches to being like that wise man. As Christ followers, we are to be doers. A few weeks ago, I wrote to you and told you about our empty warehouse and the needs of those who are desperate and hungry in lockdown, South Africa. You, our amazing Orchard Community, became doers. Within days we were able to start restocking our warehouse and we now have enough food for another month. (See photos below.) This is the Church in action. You, the Church, simply responding in a simple way. People need food. We respond. For this I thank you, deeply and sincerely. You and I both know that our world is facing very complex issues right now.
Daily I pray for those in authority to find the simplicity within the complexity.
I pray for my family to serve well within the complexity and for us to encourage sustainable solutions.
I pray for myself to lead well within the complexity and to find the very next step forward each day. And I pray for you, our supporters. May you see the next step in your life, then the next one and then the next. And in this one-step-at-a-time journey, may the God of peace be with you - now and always. May we think on these things!