Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Romans 12:10-13
Tonight a small group of us will gather at New Life Church to talk about the Uganda encounter. I have had a month to reflect on the experiences that were far too foreign, fast, and intense to be understood in the moment. We stepped out of time measured by watches and phone schedulers, and dashed into God’s storm of revelation and miracles; and joining hearts with people of incredible faith.
I saw and heard and learned many lessons of significance, but all of them seem to fit under this one broad category–I have met a people for whom sustaining life depends on God ALONE. That’s the sum of what I witnessed. God is all they have, and He is abundantly enough.
People pray for work, and are so grateful for a means of income. Education–to be able to read and write–another supernatural gift that God is giving to thousands through His church. Daily food–when it is there, we heard deep gratitude; and when it wasn’t, the children prayed, believing that God would sustain their bodies in health. The food is grown in rich soil in small plots. Surely the health of the people has to do with the quality of farming. Fruits and vegetables are what we would call organic and pay double for. But first, they pray, because not everyone has food every day. God has given them a perspective of food that I want. I need God more than I need food. The Ugandan Christians are living proof.
We were no spring chicken youth group you know, and once or twice I thought about what we would do if somebody had an appendicitis or a heart attack. We would do what the Ugandans do. We would pray in faith, knowing that we have a compassionate Father who heals the sick. His divine intervention is expected and common. There is a poverty to American faith, because we have never been there.
Their homes are built of simple homemade red clay bricks. Paint is far too expensive. Some have concrete floors, some dirt. But all of the Ugandans we met were rich in hospitality. It’s interesting that the list Paul gives in Romans 12–the present your bodies and transform your mind chapter–are all things that don’t require money to accomplish. The Ugandans are incredibly kind, exceedingly honoring of “the visitors,” hardworking and fervent in their service to the Lord, full of joy, instant in prayer, full of hospitality–I saw Romans 12 lived out. It is no longer words on a page. It is a group of people who define the command in their day to day lives, and held nothing back in giving to our little group of American adventurers.
What if God was all I had? I mean like a Ugandan–no money, no food, no security, no suburban mansion, no indoor plumbing, no health care. When a tiny bit of our security is diminished, we instinctively respond by hoarding. They have never had it, and because of their great love for God who is truly all they have, they give lavishly.
The result is a wildfire of gospel spread. Revival. Hunger for more of God. Joy in sacrifice. Celebration of real life. James writes that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith. I have spent a few weeks with those kind of rich folk. And I have a fresh longing to know how to live life like God is all I have.