In a book that my mentor asked me to read a week ago, the author asks an astute question. The same point was also clear in a national article about Hope Haven Rwanda published by Kigali Today last week. Here is the question:
Am I working “for” God, or “with” God?
God may be trying to tell me something. In fact, He might be trying to tell many of us something. This has been a season of trials and triumphs. We have each had to wrestle with the global pandemic in different ways. Some of us are living with more fear than usual, others are living with more faith. For most of us, it is a mixture of both.
Let me explain a bit more about the question. I’ll use a brief case study as an example.
One of the triumphs we have seen in recent weeks has been the massive distribution of emergency relief to our community. Alphonsine, a mother and staff member, has been right in the midst of it all. I have sat with Alphonsine in her home. I knew she was a hard worker on campus, and it was wonderful to watch her care for her family at home. In a very difficult context, Alfonsine serves her family as the primary breadwinner and caretaker.
Alphonsine’s son, Jacque, recently spent a year traveling the U.S. as part of the His Little Feet International Children’s Choir, our partner organization. Jacque joined his mother for part of the distribution last week. Can you imagine the contrast Jacque is witnessing? He is watching emergency food and soap distributions at Hope Haven Rwanda when he recently dined in many of our homes in the U.S.
One of the challenges we face as an organization is that our photos feature beautiful, clean and happy children. They are so precious in God’s sight and we love them so much. The challenge is that viewers do not have the opportunity to see where and how they live when they are not on campus. It is impossible to reflect the poverty they experience every day. The dirt, the gnawing hunger, and the fear. This is why we work so hard to deliver hope to them.
Alphonsine is a beautiful example of someone who lives in a very tough context but is learning to work “with” God to help her family and neighbors. Alphonsine is not only serving on campus. At the request of Rwandan government officials, she helped deliver the food we purchased throughout our neighborhood. She is a huge part of what one of our teachers, Job referred to as Hope Haven “shining as a light on a hill” (Matthew 5:14).
The temptation for many of us is to get so busy working “for” God that we try to do it in our own strength. That is not the path to an authentic and healthy ministry. As reported in the Kigali Today article, Alphonsine, and many others, are not working in their own strength. It is clear that what they are doing is “with” God.
Listen to what one of the beneficiaries, Odette Mukashyaka, told the reporter. “I am thankful for this school for having accepted to work with God to give us food.” Did you notice what Odette said? We are working “with” God.
May God give each one of us the grace we need to join Him in His work, in His way. Let’s work “with” God, instead of trying to work “for” Him.