Many people in our country are feeling quite anxious at the moment. Racism, greed, corruption and violent crime seem out of control.
What would you say South Africa needs most of all right now?
Is it a better education system; fairer distribution of economic resources; more understanding between cultural groupings; an end to all corruption; more practical love and care between the rich and poor; or the apprehension of criminals?
I dare say that all these things are sorely needed.
But what we need most of all is the gospel of Jesus. Because only the gospel can save and transform people – for this world and the world to come.
Once people are saved and transformed by Jesus, one will see the good things, listed above, happening more and more.
If we believe this, then our priority should be gospel ministry. Our extra time, energy and income should be invested in the gospel – helping people find eternal life.
At our church’s recent men’s camp Bishop Glenn Lyons, our camp speaker, gave a good illustration about how we typically spend our money.
Imagine you book into a hotel for a long weekend.
You walk inside the hotel room and say, “I don’t like the carpet!”
So you get the carpet people to come and replace the carpet at your own expense.
You notice that the TV is not as flat as you like it. You order a new, bigger, flatter TV at Takealot.com with same-day delivery.
You lie down on the bed and discover the mattress is a bit hard. You nip down to the bed shop and buy a new mattress.
Of course, you would never do these things because you’re staying for the weekend. Your stay is only temporary – it’s so short.
How are you spending your money?
This world, and our stay in this world, is only temporary. It’s a blink of an eye.
Our real, permanent home is in the world to come, for all eternity.
Surely, we should be investing in eternity.
Surely, we should be pouring our time, talents and treasure into gospel ministry that has eternal consequences.
Sadly, most people’s – even most Christians’, great aim in life is to make their stay in this world as comfortable as possible. Inevitably, at the end of every month they don’t have enough money to give generously to gospel ministry.
The typical South African, even Christian South African, lives on the very edge of their salary. When a salary increase does come, the first priority is generally to increase their standard of living.
Now, there is nothing wrong with increasing your standard of living. But it is fundamentally wrong if it prevents or hinders you from serving generously in gospel ministry with your time, talents and treasure.
Imagine if Christians saw an increase in income as an opportunity to increase their giving (to fund gospel ministry and to help other Christians in need) and not increase their standard of living?
“We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.’ (1 Timothy 6:7)
“Store up treasure for [your]selves as a good foundation for the future [in the world to come], so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19)
If you believe that what South Africa needs most is the gospel, will you give generously and regularly to gospel ministry – preferably through your local church?
Will you then invest your money in gospel ministry and generously contribute to that which bears eternal fruit?
Will you take the long-term view?*
*This is not to say you should not help people now, in this world, as a practical demonstration of the love of Jesus.