February 25, 2013

What's Your Role: Don't Hold Your Breath

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Throughout this season of Lent, we will be posting a devotional series written for us by Johan Plug - a missionary currently serving in Benin.  

Johan and Marijke Plug are serving the Eglise Reformee Confessante au Benin (ERCB) as advisory pastor and pastor's wife/social worker. They are being sent out by an organization called De Verre Naasten as well as the Reformed churches in the Netherlands.

He will exploring what it means for us to find our God-intended, authentic roles in His Kingdom plan.

Remember? God acts most effectively when we stop being actors. Thinking about your role begins with being real. Not what you do but who you really are is what matters.

One of the most authentic Christians whom I have the honour of knowing is Gregoire. He drives a taxi back and forth to Cotonou all day for about 10 dollars, after deducting the lease of his 20-year-old Peugeot and the price of fuel and maintenance.

Yesterday we were discussing the details of a sports evangelism project to be held next July. Gregoire’s expertise in Beninese public transport could make all the difference, we knew. But we weren’t actually prepared for this: We need to pray, Gregoire said. We need to pray that the government will look the other way and let the roadside sellers sell fuel again.

What you need to know is that Benin has a lively (and dangerous and hugely polluting) black market in fuel smuggled in from Nigeria. Crude oil tapped from international pipelines, distilled in primitive bush refineries, and sold from bottles and jerry cans, this fuel powers most of Benin’s vehicles. Periodically the government clamps down on this illegal trade and prices skyrocket.

Gregoire doesn’t grasp all the moral dilemmas here. And there are plenty. But one thing is as natural to him as breathing: prayer. If our sports evangelism team is to get around, the price of fuel will need to come down. And God is in charge, isn’t He? Well, then. The government needs to look the other way.

Pray continually, Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5.17. For Christians, prayer is like breathing. You don’t need to think about it. In fact, it is more difficult to hold your breath than to breathe. Are you planning to get active in God’s kingdom? Before anything else: pray. That’s what I’m learning from Gregoire.


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