Breakfast host Duncan (above) had a moment of reflection while in Vietnam this week. Here’s his insight into how we can all make a difference if we look at what is in our hand to give…
I’ll be honest: I find mission trips challenging.
The upheaval of regular life, the time spent away from the family, and the constant sense of unease that comes from being immersed into a new culture. Somewhere deep down inside, anxiety starts to build and everyone once in a while you want to dart for an exit.
“This isn’t what I like.”
“That smells strange.”
“Everything is weird.”
Sure, it isn’t my normal; Vietnam is a long way from the luxurious blessing I’m accustomed to. But it’s someone’s normal: a densely packed ancient metropolis, teeming with life and wonder.
Vietnam is a land of contradictions. With its blazing fast internet speed and low prices on technology, it’s a shoppers paradise. Yet it also ranks at 116 on the Human Development Index—which places it in dire need of many human services we take for granted.
Australia, on the other hand, ranks at number 2.
So here I’m challenged, reminded of extravagant lifestyle I’m used to, and forced to confront the question: “What do I do with all this blessing?”
Challenged by God’s Word on Justice
Trips like this one to Vietnam force me to confront Bible passages like, “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor. A wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” (Proverbs 29:7)
In other words, we are called to be aware of the poor and their needs. And then do something about it.
The fact that Vietnam has only two optometrists for its entire population of 94 million, isn’t what God intended.
I don’t like it.
It makes me supremely uncomfortable.
The uncomfortable reality of mission is that I’m required to face injustice, and respond.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow,” says God’s word. (Isaiah 1:17)
Injustice and oppression occur when man breaks away from God’s intentions for the world; justice is when we work to restore balance—to the community, the environment and relationships with God.
By leveraging your gifts, talents and abilities for justice, you become part of the solution.
Jesus Set the Example
At some stage we were all sick and in need of a healer. Thankfully, one man brought restoration, hope and justice for all of us. It was a costly, messy affair that left many wondering and bewildered. A penniless carpenter from Nazareth breathed Justice into a world that sorely yearned for it.
So when I see injustice and socio-economic disparity all around me, knowing what the Son of God did himself for me, means I can’t sit still. I’m motivated to want to do my small part.
“When I see injustice and socio-economic disparity all around me….I can’t sit still.”
Today, I witnessed a miracle as sight was restored to a five-year-old child who couldn’t see, and couldn’t afford the operation. CBM stepped in and served some justice; restored hope.
Like Jesus, they are playing a part in the redemptive process He began so long ago.
Yes, I should feel uncomfortable. I should feel a deep sense of injustice. This trip is forcing me to respond. So I must. I will.
Seeing a waiting room of people waiting for their moment, and a recovery ward of people filled with joy, having received the justice they waited for, reminds me how small acts of justice go a very long way.