A few weeks ago, I felt a shift in my thinking and in my spirit. While having home group, we were brain storming about what we would like to see in the church. I suggested community action - actually leaving the church pews to go and make a difference in the community. Its all well and good to say we need to, but someone needs to actually make it happen! I was surprised at the passionate words that roared from my spirit. Not long afterwards, I became aware of some gross social injustice that made me sick. Me lecturer made some reference to the exploited children in the cocoa trade. My spirit lurched - so I immediately fired up Google and began to read and research.
What is the cost of real chocolate?
I felt considerable compassion for the poor children who are worked and worked, starved, beaten and exploited. I mourned for their lack of freedom and education. I thanked God my own children were safe and free with me and protected from monstrosities like that. After considerable discussion and research with my husband, we made the decision that we were not going to support the companies that purchased cocoa beans from non-fairtrade farms or other ethically run cocoa farms. I thought that my spirit would rest after that, we are doing all we can, we are only 5 people but we are going to make a difference... however small.
But no. God didn't allow me to get away with that. Over the last few weeks he has injected my spirit with a fire and a passion for the social injustice in this world. Not just overseas but in my own country. My spirit is stirring like a whirlpool. My husband said: "The church needs education about these gross injustices. What they need is someone with good strong leadership skills, and the ability to teach to raise awareness. Someone like you maybe?"
I was stunned - but something resonated in my spirit.
I then spoke to my Mum about this chocolate issue, and she stood with me and is refusing to support the companies that turn a blind eye to the children that are being exploited. She said to me: "You should be making this known to the church, God has given you the ability to speak and boldness..."
Hmmm... so I prayed. "God if this is the direction you want me to take, you need to tell me, because this is not something I know a great deal about."
That Sunday the sermon was about being an influence. God spoke loud and clear. It is not enough for me to merely stop supporting non-fair trade companies. It's not enough to stand on my soap box and tutt and say, "that's terrible." God wants me to take it further. The Pastor made reference to Matthew 25:35-40 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
I heard a whisper in my spirit: "Who is going to speak for me?"
God plainly said, it's not enough - YOU are the church. If 300 people hear what you have to say, and 300 people write letters and fire off emails to the companies who are at fault and start making a roar about it, they are going to listen. But what if those 300 people told 5 people each? Told 5 other people that this is going on in this world, and it's not acceptable. What if those other 5 people began emailing and writing letters to the company? 1500 emails/letters. 1500 voices crying out on behalf on the many children will make it known to the company and share holders are going to hear. That is 1500 voices from 1 church - what if you spoke to 10 churches.
It's time for the church to stop spectating - it's time for them to rise and make their voices heard and known. They need to stop leaving it to the Christian political groups and the crazy religious fanatics.
Joshua did not yell by himself when he was at Jericho. One little voice would sound so piddly and so useless - I bet the army tucked away inside Jericho wouldn't have even heard him. But they sure did hear when the entire army let out a roar. The unethical companies WILL hear if we are persistant and loud enough. They need to hear the voices of the godly to help them make godly discisions. We cannot influence our world by keeping our salt in the salt shaker - we need to sprinkle it in all the areas we need to influence.
God has equipped me with the gift of teaching. God has equipped me with motivational skills. God has equipped me with boldness and I will not skirt around the issues delicately. God wants me to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. God wants me to bring the issues that are in the world into the church so instead of thinking about possibly making a difference in their world, they have to the opportunity to rise and do it!
I'm ready God. I'll do anything you say and go anywhere you lead. Please show me how to do this, and show me who to talk to and what to say. Fill me with your spirit - annoint my words and lips. I'm scared at this new calling, but I know you are with me. Help me. Help!!!!
Keep this fire burning in my spirit, fuel it, flame it so that your people will know that I am your ambassador. Please start opening doors for me as well as equipping me to go forward from here.