Thursday, November 11, 2010

Greener Grass

I'll be honest, I am sometimes jealous of foreigners living in Zimbabwe who are working for multinational aid organizations. They don't raise their own support, but instead just receive handsome paychecks for managing projects. Their projects, as well, seem to enjoy budgets without limit. I'm not the only one who sees this alternate universe, but the Zimbabweans we serve with see it as well. They see that their countrymen working for these organizations enjoy higher pay and benefits like meals, transportation and new equipment such as laptops for all. Everything is provided, so all anyone has to do is show up and get paid--not much in the way of sacrifice is required. But when God graces me with the gift of clear thinking, I'm actually not jealous at all.

I think about our small team of Zimbabweans with whom we work. We don't have a lot of fancy things. Minibuses are by far the most common form of transport we use. During our weekly meetings, we reveiw every penny we spent on ministry, making sure it was well-spent and accounted for. We are each aware that our budget is graciously and sacrificially supported by churches and friends. I try to model frugality in ministry by hopping on the bus when it is more efficient to do so. The great thing is, I have actually seen attitudes changing...from assuming that money is endless and any expense is justified to carefully saving our ministry money and actually chipping in a bit themselves. In a country where no good deed goes unpaid, our co-workers are willing to give of their time and resources for God's work. If you think this is insignificant, or even unfortunate (I mean, shouldn't we just be giving poor Africans all our money???), let me assure you that this is a very good direction to be heading in.

No, I'm not really jealous of my big-budget counterparts. For once the grass is greener right here.