Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wanting what we need

Perhaps one of the biggest struggles in long-term ministry is the conflict between what people want and what they need. It's a conflict with more than one layer. For example, sometimes when missionaries prioritize what the people "need," they do it with a superiorist attitude that doesn't look at the people's needs from God's perspective, but from their own. Many mission fields have suffered from this mistake.

But in our case, we developed exactly what our African partners told us they need, what God had shown through His word, experience, and research is needed. All the Christian teachers and leaders who examine it have affirmed, "This is wonderful." Yet, as they try to implement it, they find it's not what students want. We've always known that as educators, we are offering a most curious commodity: so often, the more people pay for it and the less they get, the more pleased they are. In other words, they want the prestige and power that comes with education, but they don't actually want to take the time and effort to learn. If you know a teacher, you've probably heard how true that is. We don't want what's really best, we want what gratifies us quickly.

That's the most recent struggle our partners in Nigeria face: students become impatient and drop out because they don't want to take the time to learn the computer well; they want a few quick courses that will certify them for a tech job, even if they won't really understand it, much less be able to do it well.

That frustrated me when I heard Christie's discouragement--we've put so much effort into making the CTO the very best education, and she put so much effort into making it available, and people don't want it. But then I thought, "How much more grief does God feel, that He sent His Son to die for our salvation, and so many people don't want it!" And yet God did it knowing how many wouldn't want Him. He keeps sending the offer, rejoicing over those who do receive Him. We hope for that joy too, encouraged because even the impatient students love our Bible course that draws them into the message of redemption.

Therefore, my prayer, in which I ask you to join me, is for God to work in the hearts of people all over the world to desire Him. I pray that it start with me, that He reveal and change those ways in which I desire the quick relief rather than His patient and faithful work, however difficult I may find it. I pray also that He connect us with the people whose hearts He is already working in to desire to learn to be wise and discerning servants of God as they use technology.

No comments:

Post a Comment