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Faith: America vs. The World

Tony is a former college classmate of ours, serving today as a missionary in Matamoros, Mexico.  He recently wrote this thought provoking piece:

I had an interesting conversation with a young guy last night about the difference between faith in the USA and faith in other countries – primarily third world, communist, or poor countries.  My wise young friend commented that in our country faith does not mean so much, specifically because we don’t have to exercise our faith very often.  I agree.  Why pray for daily bread when the fridge is full and the pantry too?  Why ask the Lord to bless you when you have so many blessings you are not sure which car to drive today?

Some time ago in Mexico, we were delivering food boxes to families in an area near the city dump.  At one particular house a young teenage girl named Lupita came out as we drove up.  She was smiling big time.  She kept saying, “This is a blessing from God. This is a blessing from God!”  Why?  It was just a box of food, a carton of eggs, some oranges, coffee, flour and corn meal to make tortillas, some toilet paper, etc.  What was the big deal?

Lupita told us the deal, “Last night we sat at the table and mother had us pray.  You see, we had no food at all, nothing.  She said we should pray for food to eat.  And then God sent you.  This is a blessing from God.”

Wow! I was almost in tears that day. I will never forget Lupita’s words that morning.   When you have to beg or plead for daily bread, then, yes, then faith means something more.

I have said for a long time that what passes for “faith teaching” in the U.S. is nothing more that sanctified and slightly sanitized materialistic humanism.  How hollow “Believing God for Your Prosperity Miracle” must sound to the Christ follower in sub-Saharan Africa who lives in a slum with no clean water, no sanitation, and no food.   In that case, the “prayer of faith” is not for a bigger house, nicer clothes, or a private jet – it is prayed for survival.

So I agree with you, Tony, there’s a difference between faith in this country and in other countries – ours looks crass and cheap and self-centered. And the rest of the world’s faith looks like their very lives depend on it.

(If you would be interested in learning more about or supporting Ninos de Christo, Tony’s mission in Mexico, leave your email address in a comment, and I’ll connect you.)

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