On Sundays I write on what the Bible says about money. This week’s Bible and money focus is on Ephesians 4:28…
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” – Ephesians 4:28 NIV
This weekend I’m in South Dakota, serving alongside Wesleyan Native American pastors who are hosting special “Native Nativity” Christmas outreach events in Native communities located in the cities of Rapid City and Pierre.
During this trip, I learned of a beautiful Native American value with a clear biblical application:
“To Native Americans, poverty isn’t that you don’t have enough to meet your own needs, it’s that you don’t have enough to give to help meet the needs of others.”
When I heard this statement, my mind immediately went to Ephesians 4:28. In this verse, Paul gives instruction to those who had been stealing: They should get to work like everyone else, so they will have something to give to help someone else.
Work is good. Meaningful work is a gift from God. When we work and do something of value, we produce income that is used to meet our needs and the needs of others.
Sadly, in many Native communities, there are few opportunities for people to find work. On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the unemployment rate was 89%, last I looked.
One of the Native churches in Rapid City, He Sapa New Life Wesleyan Church, has partnered with another nonprofit called Life Initiatives to start a small jewelry making business. That business, called Native Life Designs, employs Native people to make Native jewelry which is then sold via wholesale and retail outlets.
I love business as mission ideas like this, and I pray for more such opportunities to sprout up in low income Native communities across North America, so that everyone living in those places will have enough to give.
How often do you view your work as a conduit for giving to help meet the needs of others?
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