Much has been said these past weeks on the subject of international financial aid, with suggestions that it is being given and used inappropriately. It is apparent that some consider that such aid comes with limits and conditions, as though the help is held in a closed fist until certain assurances are made. Thankfully, when we look to God’s perspective on giving aid, the issue is enveloped in terms of grace and generosity.
You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ (Deuteronomy 15:10-11 ESV)
Note that this passage, taken from the numerous laws given to Israel through Moses, does not specifically target the affluent within a community. The command is to be generous within the context of lending freely (15:8) whatever is needed by a poor brother, without thought of when you may be repaid. No-one would ever think of repaying a philanthropic millionaire! The situation here is one of helping a brother in some small way when they just don’t have the means of helping themselves, even when it may be tempting to consider your own limited pantry, or the fact that you planned to use that cordless drill on the weekend and he probably won’t return it in time!
Here in Papua New Guinea, there are frequent calls on us, both personally and through our role in Lae, to give financial aid or to provide resources at our disposal. These even come from opportunistic strangers, who respond to our explanations that we just cannot help them with a “Mi traim tasol.”….. meaning “I just thought I’d ask.”
What gives us great joy, however, is helping the locals who are giving over and over from their only real resources – their time and energy – as they commit to translating Scripture into their tokples (vernacular language).
Today, Taitus and Mila, a husband and wife translation team, came into our Lae Centre to upload their latest work to the Wycliffe server via internet so that it could be prepared for consultant checking in November. Does not sound much…. until you understand that they travel over several days to get from their village in the Finschhafen area to Lae, and then learn that they arrived with broad smiles and warm greetings for us. This godly couple are not looking for what they might gain from this association with the Western translators, but for God to be glorified through their efforts.
They were so appreciative of our assistance, and we did so little really…. just sharing of our time and the ability that comes from our education and training. But those smiles and that brotherly embrace….. what an awesome repayment plan!
- that the community would value the OT translation that Taitus and Mila are working towards
- that the Lord would indeed bless them in all that they undertake
- for the consultant checking process in Ukarumpa during November, for safe travel for all concerned and physical sustaining through the task