• "Ill-equipped" to work for justice

    Posted by Eliza

    29 March, 2011

    Our new Political Engagement Intern, Eliza Walley, on how she's feeling about her upcoming year with Micah Challenge.

    When I reflect upon these first 20 years of my life and consider the choices that I have made, there is one that I am yet to forgive myself for. I have an Amazon.com account.

    This account is linked to my credit card, making it too easy for me to spend too much money, on too many books. I don't buy fiction; I don't have time to read stories about made up people and impossible scenarios. I tell myself that if I have time to sit and read something other than the bible, then I should read something valuable - something that will teach me or prompt thought. So I read non-fiction. My latest splurge included titles like "Rich Christians in the Age of Hunger", "Generous Justice - How God's Grace Should Make Us Just" and "Make Poverty Personal". I'll tell you why.

    I have been interning with Micah Challenge for just over a month now and am so excited about this year and how God is going to use me. But this excitement that I now feel was born out of feelings of anxiety and is the result of much prayer and dependence on God.

    My first day at Micah Challenge was great, I loved meeting the other staff and interns and getting a feel for what I was going to be doing throughout the year. But I left the office with a deep sense that I was not only ill-equipped for my new job, but that my intentions of committing my life to God's call for justice were not going to become reality. That day I had heard about other's exposures to poverty in countries around the world, university degrees in Development Studies and previous work in advocacy. I felt anxious - like God had made a mistake in putting me in this job, as I was clearly not as experienced as some of my other co-workers. So later that night I went onto Amazon.com and bought as many books as I could with the title poverty and injustice. I considered these textbooks that I would need to read before I could respond to God's call to 'act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God' (Micah 6:8).

    In that same week I was reminded of a quote that I read in Max Lucado's book 'Outlive your life'. It said, "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called" (Rev Michael Beckwit).

    I felt convicted. Reading books about poverty and injustice is helpful and if I had not read this particular book I might not have had this revelation. But knowledge is not a prerequisite for responding to God's call to love and serve the poor. God doesn't require us to have a degree in International Aid, or have travelled the world visiting poverty stricken communities. I realised that I didn't need to read 8 books about poverty before I committed myself to His cause.

    Last week I heard that a 12 year old boy in my church congregation, after hearing about the way that some people live in this world, asked his mum to buy him a piggy bank so that he could save some of his money to help the poor. I assume that this boy hasn't read many books on poverty, yet he has taken up God's call for us to love and serve the poor.

    Experience and knowledge are undoubtedly useful and I would encourage anyone to read the books that I mentioned above, but it is my hope and prayer that you do not considerer yourself unqualified because you have not read enough or have not experienced poverty for yourself.

    I am reminded of Moses' response to God when he was asked to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he said, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"(Exodus 3:11) Eliza asked, "Who am I, that I should approach politicians and speak on behalf of the poor?" God responded to Moses saying "I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12a) and I feel that this is the same thing that He has been telling me since my Amazon.com splurge. There are things that I am anxious about this year, things that I feel unqualified for and things that I need to learn. But I need to look to God first and not books or research, for He is faithful and He qualifies the called.

    Please pray that I can rely on him this year.