Why I Would Die for South Africa by Michelle Cantrell
South Africa has the best rugby side in the world, the famous Big Five, fabulous weather, beautiful cities and friendly people. But it also has its darker side. It is dangerous to live in South Africa. Crime is rampant. We have the most liberal constitution in the world. We live in fear of an economic collapse like Zimbabwe’s. We see all the benefits of this country– including family ties and a rich history, but is it enough to keep us here? Why risk the safety of our family? Why gamble with the future university choices and career options of our children? Why stay?
We stay because Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves. We stay because we are not here by accident and we have hope that the gospel can transform South Africa. We stay because we are convinced that a legacy of self-sacrifice and pure devotion to Christ on the front lines is the best gift we can give to our children. We stay because we are willing to die to see the gospel advance in this strategic country.
In South Africa we have more opportunities to fulfil the second greatest commandment than in any first world country. The poor are all around us, on our street corners, working in our gardens and in our kitchens. The hospitals are spilling over with AIDS sufferers and orphans. James tells us that pure and undefiled religion is to care for the orphan and widow in their distress. The poor, the orphan and the widow cannot afford to leave South Africa. They can’t even afford security fences and armed response. Who will stay and fight for justice for them? “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? ().
Can We Make a Difference?
If we stay, can we make a difference? Think of what a difference William Wilberforce made as he persevered against all odds for 40 years in the British Parliament to see slavery abolished. We can make a difference. We can adopt the orphans. We can care for widows. We can develop residents associations that fight crime (ours has seen a 100% drop in crime in the past 2 years). We can educate the young so that they will vote with a Christian worldview. We can thus impact politics, crime prevention and every field of service. We can care for our aging parents, the AIDS sufferers, the poor… The possibilities for works of mercy and justice are endless. This isn’t an optional elective for Christians. It is our life to be “zealous for good deeds” ().
I could faithfully serve Christ and the gospel in another country. But I wouldn’t expect to reap the same amount of fruit as in a desperate place like Africa: “God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him.” (). People here see their need for the Great Physician. People are suffering. We have the cure that they are asking for. The gospel (a biblical worldview) is the ultimate cure for AIDS and poverty and crime. In more western countries, people are deceptively self-sufficient and hardened to the gospel. Why not stay where the harvest is ripe and the workers are few?
8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV)
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (ESV)
5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (ESV)