1 Corinthians 3:11 "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."
The Lord sees that in a continent like Africa, the combined poverty of the great majority of our people results in a widespread poverty in mind, body and spirit that covers individuals, families, communities, towns and cities, and nations. He has shown us that this whole ruination has started with unfaithfulness with the Land, which is the first thing He gives any people group to take care of and use. The ‘taking away’ that ensues also affects the entire infrastructure of all of the nations, because our Holy and Just God will not ‘add to’ unfaithfulness.
Using the term ruination will no doubt offend some people, but the facts are that Africa is the poorest continent with the highest hunger and disease levels, the lowest life expectancy, the least production to natural resources ratio, huge corruption levels, the most wars, and the least inspirational inventiveness. I want to say this gently, but the lord says emphatically that we are to shout it out aloud with a voice like a trumpet. The Lord says, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” To stubbornly deny the facts or get angry when they are revealed is actually a form of rebellion. God’s love inspires us to speak and to face the truth.
The ruination by man of anything that God has created must bring Him dishonour, and must be a distinct measure of unfaithfulness, so in our love for God and our desire to bring Him glory, surely we must concern ourselves wholeheartedly with the rebuilding of what has been ruined. What an honour and privilege it is to be named as the rebuilders, on the basis of our heart for the poor.
The rebuilding process must begin with a plan for the poor and with the land. In Africa we have some of the most abundant and best soils and rainfall in the world, and because of the lack of a sophisticated industrial and services infrastructure, and a huge unemployment problem, we must begin by resettling the poor on the land and teaching them to be faithful and productive with it. Many of the poor have failed on the land and have gone to the cities for jobs that don’t exist, and many squat there in tremendous hardship and suffering.
Because of this failure with the land and the association it has with poverty, agriculture as a way of life is now scorned and ridiculed and has no value or status in most people’s minds. This very poor reputation and lack of hope in agriculture as a concept or as a career, and its causal lack of management and stewardship ability, have resulted in ever-increasing neglect and abuse of the land, and so it cycles downwards in this chronic form of captivity to unfaithfulness and poverty.