Ghana’s current economic situation is dire, and millions are barely surviving. The case has further worsened the living standards of most people, those employed and unemployed. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen enough vulnerability, creativity, and servant leadership on the part of the government to show empathy, determination, and sacrifice to address this economic quagmire.
As Christians and church leaders, we cannot look on unconcerned and claim that because we are followers of Jesus Christ, we are exempted from hardships and can ‘command’ personal blessings in these challenging times. We cannot look on passively and scream during our worship services that “angels will deliver wealth to us” and use wrong hermeneutical views to justify that. We also cannot continue to be fixated on getting people to know Jesus and have them join our congregations, and not care about what happens to their lives on earth here. Jesus Christ, our Savior and most significant example cared not only about His followers’ spiritual salvation but also sought their physical well-being and challenged the status quo that oppressed their social and economic well-being (John 6).
The truth is that our neighbours, brothers and sisters, the people we encounter on the street, and those we worship with every Sunday are being hit very hard by economic hardship, and we must care about that. Jesus Christ invites us to care for our neighbours, whether they are Christians or not. The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “you can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity”.
Our Christianity is of no purpose to the world if it is only driven by personal interest and accumulation. It is heartbreaking that large businesses and petty traders, including Christians, are unconditionally using the current economic situation to inflate prices. We often do not realise that our worship of God is not just about showing up in the four walls of our churches, but the everyday things we do are an expression of our worship of the almighty God. If we view worship that way, we will not seek to take advantage of others. In this economic situation, the best we can do is to think about others- especially the poor and vulnerable, and how we can be a sign of hope and joy to others!
Over the years, churches have been very instrumental in the social, economic and spiritual growth of our country. In the wake of all that is happening, I strongly think that the church and its leaders can do more by demanding accountability and results from the government. Prayer is vital- but actions must accompany it; the call to be the prophetic voice. Can we have more church leaders, especially those with national influence, rise with courage like Prophet Nathan and speak the truth to our political leaders?
The church should speak up for its people complaining and reeling under the situation. One of the best ways the church can serve members of its congregation and the country is by respectfully speaking to the government to do what is right and nationalistic to turn things around. My friend, Isaac Estafanous recently said that “influence lies not in possessing things but in possessing truth, and in love”.
Millions of people could have a sense of hope and joy when they see their church leaders genuinely demanding the right things to be done while putting in place social measures within the church structures to care for those who need support. In Acts 6, we see the disciples establishing a ministry to care for the widows. They always looked out for those in the margins and provided social protection. Every congregation would need to be intentional about impacting the neighbourhood it finds itself.
If Christians and the church do not embody the Gospel well in public life, everyone will continue to suffer from the current predicament. Christians and the church as a body should embody hope and joy to the entire nation.
May we truly be the light and salt of Ghana at this critical time- in Jesus’ name!
The writer, Leo Ackon can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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