Understanding God’s All Sufficiency

We begin a blogging series where we highlight one of the teaching components of the Farming God’s Way curriculum. Our focus today is on the Biblical Key of Understanding God’s All Sufficiency and how that can be a part of helping people begin to flourish. Farming God’s Way has 6 Biblical Keys that we will unpack over the next months.

A view of the Indian Ocean from the Mdumezulu Hills

The vision for Inundo Development is that Africa would steward its abundance and thereby unleash a tidal wave of overflow to and from the continent. We believe that God never intended for Africa to be known as a continent in need. His heart is a heart of overflow for the continent.

In fact, God placed immense resources throughout the land – some deep down in the bedrock – for the purpose of creating overflow for Africa and beyond. He provides other resources in plain sight on a daily basis, and some people don’t realize that they are gifts to be protected, multiplied and utilised. These are resources like sun, rain, soil, seed, time, creativity, wisdom, knowledge, relationships, markets and abilities. God has given Africans everything they need to be successful, and that is why He is known as the All Sufficient One and as Jehovah Jireh. God has given resources to Africa!

“The dependency syndrome has been created over many years of handouts and expectations and yet the demand seems to increase yearly. There is absolutely no way that Africa will realize its potential, unless Africans do.”

Farming God’s Way Trainer’s Reference Guide

While we maintain that Africa is resource rich, most people who have experienced poverty would articulate that their primary problem is a lack of resources like finances, employment, housing, food, clothes, or technology. Well-intentioned people of privilege then jump in and immediately assume that giving resources will fix the problem of poverty. However, people in poverty might also share that they experience a loss of hope and the inability to believe that circumstances could be different. The daily burden of hopelessness is suffocating. People facing such despair lose all sense of their own potential and ability. They can’t see that there is a way for them to climb out of the situation they are in. They begin to believe that they are powerless and have nothing of value when in fact the opposite is the case. Some may resort to begging, others to crime. They wander neighbourhoods scrounging in rubbish bags and taking what they can to survive. They become completely dependent on what other people will give them and lose their dignity in the process.

Children play on the beach in Coffee Bay with their wire cars. Photo credit: Lavonne Bosman

By far our greatest challenge in Africa is to break the dependency syndrome and transform the way people think about themselves and the abundant resources already around them. As you get to know Africans, you begin to see how much wisdom and creativity exists in their communities. You just have to watch children playing who did not grow up with the latest LEGO set or Barbie fashion and you will see the amazing creations made from the stuff that people throw away: old tires, pieces of wood, plastic bottles, salvaged wire and much more. Even Hollywood movies based on real life like “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” portray the resilience and innovation of Africans.

How then do we see adults sitting at street corners begging for food? And how is it possible that 1 in 2 families in South Africa experience food insecurity?

“The poor have been conditioned to look to man for their provision. They see governments, white people, NGO’s and self as their source.”

Farming God’s Way Trainer’s Reference Guide

In South Africa, a family of six will try to live off a $160 CDN monthly grant from the government believing that is provision when in reality they live in a house on a small piece of land that could reap so much more than that if the land was stewarded wisely. Imagine trying to feed 4 children on only $160 CDN per month! Unfortunately, the government grant actually prevents many people from looking further for other resources that might help them flourish.

William Kamkwamba builds a windmill from items salvaged in the community.

In Genesis 1:27-31 God gave humans a role as rulers of all creation and he gave them natural resources to provide for themselves and to be fruitful and prosper. The young man in “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” saw every item in his community as a resource for their liberation. He took up his rightful role as co-creator with God and became the source of transformation for his whole community by building a windmill that would irrigate their soil in the dry season. God’s provision always leads to increase, restoration, renewal, and transformation. God’s intention was for our world to be a beacon of his abundance.

And yet, as we look around, abundance does not shine out on this continent. Instead, we hear desperate stories of poverty, famine, and need from every corner of Africa. These stories are not “good news” for the people of Africa. We have lost our way in embracing the incredible calling placed on every human being to be fruitful! Men and women have turned to their own ways and forsaken everything that God has provided – both from the perspective of those who give irresponsibly, and those who take desperately.

“We as God’s people are called to improve, not maintain; to develop, not sustain. God’s ways are not to keep the status quo; it is not a part of His nature. He is progressive, creative and His kingdom is advancing all the time.”

Farming God’s Way Trainer’s Reference Guide

For abundance to return to this continent there must be a return to trusting God and his ways for success. Power, greed and corruption are not the values of the kingdom. Paternalism, racism, and discrimination are incredibly destructive. Inequality where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer has at its very root the selfishness of heart. There is no need for those who are succeeding to be knocked down by the jealousy of others. But, in the success of others, there is opportunity to give back and give a helping hand to others – instead of a paternalistic handout.

True transformation begins when we humbly accept that our land has been given to us as a gift from God for our well-being. It is a foundational gift. The land is the source of so many resources, and God’s provision for us is uniquely tied into our faithfulness with the gift. We don’t have to have a lot. Some are given 10 talents, some are given 5 and some are given 1. But by the miraculous all sufficiency of the creator … he is able to make even a small plot of land produce beyond a family’s needs. Plus, when we are faithful with a little, He promises to give us more to work with!

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Women sit peacefully at a well which is an incredible resource in this community.

God is an abounding God and he cares personally for everyone. Deuteronomy 8:18 even states that he has given us the power to make wealth. But we might misunderstand and assume that by wealth God is referring to gold, silver and money. How much more powerful is the wealth of believing in yourself, managing your own land, feeding nutrient-rich food to your family, selling the excess to neighbours and the community, and running a profitable farming business?

As we address the dependency syndrome in Africa we need to address the general disregard for the agricultural sector. Most young people in South Africa today want to follow one of only five career paths: doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer or social worker. They have embraced the culture’s disregard for worthwhile labour on the land. This trend has resulted in those “professional” industries being oversaturated with young trainees.

“If a nation is well founded agriculturally, it sets the platform for all other industries. If a nation can’t feed itself, it cannot support any other economic sectors.” We just have to look at Zimbabwe to see the catastrophe resulting when agriculture falls apart.”

Farming God’s Way Trainer’s Reference Guide

Understanding God’s All-Sufficiency is a personal challenge for all of us. It is a call back to a fundamental understanding of our connection to, and dependence on, the land. It is a chastisement on our undervaluing of agricultural resources, and an indictment on our pride and overvaluing of human acclaim and definitions of success.

What resources already exist in communities like these?
A community sees its soil blow away after a plough rips up the earth.

What has God given us already? If we look at our lives, where we live and the people we live with, what resources have we never noticed before? The soil is rich with the capacity to give life. Seed of every kind produces healthy, vitamin rich food. Organic materials like grass and leaves provide protection for the soil and are key components in making compost which gives back to the soil. Cow manure can be used as a fertilizer or key ingredients in compost. Even anthill soil can be used for fertilizer when no other options are available. The sun provides energy for plants to grow, and rain brings moisture much needed for crop development. Even a simple hoe lying forgotten in a storage room is a resource that can be used to prepare a field and doesn’t pulverize the soil structure like a modern plough does.

It is important to note that in “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” it was the community’s unwise and selfish choices that led to the eventual famine in the land and the crisis for the community. For short-term gain they sold forest trees to a corporation that pillaged the natural barrier that would have protected them from floods. Thankfully, God is gracious and provided them a way to restore what they had lost.

We dream of people flourishing as the land flourishes.

Africa is filled with similar stories of short-term decisions leading to crisis. However, if people see as precious the resources present in their communities, then there is impetus to care for them. Let our eyes be opened to the myriad of ways that God’s sufficient provision is evident everywhere. He is the God of All-Sufficiency, and He is working for our good. Let us then live with the perspective of cherishing each freely-given resource and use it to our full advantage to benefit our families and communities. Let Africa realize fully the potential that God envisions for her – for His glory!

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Flourishing Land, Flourishing People, Flourishing Communities.

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