Part 3 of Biblia na Utajiri is about the opportunities to become wealthy. Ufoo is at pains to argue that it is actually possible to have a measure of wealth. She uses the image of earth: even if you have a small plot of land, if you build up, into apartment buildings, the land for one house can house 30 families! The opportunities are there, but we need to look for them. And God provides: if you think of the ocean, you can take a lot from the ocean and still it is plentiful. God is the one who made the ocean!
For Ufoo, many people do not become wealthy or have enough because they are closed to the possibilities before them. She points to several faulty ideas about wealth, one being that it’s all luck, so you might as well resign yourself and do nothing while you wait for it to be your turn, if that time ever comes. Another is that human life is about struggle, and you have to wait until Heaven for anything good. She sees that these kinds of thinking are way in which human imprison themselves.
Instead, she brings words of confidence. God’s plan is to fill you to overflowing, and you have the capacity to claim this. Tithing is a part of that, so is believing the promises of God. This is the part of the book that made me feel most uncomfortable because it sounds formulaic and she uses the language of causing or forcing God to act on his promises. And yet, the Bible passages she uses, such as the persistent widow, have strong overtones of this as well.
Moreover in all this talk of forcing God’s hand, she has two caveats. The first is that we only force his hand in line with his own will and direction, which is why we need to get on board with his ways. She likens waking up to God’s wisdom to the blind man who is healed by Jesus’ touch in Mark 8. The second unpacks that a bit, that is, that wealth is not given for one’s own self but to be shared with others and to provide for others. It is in this sense that your becoming wealthy can be ‘kingdom business’.
One more section to go, on ‘focus’.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.