This week I had the great delight of getting up to date with a podcast series by a TAFES Associate, Luphurise Mawere. She was the leader of a recent Bible study I wrote about too. The podcast is the recording from her weekly program on the radio and the series I listened to was called ‘Things to do in order to get financial success’. There are seven episodes so far, each about 15mins long.* She begins and ends each episode with prayer.
Luphurise covers a number of similar themes to ‘The Bible and Wealth‘, a book by another TAFES Associate which I blogged through in 2017. These include the possibility of becoming wealthy and the importance of doing this in line with God’s ways. However, this time I realised why this is such a big deal. The teaching they’re fighting against is that Christians cannot be involved in the economic development in Tanzania or in combatting poverty.
Here’s the popular logic: a rich person cannot get into heaven (or it is very difficult to), therefore each person must choose between being a Christian and being wealthy. The Christian is to be poor, to not pursue money, which precludes them from contributing to the economy. Christians therefore have a reputation for being passive and lazy.
The longest episode of the podcast is on the topic ‘Do not love money’, and Luphurise stresses that not loving money is not an excuse to be lazy or to embrace a spirit of poverty. She has to teach that because it’s a real thing! Many middle-class Tanzanians diagnose this kind of passivity as the reason for the nation’s economic woes. I had not realised before that this kind of passivity has had theological roots.
Luphurise’s response is to give a Christian reason to be involved in development. From Genesis 1, she argues that God told us to fill and multiply the earth and that this is not just about having children. It can be extended to the work that we do in the world, because we are sharing with God in his creative work. This changes wealth from something that is forbidden to Christians to something which Christians can be involved in, and even should be involved with. Of course, it is not for their glory, but for God’s, in order to bring his kingdom here on earth.
* The podcast episodes so far are:
- God must be first in your life
- Your motivation to seek financial success must be good
- Have the right view of financial success
- Do not love money
- Produce something
- Fill the earth
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.