South Africa has been abuzz in recent weeks with student protests all over the country. Students are protesting against university fee increases, advocating that education should be an opportunity for all, not a privilege for the elite. The desired fee increases will exclude many poorer students from tertiary education and I agree 100% that this is unacceptable. No willing mind should be excluded from a good education. So government did listen to the united student voice and next year will see 0% fee increases. For most students this is simply the start towards the final dream for free quality education. Now a lot can be said about how the crisis was and is being handled but this is not a political blog so I refrain from going down that avenue.
My simple thought was on the word privilege and its emotional attachment. When you look at recent student protests you cannot deny the passion, zeal, enthusiasm and strong emotions emitting from the crowds. They want equal opportunity for all, away with privilege, we want opportunity to execute our freedom!
Now, what I am about to say next is definitely not to sweep the politics under the carpet or to undermine the problems, simply a thought that jumped to my mind in the midst of the crisis.
Stop, pause, and think about your Christian privilege living in South Africa. You have opportunity to hear about Jesus every day of the week. You can enjoy Christian community. You can take your pick between scores of Churches in the city. You can take your pick between 50 different versions of the English Bible (Although I do believe some translations are better than others). You can read the Bible in your native tongue, you can sing, worship and live out your Christianity in complete freedom. But this is not the case in many countries. Did you know there are about 180 million people who do not have the Bible in their language? Did you know that there are many population groups who have never heard the name Jesus let alone a clear presentation of the Gospel message? Did you know that there are Christians today who are beaten, abused and killed for praising the name of Jesus? Did you know dear South African Christian that YOU are privileged!
Now…how should we respond to this? I don’t think privilege should lead to guilt, not at all. But I do think it should lead to profound thankfulness accompanied by great compassion towards those who do not have it as good as we do. I am speaking to my Christian friends and asking if we can get just as zealous, courageous, emotional, and passionate about spreading the fame of Jesus as we do with social justice issues? Put yourself in the shoes of those who don’t have it as good as you do. Think it through, and may God help us.
If you perhaps have this passion but are not aware of what you can be doing to advance the cause of missions take a look at OMF’s 6 ways to get involved: