giving a hoe

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One of my host family’s “machambas,” or fields

The last few weeks have been labor intensive for the Chuwabo people as they prepare their fields for rice planting. I recently biked out to spend the day with the family I stayed with in the village. They have several plots of land which the wife, daughter and other family members work. Their hoe broke during this final crunch time before the rains begin.

During my visit, the wife asked if I could bring them a new hoe. At first I was a little uneasy. I didn’t want this to become a pattern. You see, like most westerners I have the instinct to separate my friendships and my finances as much as possible. If I give her things, then maybe she’s just friends with me for what she can get. But that thought never crosses the Mozambican’s mind. Here, there’s no such thing as a true friendship without material sharing in each other’s lives. Whenever I visit them, they send me off with a bag of rice from their field or recently harvested sweet potatoes. She is always blessing me and giving what they have to give.

And isn’t that what the Bible teaches us?

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:11-12

So I set off to the market to buy a hoe. A few days later I gave the hoe to her husband. He told me a proverb–the best kind of friend gives a hoe. It’s pretty much a variation on “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” He went on to say what a blessing this will be to many, as I wasn’t just giving a hoe but food for their family, community and church.

And so I give thanks to God, for enriching me so that I may be generous, for the blessing of a hoe that will be used so that this family may be generous. And I give thanks to God for so many who have been generous and let their abundance supply my need as I live and grow among the Chuwabo people.

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