Director of Development Matt Brock recently visited Africa with International Director Bob Sartoris. This was Matt’s first trip to Africa. He visited Nairobi, Eldoret, and Pokot, Kenya and Mbale, Uganda. Matt shared his trip reflections in a four-part blog series. The first blogs were Getting Where We Need to Go, The Gathering Place, and Food for the Soul.
Matt Brock, GNPI Director of Development
When I was in Africa, I was struck by how nicely everyone was dressed. Everywhere I turned, it seemed the men were wearing suits. As I look back at the photos of a GNPI-Africa Advisory Council meeting in Nairobi
and a meeting in Tendwo, the site of Tumaini Hotel produced by GNPI-Nairobi, I was struck by the fact that everyone in the picture, except for me, was wearing a suit!
The day after our meeting in Tendwo, we headed to an even more remote region of Africa to visit another community. On the way we passed through the city of Iten, known for its training of distance runners. We even saw many people from other nations testing their limits in the region’s higher elevations. Yet, it was something else I saw there that seemed even more incredible to me. Driving a tractor down the road, was a man dressed in a three-piece suit!
I don’t know where he was going or what he was doing. Perhaps it’s the only mode of transportation he had. Maybe it was one of the only outfits he owned. Perhaps he was going to a local fashion show for tractor owners. I’m not sure, but it made me think.
No, I probably won’t change the way I dress anytime soon. I’ll stay with what’s become appropriate in my culture just as the man I saw was being appropriate to his. Good or bad, we don’t dress up like we used to in the U.S. However, in a place where you don’t have very much, you tend to appreciate what you have and aspire to better things ahead.
I started thinking about my spiritual clothes. What do they look like to others? Second Corinthians 5:17 reminds us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I don’t think the spiritual clothes I’m wearing reflect the new creation I’ve become very often. I let circumstances dictate my attitude. I allow what’s happening to me to determine which spiritual clothes I choose. Then there are those spiritual clothes the Enemy wants me to slip into like fear, doubt, anger, bitterness, and the list could go on and on.
Paul reminds us of the clothes in Galatians 3, we were given to wear as believers:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Paul doesn’t say we have the option to put them on if we’re in Christ; he said we’re already wearing them! If a three-piece suit were the measure of the best way to dress spiritually, we ought to be like the man on the tractor. Even when everything around you looks dry and dusty, does the glory and radiance of Christ appear in your life?
It’s not that I want to look my best. I don’t want to “fake it until I feel it” or “be the change I want to see.” I want to show others I am grateful my Lord has saved me and clothed me with his righteousness! How proud am I to wear those garments?
I guess the next time I ride a tractor I might want to pick up my dry-cleaning first.