Unemployment and the role of the local church

In this article Trish Waboraro very honestly and openly identifies 5 effects of unemployment, giving a Bible link and comments around background and solutions.

Only God can heal unemployment in our region. Only if we turn back to God and dedicate the altars of our nations to him will our challenges be overcome.

These “voice from the wilderness” words were written by Trish Waboraro in Scripture Union South Africa’s Closer to God daily Bible-reading guide for adults. This southern African tool seeks partly to highlight biblical solutions to some of the contextual challenges we face in southern Africa.
Says Trish, “While unemployment is a general problem wreaking havoc on our societies on our countries, it is also something personal – something you and I have experienced – and it is painful.”

She has hope, though, that the Church has a practical response, but one that will require real, courageous action.

Join Trish as she very honestly and openly identifies 5 effects of unemployment, giving a Bible link and comments around background and solutions.

Xenophobia in the name of unemployment – Leviticus 19:33-37

We have with great sadness witnessed neighbouring southern African countries turn very violent as outrages explode against fellow Africans in the name of unemployment! All in the name of ‘they are stealing our jobs and opportunity’…

How do you think God feels about this?

A certain church built a new auditorium that cost millions and my question was: while a beautiful edifice may be good, could those same Christians not have raised the same amount to fund young people from all nationalities in starting small businesses, as one example? Can’t churches go an extra mile and raise economically active members? Churches should be key agents in the economy.

Domestic violence to feel in control – 2 Timothy 2:14-26

My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. All I remember is that my mother was chased away from her marital home with 4 children. We grew up in poverty, in lack and without enough to get by, wishing our father could be in our lives. But one thing I remember vividly is that my mother was a victim of domestic violence, even losing her front teeth through a fight with my father.

Have you had any experience of this scourge as well?

Sadly, churches are mostly silent about this issue. So this is a call to churches to empower our men on how to build a household when faced with lack / poverty at home. And a call to teach young women to help carry the burden of the whole family, appreciating their men when they bring in what they can – even if it seems little in the eyes of society.

Sexual favours to open every closed door – Ephesians 5:22-33

Having gone through all the highs and lows of life as a single mother, one thing I always pride myself on is that I have never allowed a man to touch me in exchange for a loaf of bread, no matter how bad the situation was. Unemployment has contributed to our generation becoming a ‘serope mperekela’ generation, meaning a generation that uses sexual favours to open every closed door. Be it a promotion, a new car, a new dress or a holiday – literally anything we need we can get through sex.

How far is this from what God intended it to be?

Churches need to understand poverty and what it is doing to our communities. They need to help members live holy lives, living as God intended – helping people in their need to be patient, hard-working and holy.

Corruption – greed has enveloped our African continent – Luke 12:13-21

Botswana recently had a judge of the High Court who had to step down following money-laundering and corruption. What could a judge – who has a good salary and all the financial benefits under the sun – possibly be lacking? Corruption isn’t a result of lack, it’s a result of greed. With Africa having enough resources, why are we struggling with unemployment? Our challenge is around ‘contentment’. Because of desiring to have more than people around us, we Africans have become experts at sabotaging other Africans from being, or achieving, something better than ourselves.

What do you feel when thinking of corruption cases in your country?

Churches shouldn't merely pray about corruption: they need to raise a generation and army of righteous leaders. We now need to raise leaders in political, economic, academic, business, diplomatic and entertainment circles.

Lawlessness, the law is disregarded – Proverbs 29:1-18

There was recently a recently a rise in cash heist crimes in South Africa where ATM machines and cash-in-transit vans have been robbed – even in broad daylight! When one of the criminals involved was interviewed on television, he said: ‘These crimes will never end, because the people committing them are ex-employees who were trained to use these cars and transport money. But they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs and so knew exactly what to do. Then, the police who apprehend us are also underpaid at work, so when we offer them a reasonable bribe, they take it!’

How does your heart and mind respond to lawlessness?

We have people who are desperate and have little thought for a unified, peaceful society. Governments are trying to do something about poverty, but not enough as the cost of living rises by the day. Churches ought to stand in prayer for governments, that they find solutions to lawlessness. Pray for economic stability. Pray for people to repent and turn to God. Pray for those in positions of authority to resist bribery, however tough their situations may be.

SU South Africa

Churches can rise to shine in the darkness and become the taste of this world, by leading in finding solutions to unemployment so prevalent in our societies. The Church ought to be the head, positioning itself strategically and becoming an ‘influencer’ – a voice in the wilderness that brings solutions to southern Africa.

SU South Africa is in the business of helping to raise generations of godly young leaders, influencing their peers to live right and to live with hope. If you’d like to join hands with SU on this noble quest, please be in touch with Alan Pitt, SU Operations Director, email alan@su.org.za.

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Author: Alan Pitt
Alan plays tennis and at times serves as SU Operations Director. Married to Cath, Alan is blessed with two amazing children. Tegan works as a physiotherapist in the Eastern Cape (Madwaleni Hospital) and Thomas is into nature management (at a game farm near Ceres). Alan remains a Novak Djokovic and Liverpool fan.
Published: 21 June 2023
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