By Caitlin Stout
Just weeks ago I arrived in Seattle to meet up with Team Ethiopia. My luggage, however, did not.
This seemed like a big deal. I was having a great time getting to know my new friends, but all the while there was a running monologue in my head, stuck on repeat, saying something like, “Please let my bag get here, I want my clothes, please let my bag get here…”
It didn’t, and I was a little freaked out. I opened my bible that night, asking God for some piece of truth that I could hold on to for the rest of the week. And what was the first thing I read?
“Don’t worry about your life…or about your body, what you will wear…Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Wow, God. That’s strangely specific and relevant to my current situation. Cool, thanks.
In the past, I often did charity work and fundraising for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t always motivated by God’s love, but by guilt. I helped the poor because it seemed like a nice thing to do, but it was a struggle for me to see my efforts as anything important.
But while I was in Ethiopia, I saw what a true kingdom-seeker looks like.
I saw it in the communities we spent time in, where everyone shared their lives with each other. They were genuine communities, interdependent and built on love.
I saw it in the farmers we visited, who opened up their homes and served us some of the best food they had, even though they could have sold it at the market to earn money for themselves.
After spending time with these people, my missing luggage no longer seemed worth a second thought, nor did any of my anxieties that I had left back in the States.
I saw what it looks like to seek first his kingdom, and it looks so, so joyful.
The people we met in Ethiopia don’t give because they want to feel better about themselves. They give because they see everything they have as a gift.
In the same way, the 30 Hour Famine should not be something we do to ease guilt, and it’s not just a nice little fundraiser. After going on the Study Tour I know that our efforts are life-changing, life-saving, and more impactful than we can fully comprehend.
When we seek his kingdom, we seek justice. When we seek his kingdom first, we can’t help but gain a new perspective. We can’t help but act out of joy and love.