Acts of Road Building
At a dark and lonely moment in my life, I thought of giving up my work in South Africa. My hope faded that I had anything good left to offer. I was looking for comfort in the Bible and read the passage in Luke describing the message of John the Baptist.
John was a voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming of the Lord saying, “Clear the road for him!” For some reason, that phrase “clear the road for him” jumped off the page. After five difficult years in South Africa, I knew there were many obstacles in the road for the people I had come to know and love. As I read on, the fog in my head cleared. I saw valleys filled in, mountains leveled, curves straightened, all signs of road building…… or Road Works. Through these acts of road building, ALL people would see the salvation sent from God.
My adrenaline started pumping as I immediately felt a direct connection to my work in South Africa. John’s was a message of repentance, and so the people asked, “What should we do?” John’s reply is astonishing. He proceeded to describe direct actions that should come out of a repentant heart. The three actions he described where all related to oppression experienced by Jewish people under Roman occupation, but I understood them in my context in South Africa.
First, poverty was oppressive as Rome took land and taxed the people. So John said share your clothes and your food with those who are hungry.
Second, Jewish tax collectors, who had become wealthy under Roman occupation, were told to stop their complicity with Roman rule. In other words, don’t join in the oppression of your own people for your own personal gain.
Third, soldiers were told not to use their positions of power to extort money out of the poor.
John’s three instructions involved social issues related to injustice and oppression by Rome, and how the people should respond by giving, rather than being complicit in corruption for personal gain.
These were all relatable to me as a person who had witnessed the oppression of the poor and the resulting consequences for an entire nation. I felt this was divine intervention in my life, a turning point, and believed the name of our non-profit should be called Road Works. We believe our acts of service in education, care giving, mentoring, and developing children, are acts of road building, designed to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord in the lives of children under our care.