I am a man with simple tastes, for a first-world boy. I just want hot and cold water, fire in the hearth when it's cold and a fan when it's hot, my dvd player not to refuse to play my favourite disc (even though I've played it so often it looks worn out to me), a good cup of tea (after all, I am English) and an income enough to meet these needs.
Basic first world stuff.
Unfortunately, I no longer live in the first-world. No matter what the TV coverage of the soccer world cup a couple of years ago may have suggested, South Africa is in no way a first world country.
I earn around $800 per month - depending on the exchange rate - with the possibility of a monthly incentive of up to $300 on top of that. Assuming I make average incentive every month, the financial laws here would allow me to pay a mortgage bond of around 30% of my salary. So if I assume my average monthly income to be $1000 I can pay a bond up to $300. Sounds ok, until you examine the other facts:
- in the last 10 years house prices have almost tripled while incomes have not increased by half that. A house that cost around $40000 ten years ago is generally worth around $100000 now.
- Interest rates are around 9% - 10%, so the average person looking at a $40000 house 10 years ago has to look at houses in line with their income - they can now only afford a house of $75000.
- Electricity has increased dramatically as government forward planning didn't account for the increase in demand. Ten years ago I spent around $15 a month on electricity. Now I spend $20 per week - after converting to cooking on gas.
- Rateable value tax on property is based on the house's current market value, not what you paid for it. The result? Many people fall behind in their rates and water bills because of the increase in charges being more than the increase in income.
That's the bad.
So far probably wondering what this little rant has to do with God, given this is a God-driven blog. Keep with it.
Here's the ugly...
In the last few months, vinyard workers in the Western Cape have gone on strike asking for a pay rise to $10 a day. Miners and others classified as "unskilled" workers were fired on by police officials. People died. In scenes straight out of the apartheid era they were gunned down by police. Deaths were inevitable.
At the same time, the nation's president has been accused of using public funds to build a new homestead for his personal use - not an official residence which will be passed to the next incumbent. Costs into millins of dollars diverted into the project. Yet he claims to be "in touch" with the people.
Here's the Good:
God's power is moving in this land. People are being positioned strategically for a new outpouring of His Spirit. Dormant believers are being activated, latent gifts unused in years but gently ticking away are being turned up to maximum. New skills are being discovered and revealed to God's children.The fight may be intense for some of us, but suddenly there are warriors with a fierce heart around us, on our side. The storm hits, but we are supported enough to get through it intact.
There are Truths to overcome the facts:
- He will never let our circumstances dictate His outcome.
- Our abilities are not the issue - Our trust in His Provision is what matters
- Irrespective of the circumstances, God ALWAY has our best interest at heart
- The rates, taxes and fuel prices, the "shopper's basket" and the buying power of the consumer is irrelevant. If God has given it to us, all we are charged with is receiving.
What do you think?.