There are now more slaves across the world than ever before in human history.
According to the UN’s International Labour Organisation, 46 million people are enslaved worldwide and more than 10 million of these are children.
Worst of all, some of the products most cherished by Western cultures – including chocolate and cheap clothing – are those most notorious for using slave and child labour.
So how are we to respond to this as Christians? How can we, just me, just you, have an impact on such a huge, global problem?
BE A GOOD STEWARD
For me, the starting point is “good stewardship”. But what is stewardship? Let alone GOOD stewardship?
I think its fair to say that when most Christians think about stewardship, they think of tithing, donating to the poor or maybe just ensuring that they are not stretching themselves so far that they can’t afford to be generous.
Maybe some of you think about environmental sustainability.
Author and VP of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics in the US, Dr Anne Bradley, says Biblical stewardship should be holistic – encompassing ALL of these things, and more.
The Bible, in Psalm 24:1 reminds us:
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
God owns everything. We are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf. This is the fundamental principle of biblical stewardship.
Stewardship, therefore, impacts every aspect of our lives. It begins with our decision-making: how we choose to use our time, our talents, and our energies.
It is reflected in all of our choices, from the mundane to the monumental. And it requires intentionality.
Good stewardship requires making these decisions within the context of what God wants.
HAVE A HEART FOR THOSE IN BONDAGE
As a believer, we must remember we were all once slaves – to sin and the world. But now we know freedom, freedom that was bought at a high price by the blood of Jesus.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed ….
Luke 4:18 reminds us we have been bought for a purpose and we should have a heart for those in bondage, both physically and spiritually.
SO HOW DOES THIS DICTATE OUR RESPONSE TO MODERN SLAVERY?
There are some things we can each do to bring an end to trafficking and slavery.
Pray for the victims, the perpetrators and government, industry and non-government agencies trying to tackle this huge and insidious problem. Pray for insight into how you and your family should respond.
Educate yourself: find out which of your favourite products are likely to have impacted supply chains and be a conscious consumer.
Support the work of organisations who advocate – such as Stop the Traffik – and those who prevent like Asian Aid.
Most of all, be considerate and compassionate. Think about the impacts of your consumption, account for the human cost, pray and talk to others about it.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves …”
Author: Monica Porte
Monica Porte is Asian Aid’s Communications and Engagement Manager. She is a people and dog lover, adventure-seeker, Bible believer and eternal optimist.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and self control.” 2 Timothy 1:7