|Mizo Christians praised for their 'attitude of giving'|
The life and faith of Christians in Mizoram should serve as a model for others to emulate, says Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, a theologian and former principal of the Aizawl Theological College.
"They always remain thankful for the transformation Christianity brought. Their actions show it. They have wholeheartedly submitted for God's purposes," observed Rev. Gaikwad, during a recent interview with Christian Today.
"Faith is something to be shared. It is not an exclusive possession. And faith calls for giving...you give yourself to God who you have experienced in Jesus Christ. This is something the Mizo Christians follow," he said.
Rev. Gaikwad, who was recently inducted as the general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), praised Mizo Christians for their "attitude of giving".
"They have become "giving churches" rather than always "expecting". For instance the custom where a handful of rice is set aside for the mission work of the Church shows their generosity. Even now the people whether rich or poor do that before every meal. And these portions of rice feed missionaries in far-off lands. Huge resources are created to support missionaries through such actions," he said.
"Also during every agricultural season when they assign plots of land for the villages, they assign one plot of land for the Lord's work. Besides that, the harvest of the field also goes for the mission and Church. This giving and sharing mentality is worth emulating. Established churches although practiced this at the beginning, have now forgotten its significance," he noted.
Talking of evangelism, he said, “In the early days the first Mizo Christians wanted to share their faith and all they did was go to their neighbour’s house and say "believe in Christ". It was that simple. They never wanted to confine that joy within themselves. They wanted to share it with others."
He adds, "The Church in Mizoram is today a good example of organising everything on the principles of Gospel. What may be said to be the 'politics' that happens in many churches outside, does not happen in Mizoram. Not that they are perfect, but on the whole they are commited to God's work."
Some 87% of the Mizo population including all ethnic Mizos belong to the Christian community. Until 1894, when the missionaries introduced elementary education, Mizos were illiterate. Today Mizoram is second only to Kerala for literacy in India.
Christian Today India
January 7, 2011