The Word: Showing humanity to others

Published 1:00 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Ubuntu.” This word is described as “humanity to others.” It’s an ancient African word that’s often described as reminding us that “I am what I am because of who we all are.” There are numerous stories from missionaries, anthropologists, and others who tell of going to tribes in African communities and seeing how all join in to help one another out. I recently saw the story of a man who put a basket of fruit near a tree a ways away and told the group of children that he wanted to see them race. Whomever got to the basket first won the whole basket of fruit. To his surprise, when he told them to run they all looked at one another, grabbed each others hands and ran together, then sat together and shared the treats together. When the man asked why they ran together instead of racing to win all the fruit for ones self they responded: “Ubuntu. How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

Ubuntu. I am because we are. We live in a time and period where we have so many luxuries. It’s guesstimated that over $1 Billion will be spent this year alone on political ads. Wow. What the heck?!?! How many veterans could this house or feed? How many senior citizens lacking care could this assist? How many schools could be updated or improved? The secret to happiness isn’t about how much stuff we gain for ourselves. These tribes have discovered that beauty in life is found in community. We are no longer civilized. We have simply become selfish.

I am because we are. Wise king Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4 talks about how two are better than one. If someone falls, they’ve got someone to help them up. If it gets cold the two can help keep each other warm. Working together makes the tasks so much easier and more doable. We were meant to be in community.

Shoot, as soon as God created Adam, He said, “It ain’t good for man to be alone.” God knew Adam needed a companion…a helper suitable for him. Sometimes it’s nice to be alone. Sometimes it’s easier to just do the task ourself without others distracting or making it harder. But with the right ones around us…oh how much easier and better life becomes.

Ubuntu. Humanity to others. I am because we are. Paul prayed for the Corinthian church to be perfectly joined tighter in the same mind and judgement (1 Col. 1:10). I pray we become One together. I pray we strive to help those around us. I pray hard for us. I am because we are.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at