All my life has been one long wait. Waiting to grow bigger, older, more educated, get promoted, richer, wiser etc The dialogue was emphasised by those that said we look forward to heaven. Another thing to wait for ! Sadly while waiting we do not enjoy what is already available. When I look back I feel like an idiot. So many friends I did not make time for, so many events I ignored, so many meetings I did not participate in. All because I was waiting for the perfect thing to present itself. Perfect, according to me anyway. When expectation is high nothing looks like it. So I stumbled upon a certain truth that shook me. Our expectations are based on what we think we deserve. The church circles are essentially misleading by not teaching the truth. According to the Bible we deserve death. This does not change even after we surrender to Christ. We get what is Christ’s but do not deserve it. That is why if someone is slapped they can turn the other cheek. Being slapped is much better than getting what one really deserves. Being given a tongue lashing is better than death. That made me start looking at what is around me with more appreciation. There is nothing around me that I deserve. It is all by God’s grace that I am part of it. I do not deserve such a committed wife, a loving daughter, a passionate boss, wonderful neighbours, friendly colleagues, the list is endless. When I see all this I am moved to realise my life is heavenly. As if this is not enough God himself is present and making possible that which I would never have imagined. Like I no longer depend on my salary for he provides more than what I earn. Every month. This does not happen because of any reason you can think of. It is not because I tithe, pray or do not sin. It is because I have learnt to receive from him often. He is always giving and he wants us to experience him in all sorts of ways. One cannot help but feel overwhelmed by His goodness. For this reason I do not wait for heaven, after all when Jesus prayed let it be on earth as it is in heaven when was that prayer meant to be answered? It was answered for those that accessed the Kingdom of heaven which had always been near. Unless you become like a little child you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven, so Jesus said. We do not enter it on death, that is why Paul and other disciples were living a heavenly life on earth. If some of us were treated like them we would abandon the faith fast. Why did they not ?
Over the years I have made an observation that has made me to think beyond the obvious and realise things are not what they seem. I was of the opinion wherever I was became my sphere of influence. When I showed up things begun to change. It was because of me. For this reason I would ensure I am there in good time to make my valued contribution. Have you noticed when you are not around things will continue to happen. In fact I begun to observe a trend. There were certain things I thought would be important to address and I would make this known. However credit would go to someone else. I could not understand this because it should have been me that was credited. So I decided to keep my ideas to myself. Would you believe even with the idea well hidden, somebody else would articulate it for action. Surprising how we think alike. In other words the more observant I become the more redundant I become. This is because it’s not us doing it but God through us. When you think you will sabotage your boss by not handing in a crucial report then he goes on leave and your friend who is his cover takes the heat. Or you post the best results for your region only to see the dashboard green with other region highs that surpass yours. Things do not happen in isolation. They are all brought by the one above. In line with this is thinking a perfect family is the one with a dad, mum and children. Writing off those with only a mum and feeling sorry for their children for lack of a father. How does one explain the children of such that turn out well ? We attribute it to all sorts of things around effort and luck. We are aware of normal families that churn out horrible children. Or some that have a black sheep. How do you explain that ? What seems to be what will work is not usually the case. Being a father is not easy. Quite the contrary. Imagine having a child to bring up through ones influence. I am a lousy father. The more I tried to transfer my ideas to my daughter the worse it became. When I gave up and started going with the flow my daughter loosened up and begun to be herself. She is very different from me and she has her own way of getting things done. It is the same with marriage. Even employment. The more I assert myself the harder things get. The more I go with the flow the better the day is. Going with the flow is rendering yourself redundant. The more redundant I get the more enjoyable my days. I have longed for that elusive glory of making others see my perspective in vain. So I have painfully abandoned mine for God’s with the most amazing results. For as long as my day is rewarding that is all that matters. I have learnt more and seen more achieved in the process. Yes I often relapse but reality is harsh and I realise my enemy afresh. Myself.
As I grow older drawing pleasure from life has become more challenging. Some things that were so pleasurable no longer have that appeal. It is so easy to believe that heaven will address this issue. Hence looking forward to going there is part of everyday living. The question is whether it should be that way. At teens we are currently looking at ‘purpose’ with the hope that it will clarify what we are here for. Surprised though to see what is coming out of it as we squeeze it. I really never considered knowing God as related to one’s purpose. Is it really possible to know Him ? What is the point of knowing Him ? In the Bible there are many passages that show off people that knew him well. It also gives us a consistent impression of His longing for us to get to know Him. Knowing Him enables us to have an understanding of reality that is representative of the status quo. This opens our eyes to seeing things from a better light. Understanding why things work the way they do, for or against. Imagine you were able to see how something will end before you start, that would give one assurance to decide with reason. Most times life is one big gamble. It seems that the lucky get ahead while the others gnash. The other reason we are here is to get to know each other. We are all created with a flavor that one can access to enjoy life. We just don’t realise how enjoyable people are. The focus most likely is on visible things. Misery is a function of having no one to enjoy them with. Is it really possible to know someone ? Great biographies capture the essence of the person fairly well and by reading, one can have a very good idea of what the person was like. We do not need to wait for a biography to know one. We all long (c/overtly) to be known. When you know someone you are able to benefit the most from that information. The getting to know someone is a process whose time is dependent on many different things. The key one though is interest. If one wants to know someone they will if they have interest. The other one is spending time with the person under various circumstances. It seems obvious until one realises they have known their parents a long time yet get surprised when they do something unimaginable. This also shows there is only so much we can know about one. However we can know someone well enough to know how to relate with them meaningfully. Like knowing what they would love as a gift. Knowing where they would be at any given time. Who their best friends are and so on. That is not the reason of knowing them as in enjoying who they are. Ever known someone you look for so that they lift your spirits just by being with them ? One cannot put their finger on it, but it’s not the words they use or their mannerisms or their laughter. There is just something about this person that warms your heart. They do not even have to be good but you long for their company when you are down in the dumps. There are others we look forward to for different reasons. They too exude a flavor unique only to them. The thing is if we can get to know people to this extent then it is possible to get to know God. If we are interested and willing to spend time searching for Him we shall find Him and know His flavor. There is nothing I know quite like him, he’s something unlike anything I have ever experienced and better. Jesus said unless one becomes like a little child they will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. The King of heaven is present everywhere, believing he exists takes child like faith. That is the first step to really enjoying heaven on earth. Remember when Jesus in his prayer lesson taught let it be on earth as it is in heaven ? This is because where the King is, heaven is present. I do not intend to wait for death to go to heaven when I can enjoy the things of heaven right now. Is this really possible one wonders ? Ask God.
Was having a discussion with my cousin the way people are so mean to the extent that their blessings are locked up. It got me thinking what giving is all about. I have struggled to give all my life. It is not easy because there is some reality we need to grasp. If I have worked so hard and am paid for it, giving from that perspective is a challenge. Mainly because it was hard coming by. The assumption is if everyone works hard then we will not need to give much because everyone has something. Why don’t others put in the work ? Why do I have to be the one giving ? The Bible encourages us not to grow weary of doing good. Giving may be good but I grew weary a long time ago. If it is so good, why is it so tedious ? We are taught that we all have something to give. Is that really true ? I know there are many times I have found myself without a thing to give. What does one do then? It puts one in an awkward situation for as long as one is lacking and needs abound. Meanwhile the discussion got heated with words like how mean, selfish and unwilling we are to open doors to being blessed through the act. Who honestly doesn’t want to give? Of course the reality is some of us are really scrooges at heart. We want to but just can’t do it freely. Which brings to mind the scripture ‘freely you have been given,freely give’. I wonder, what have I been given freely ? When I think about it I have worked for most of what I have. It has not come freely. So I guess I am off the hook for that reason. If one has not been given something freely it is a challenge giving that same thing. I see that look, very judgemental. The Bible hopes we shall see the light just how without we are. Some of us lack love, others lack wisdom ,while others lack health, others it’s physical wholeness, others it’s money and the list is endless. For this reason God longs for it to click in our minds that it is he that is able to provide all our needs. God does not have every thing just for himself, he wants to give us so that we let others know that he has. Does this mean that we can get money freely? Yes. And all things we need. What Jesus did gave us access to stuff only he is worthy of. The deal is too good, but it is true. What is written is not a myth particularly after you have encountered God for yourself and have started enjoying the free things. All my life being given money ended the moment that I got my first work pay. This does not mean I was being given a lot as such, but you get the point. From that I have earned every coin. When I got to know God I realised he is not what I had thought he was. This begun around the time our church started a major funds drive to raise money to construct a visionary complex. Why is it that visionary things are so costly ? We were told to give via faith. I know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I decided to ask God. After sometime he told me (story for another day) to give an amount that was substantial whichever way you look at it. I started thinking how does one source such money just like that? I decided what’s the worst that can happen? I filled a pledge form and sat tight. Do I sell something precious? What to do? It is during this season that I learnt something interesting. If you are the son of a super wealthy and good dad and find yourself having to pledge at a fund raising without consultation how much would you pledge ? You cannot pledge little money if you know who you are in relation to your dad. That’s what begun to go through my mind. If God tells you something you are incapable of He is not hoping you will do your best. He hopes you will trust him to get it done. Would you believe I surrendered the issue just like that. There were days I imagined being summoned by the leadership and me telling them God is taking long, I would then suggest we be patient. Anyway fast forward 2 years, my mums family needed to share her inheritance with her next of kin. Would you believe in my hands fell money more than what I had pledged ? I prayed for another year wondering what it was for. Shows how quickly we forget. By the time I was fulfilling the pledge it was not that difficult. I had done nothing to earn that money. My relatives could have decided not to give this money. It’s from this episode that it dawned on me that God wants us to consistently enjoy free stuff. Also called the stuff of grace. From that time going forward I have enjoyed many free things. Things that I do not deserve. These things are easy to share, after all they are either too many or they have come at an unplanned time. Imagine getting money when you are your brokest. It would be easy to share such. One lesson missing today in church is how to get free things. If one can learn then freely one would give for freely they have been given.
Being a leader is equivalent to being a gate keeper. It is a position of influence where one can decide for or against. In my capacity as a lead volunteer teaching teens and helping my colleagues it goes without saying that I am influential. That can be a good,a bad or a both thing. If I do well, the influence is good. If I don’t do well, then the influence is bad. Being human then means one can have influence that is interpreted differently regardless one’s best efforts. I started out by thinking that the longer one sat under my teaching the better I was getting. Teens is a very interesting group to teach. Every year is unique. There are fast paced ones, packed classes ones, chaotic ones and so on. Never a similar year. That goes to show how differently we behave as individuals or in groups in light of the seasons and unique circumstances. This essentially means most teens for varied reasons are in class for only one year. There are teens that last more than 3 years. These are rare. Mainly because there are so many things changing in and around the lives of this age group. Story for another day. Since there’s such a short time to make an impact what’s the best way of doing it? I have settled on working with the volunteers and helping them grasp what it takes to help teens. Volunteers tend to be around longer than teens. The initial thinking was that if I can control what volunteers have access to then I can control what they teach. As I go along this journey I am learning what my role as gate keeper is. To introduce people to God and leave them to get to know Him for themselves. God does not need me to teach them his stuff. He has plainly indicated that he can, will and is enlightening those in His presence. I have always wondered why Peter and crew were not bothered by the prominence Paul (initially Saul) was enjoying whIle he never spent time with Christ while he was alive. It was because they knew once you met God for yourself the truth shall be revealed. Truth sets us free. I no longer depend on my pastor for counsel but God himself. In fact depending on the plan of God for my life I can become a resource that is sought by the who is who in the church hierarchy. Ideally we are meant to be introduced to God and once we interact with him the freedom we get allows us to venture where we could not. If you look at the new testament there is no one that had a permanent congregation. The leaders were free. Church members too were not expected to remain in one church, they were free to go about God’s work as the Lord saw fit. This has since changed. I heard somewhere that if you want to understand an issue, look for those that benefit most from it. Jesus actually put it very well. The Pharisees being gate keepers were not getting in to God and were not allowing anyone in. In essence they did not know God. How do you usher someone to He you do not know ? Since being a gate keeper is such a privileged position there is no one that would want to be rendered irrelevant. The truth however is as follows. A good gate keeper as far as the things of God is concerned is one that often renders themselves irrelevant. How can I compete with God ? Why would I foolishly want to share in His glory ? Jesus and crew managed what they did because they became irrelevant in view of God’s will. If as a gate keeper my name is mentioned with the same vigour, passion and longing as that of Christ I have not only failed but have done the opposite of Christ. Thinking myself equal to God. We as leaders impose our will on those we lead. Now you know why the church is so powerless. Those that become nameless, nobody and planless for the will of God experience the things of God. God wants there to be a distinct difference between Him and others. That is why he uses foolish things to confound the wise.
If you go to church then you probably know what tithing is. Giving 10% of your income to God to avoid your stuff getting affected by weird circumstances. For this reason I gave for many years. If you would have asked me why I would have said because it’s a requirement. In other words I just had to. The Lord expects us to give cheerfully. How does one give like that when the consequences are laid out ? I did it because I had to. When I had an encounter with this God I realised he wants us to do stuff because our motivation originates from the heart. That’s what faith is. Who wants to give tithe from the heart? Not me. It dawned on me that my giving was pointless because it was heartless. So I stopped giving. During this season God revealed to me many things regarding His provision. I realised there is nothing I have that I was not given. I have been given everything. I am continually being given, every single day. All this is registering in my heart. Please note now I know that I deserve nothing but death and hell. Going by what I deserve then I am already a beneficiary of heavenly things. What now is giving tithe? It’s such a minor requirement in comparison. I give it gladly, cheerfully and consistently. The other day I was debating due to my financial situation after God asked me to buy a car whether I should tithe. It would have meant having money to run me for a week alone. I decided since in my heart I am OK with it, I gave him his. That was a Friday, the Saturday started like a normal day. I met someone that gave me what I needed for the week and went ahead to tell me they would continue with the same every week. This has never happened to me. It’s like I am in a dream, each time I pinch myself I am awake. I know today that God doesn’t want me to give because I have to. I give because I want to, I do so cheerfully. Why continue to give tearfully when you can get to really know him and realise what he did, does and will do for you. What is 10% ?
It has just occurred to me this evening as my wife looks forward to graduating for her masters program tomorrow. I think being dumb is part of the way some people are, read me. I say this because most times we are unable to see the extent to which God goes to make Himself known. Most of us are yet to encounter Him vividly out of the Bible. How do you figure what I am about to write ? She applied and got a scholarship from her then employer. Shortly after that my daughter got a 4 year scholarship that will see her complete her primary school. In the same period my employer paid half my fee for a professional course required for my present role. What do all these things have in common ? I would like to assume there is something special about my family. Sadly we are run of the mill type of people. I can’t think of anything tangible that can point to why this has happened to us all in such a way. The more I think of it the more obvious it becomes that it’s not luck. I do not consider myself the lucky type of person. Being favored has been an unusual phenomenon. Everything seems to have come after hard work. Not this though. What has changed ? Hmmmm ? How would you explain circumstances changing when you had done nothing ? You had not even prayed about it. So can I say I am a beneficiary of good fortune ? Two things stand out for me. The first is reaching a point in my life when I gave up trying to get things done. So much effort with so little to show for it. The second is getting the answer, to what is God usually upto on a daily basis. I was of the school of thought that He was some where in heaven sipping something heavenly as He enjoyed the angelic show. When I asked this question some years ago I was shocked to discover the following. If you want to work for it then it means you are able to. God helps those that are not able. The Bible tries very hard to show that none is able. Humans cannot grasp that truth, hence why we do not experience Him at work. Are you aware there were many blind, lame, deaf etc that never got healed in the time of Jesus Christ? The reason mainly was because they thought they were alright. They were not badly off. The ones the felt they could not continue living unable to enjoy Gods creation, were not ashamed to shout for help. When I discovered how needy I was, that is when I begun to see Him at work. When one is needy they have no option but to wait and trust in the one from whom they have sought help. I have since seen many instances where I have been helped, where my contribution was being present. Just because I was there. It’s very humbling when one is regularly being given stuff by different unrelated people. Do note that the things being given are exactly what I needed at the very moment it was being given. How would you explain that? No, I’m not lucky. I am blessed, by an invisible God that wants me to be a witness of his continuous engagement in not just my life but in the lives of those that have realised that they too are needy.