Thomas Hobbes described the life of man as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. – Leviathan (1651). I believe it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe it can be full, open, happy and meaningful. For that though, I need to tell you one thing:
You live for others! You live for others! The only time you become relevant, the only time your existence has a meaning is the time when you serve.
Success is not sum of your personal accomplishments, but the number of people who have been blessed by your actions.
This, sadly, is becoming increasingly hard, in a world full of fences, bars, locks, firewalls and boarders; both physical and mental:
The words ‘stressed’ or ‘busy’ or ‘uncomfortable’ are egocentric, materialistic concepts designed to insulate you into a depressing loneliness, that will enable your only ‘true’ friends: ‘Nakumat’, ‘DSTV’, ‘MTN’, ‘Mac book pro’ and the ‘Great church of salvation’ to save you from boredom, depression and hell.
They cannot make you uncomfortable or stressed, so you think, because you have control over their behaviour. You can scan through TV channels, you can go in and out of a supermarket; sign in and out of a website; you can ‘friend’ or ‘unfriend’ anyone; you can change churches whenever you want…
In fact the opposite is true; they have control over you – you are addicted. How many times do you go on twitter to check if you have a new follower? How many times do you check the amounts of likes you have on your facebook post? How many hours do you spend watching television, even though you know you should be reading or resting? How many times you buy something in the supermarket and later realize you didn’t need it?
Then there is the church. The place where you go and listen to how great your life is about to become. Where people smile at you, hug you and wish you blessings and good fortune…
How many friends, family and needy people have you not visited in a long time because you had church service, choir rehearsal, prayer cell? Where you won’t visit your keen, because you can’t miss the sermon of the guest pastor; pastors; from Rwanda, Nigeria, USA, etc.; all telling you how you are the chosen one, and what grand plans God has for you, so long as you stick with them and give all your possessions to their church.
Jesus said: go out there and give all you have to the poor, not come in here and give it all to me. He never said if you stay with me you would be rich; he said it would be difficult for a rich to enter the kingdom of God, than a Camel to go through the eye of a needle.
He never looked suave, dashingly dressed or perfumed; he looked poor, humble, he had only one dress and a pair of sandals – Ghandi style! He never gave himself titles and attended mundane banquets in company of the privileged. Even though he was the prince of peace, the Son of God, he surrounded himself with humble fishermen, dined with prostitutes and the plagued, wined with the widows and orphans.
The reason for that is because he had plenty, he was gracious and generous. When you went to him, you didn’t give him anything, you received; not only blessing, but you received food, wine and healing: all for free! He never begged, he offered; there was no price for prayer or salvation.
So he didn’t need to con people; telling them to give him so that he can give to others; a scheme, churches seem to have mastered: ’please help our ministry support this, or that cause’ – they preach.
People should go out there and give to the needy, not give to the church first, so the church can give – that’s too much transactional cost. Church goers should visit the sick and help out – Solid Africa style; not trust pastors to visit the sick on their behalf; what version of the bible is that?!
This is why for many; charity is limited to giving to the church. They do not visit the sick or help the needy; they prefer going to church, make ‘generous’ offerings, look up and repeat to God that they love him twenty times, then go home and close the gates behind them.
God doesn’t need your love as much as the next guy. God is the creator of the universe and everything in it; you, a grain of sand in that universe; a drop of water in an endless sea, which is also a drop of water in another endless sea and so on. What do you think you can do for God? I, you want to help out, you can do for me, you can for her; other grains of sand like yourself. The Almighty God doesn’t need your help!
The guy selling you God has just found your weak spot, he is tapping into your fears, your confusion, and whispering in your ear exactly what you want to hear. It is not so much that he understands God; he understands you! He knows how to suck the maximum money from you, he is a charlatan.
Look I am no preacher. So without belabouring further, here is how I worked it out for myself: My answer to all: Love! Every action, every story, every politics that you hear, check it against the ‘love benchmark’
Accordingly, if your pastor tells you that other people, other churches are bad; he is sinning against the love benchmark. If you are about to pose an action or say something, think about love in the grand scheme of things and see if your action fits.
There are actions of love, actions of hate and actions that are useless:
– If you give money to your church; if you love your friends, your family, your pastor, your churchgoers. That is useless; If you go to church everyday and tell God that you love him so much: that is useless too.
– If you do not visit or help out people because you are too busy or tired or uncomfortable, or that you have a prayer to attend, that is hate.
Now, if you love your enemies, help out total strangers, say good things about people who hate you, accept people who are different from you; people that you don’t understand; If you share, not only your money, but your space and your time; if you love and spend time with people from other churches, other religions, other countries, other races, other class; now that is Love! Then you don’t need to tell God that you love him; he’ll already know…
Posted 27th November 2014