Isn’t it amazing to realise that we have come to the last quarter of 2019? The days have flown by and we find ourselves trying to take stock of the first nine months of the year. In these parts, this is the time where gloom sets in. Unrealised dreams, unfulfilled promises, dashed hopes. Everything comes to the fore. For some however, it is a happy season. They have a lot to show for the first nine months and are rejoicing at God’s goodness.
Jesus gave many descriptions or examples of hypocrisy, as was practiced by the scribes and the Pharisees. My example was one of them. Going through Matthew Chapter 23, there are a lot of those examples. The first one was the one that applied to me, found in verse 4:
‘For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers’
One thing is clear: being an African woman most likely guarantees that you will be demeaned, maltreated, considered less and be less appreciated and more prone to abuse than other women and other human beings in the world. It is the combination of two factors that individually qualify you for discrimination: being a woman first of all, then being an African. Like the saying goes, ‘It’s a man’s world’. Secondly, in almost all African traditions, the woman is considered to be less than the man, and that is putting it very mildly.
I was recently going through an old journal of mine, written over eleven years ago and found this interesting portion, which I decided to share today.
She was too stunned to think. She didn’t know what to do to stop him and tried to evade his blows, without success.
He kept shouting at the top of his voice and attacking her. When she lost her balance and fell, she remembered that the steward was around and started shouting at the top of her voice.
He looked around to be sure everything was going well, before heading to his designated table to have dinner. The band leader chose that moment to change the beat and started playing a very upbeat tune, a mixture of afrobeat and pop, very African. Out of the corner of his eye, the captain noticed a couple at the next table get up to join the dancing couples on the floor. He did not pay much attention and continued with his meal. It had been like any other trip and he was glad that it was ending uneventfully, especially as his experience had taught him that anything could happen at sea. He had learnt never to heave the sigh of relief until the last passenger had safely disembarked.
This is where our diligent stewardship comes up. The excuse that we were not taught will not bail us out on the final day. Neither will the fact that we attended a liberal church have any bearing. We have the Holy Spirit within us. We have the word of God.
Today, I invite us to live! God has deemed it fit to remove knowledge of the time of death from us. However, He has always enjoined us to live. Jesus said, ‘The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’. John 10:10
Modern civilization discounts the existence of God and His power and control of the universe. To many, God does not exist. If he did, why would there be so much evil on the earth? Why would evil people get away with the bad things they do? Why do heartbreaking things happen to good people? Why is the earth seemingly out of control, with major disasters happening in many places, people suffering, people dying unnecessarily? Where is God in all this?
He definitely wants us to lean on Him and depend on Him fully, irrespective of our circumstances. Our dependence is evidence of our faith and reliance. It says that we need Him. And because we need Him, we will seek Him, and with all our heart. And when we do this, we find Him, and He is pleased with us.