6 min read
Most employees are among the most narcissistic people on the face of the earth. I can count with my fingers the number of employees I’ve met that are joyful and grateful for their employers and the companies and organizations they work for. When I listen to employers, business leaders, and small business owners, the constant gripe they have is with employees who are unresponsive and unproductive.
Initially, when an employee joins a company, she might radiate gracefulness and joy, but as time goes by, she gets captured by the company’s culture, her joy dissipates and she becomes angry and bitter. Not long after, her performance starts to dip and red flags are raised. She blames everyone but herself – it’s the tools, economy, spouse, kids, government, politicians, traffic, lack of exercise and the blame game goes on and on. She takes on the management team. Her friends think she is political. Her “frankness” makes her bosses overlook her for promotion and bonuses. Truth be told, she is not good at her job and eventually, she is fired or resigns. She looks for another employer hoping this time around things will be different. In her new job, the cycle continues. Different place, same old faces.
I always listen with anguish when I hear employees who identify as Christian bash their employers. A few years back, the employee was jobless, others in her situation would do anything to get some work, any work, but here she is.
So, if this person is a Christian, I always try to point them to the gospel of grace.
Here’s how I do it.
Continue reading “How to pray for your employer”
6 min read
Esau, Isaac’s older son, is slick. He is skilled. He studied in one of the world’s elite universities. He travels all over the world signing big deals. He is a gym buff. His body makes ladies drool – you should see his calves. He is single. Oh, yes, red meat for the ladies. Everyone wants to hang out with him. He is a cool dude. He is the apple of his father’s eyes. When he is in town, he takes his father to five-star Michelin restaurants. To get a table in these restaurants, you need to book six months in advance. He knows a few people. He can pull some strings. No big deal. He is a man of action. He is a man’s man.
Esau has a brother. His name is Jacob. Jacob is a quiet guy who loves to stay at home with his mum. We rarely see him in public. That’s all we know about Jacob.
One day, Esau comes home after his long travels abroad, exhausted and hungry. He finds Jacob in the kitchen cooking a sumptuous vegan stew. It seems Jacob is vegan. “Hey J, give me some that of that. I’m starving”. The bible tells us at this point his name changed to Edom. “Dude”, Jacob, his quiet brother replies, “sell me your birthright”. Esau hesitates. His hunger pangs grow louder. “C’mon J, I can’t give you that. You know I’m the eldest son. Dad would kill me”. Jacob gives him a blank look. “Dude”, he says, “sell me your birthright or you aren’t having my vegan stew”. Esau hesitates but gives in. “Okay, okay, I will. Here’s my plate. Quick”. “Not that quickly”, Jacob replies. “Let’s shake hands. This agreement is as good as death. Cool?” “Okay, okay. Here’s my hand. Shake it quickly. I’m starving”. Esau swears to Jacob and gives him his birthright. Jacob serves Esau his vegan dish. Esau eats, drinks and off he goes. By this act, Esau had despised his birthright.
What is a birthright?
Continue reading “Jesus won for us what Esau lost”
6 min read
The book of Job has a happy ending. The proverbial “they lived happily ever after” comes through. Job’s suffering ends, and he is blessed with more than he had before. He gets a family. His daughters are the most beautiful in the land. He gives them an inheritance, something unknown in the ancient world. In the ancient world, only the eldest son got the inheritance. So here we see Job, a very progressive man in ancient times. Job lived long enough to see his great, great, great, great-grandkids. (Job 42:12-16)
But as he suffered, he had these three foolish friends who gave him advice on why bad things were happening to him. Apart from the young man, Elihu, the rest, elderly men were just wrong. At the end of the book of Job, God appears, he is angry at them. My anger burns against you and against your two friends, God says to Eliphaz. For you didn’t speak what is right to Job. (Job 42:7-8) God is livid.
God gets angry? An irreligious person may ask. This idea that God gets angry is offensive to those who believe God is only loving. The same people cannot reconcile how God should deal with evil and injustice. How should God deal with unrepentant paedophiles, wife beaters, mass murderers, despots and the like? They turn themselves inside out trying to explain how God should deal with the problem of evil and injustice.
Why shouldn’t God be angry? A God who doesn’t get angry at injustice is not loving. This is a senile old man, an indifferent being. I will not in a million year’s worship or obey this God. Never. God gets angry because he is love and he loves. In a recent TV advert, the voice-over artist says this of Chef Gordon Ramsey, the foul-mouthed, award-winning chef, “he is only angry because he cares”. Even advertising companies know this to be true.
Continue reading “Why God accepts us despite our foolishness”
4 min read
Abraham and Sarah are old, like really old. God appears to Abraham and tells him the most ridiculous thing ever. You will have a son. Abraham bursts out laughing. Like Abraham really laughs until he collapses on the floor. Like seriously, Lord? Are you for real? Nah, you are joking. Do you know how old I am? Have you seen Sarah lately? Dude, Sarah is old, like old. Everything with her has gone south. Are you kidding me? Abraham informs God (God rolls his eyes) that he already has a son. Why do you need to give me another one? I have this one. Where is he? Bring him here? God tells Abraham, Nah, this one will not be your heir. Isaac the son I will give to you will. (Genesis 17:15-22)
The same Abraham had thirteen years before slept with his maid to satisfy Sarah’s whims. A passive man and adulterer. Many years preceding this event, he had conspired with his ‘sister’ to lie to Pharaoh. God gave Abraham a sinner made righteous a promise, a magnanimous promise.
Sometime later, God appears to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham is savvy enough to know these aren’t the usual guests. He says to Sarah quick make some roti (chapati) and let me get the young man to make some beef curry. They make the dishes and serve the guests. Like a butler, Abraham stands silently as his guests eat. As they eat, the main guest asks where Sarah is. Sarah is in the tent, eavesdropping. The guest says to Abraham, next time this year, Sarah, your wife will have a son. Unlike Abraham, Sarah laughs within herself. “Like I am old, but have you seen Abraham? Can I even enjoy making love? I am too old for such things”, Sarah laughs. The laugh wasn’t audible, but God heard it. Why did Sarah laugh? The guest asks Abraham. Is anything too difficult for the Lord to do? But Sarah denies it, making her a liar. (Genesis 18:1-15)
Sarah doubts, is a liar and thirteen odd years before she made Abraham sleep with Hagar and give her a son. Years preceding this incident, she was a co-conspirator with her husband when they lied to Pharaoh. Sarah is a sinner indeed.
Continue reading “Is your God big enough to handle your doubts?”
5 min read
Genesis 12:1, now the Lord said to Abram. Who is this Abram? Let me tell you. He is the firstborn of Terah. The family is from Ur and they are idol worshippers. His family has family idols. They pay homage and offer sacrifices to these idols. Every family has one or more idols. The Lord, Yahweh, speaks to this idolater. We have to take a pit stop and address this.
The Christian faith is notorious for showcasing instances where God spoke to and spoke with people of dubious character. Murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves, schemers, fearmongers, doubters and the like. A good Christian shouts, God is holy, God is righteous. God only deals with people who are righteous and holy as he is. I ask, then please explain how he spoke to Abram and idolater. He spoke to Cain after he had killed his brother and promised to protect him. The good Christian fumbles and look for the exit sign. God speaks to sinners. This is a shocking truth even to me who believes the gospel of grace. I know I’m a sinner. Fact. But that God speaks to me, that’s just not right.
Continue reading “The God who defends willful sinners”
5 min read
A young man speaks up in Job’s conversations with his friends. Job’s friends, elderly and experienced, had spoken first. They had given Job advice on why he was suffering. Much of it is accusations and false assumptions, but elderliness gives them sway. This young man has been holding his breath all the while. He speaks up. Burning with anger, he rages poetic; I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on. I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst! I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers. I won’t play favourites or try to flatter anyone. For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me. (Job 32:18-22 NLT)
The young man then rebukes Job for his self-righteousness and then rebukes the older friends for falsely accusing Job. This was a bold move in a culture where the elderly were held in high esteem, their words unvarnished. This young man had some balls, we would say.
Job is me when bad things happen. When bad things happen to me, I quickly look at my performance. Have I been good? Have I been bad? If I’ve been good, why are these things happening? Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, right?
This young man could not take it. Yoh Job, you are wrong, and I will show you why. For God is greater than any human being. (Job 33:12 NLT)
A detour of sorts…
Continue reading “If you are suffering, get yourself this friend ASAP”
6 min read
Obama, Obama, Obama. This man elicits highly charged responses depending on which side of the racial, spiritual and political divide one stands. He is the world’s most ignorant leader according to some, or the smartest we have ever seen on the international stage in our generation. He is antichrist to some and a Christian, even a saint to others. He is highly divisive to some and a uniting force to others. With Obama, there is no neutral ground. He is like marmite. You love him or hate him to bits.
My Christian brother has a very obvious stance on Obama. He likes him as a person, his charm and intelligence and is vehemently opposed to his ideas. As you can gather, he is a conservative and Obama is a liberal, and as usual, these two don’t see eye to eye on a wide range of issues. Obviously then, Trump is his man. Although he doesn’t highly rate his Christianity, Trump has kept his word and fulfilled his campaign promises. For this reason, Trump’s misnomers are just shrugged off. In his own words, “When I see him pull off one of his crazy moves I just scratch my head, shake my head and move on!!”. He continues, “I’d rather have a flawed man who makes a fool of himself in front of the whole world acknowledging God than a polished, smart, politically correct democrat that will be used to unleash wickedness in the land”.
A point my Christian brother made repeatedly was that I loathed Trump and at some point, I had to refute it. I don’t loathe Trump. Loathing Trump would be going against a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith, love. I repeatedly emphasized the point that it doesn’t bode well for the church when we support Obama or Trump, that the Christian faith stands above politics and politicians.
Our back and forth was about how leaders with Christian convictions should lead in the marketplace—marketplace being anywhere else apart from the church. So this was my response.
Continue reading “On Obama and leadership”
3 min read
My conversation with my Christian brother continues here…
You posed these three questions.
- Do you believe in Christians running for public office including the highest office in the country?
- If you do, would you vote for one?
- What would you expect them to do while in office?
My answers to the above questions are Yes, and No. Let me explain.
YES, if the person running will espouse Christian values and ethics that will benefit ALL THE PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY ARE. IF they will serve ALL THE PEOPLE AND NOT JUST CHRISTIANS, THEN YES.
NO, AND A BIG NO, if the person running for office is doing so just because he/she is a Christian. If being Christian is the reason they are vying for office, no. If their intention is to only serve Christians and disparage or discriminate against other people, then a BIG FAT NO IS MY VOTE.
In the event I vote for a Christian, I would expect this Christian leader to SERVE ALL THE PEOPLE. To serve Christians and non-Christians alike. To serve pro-choice and pro-life citizens. To serve gay and straight citizens. To serve Muslims, Hindus, Christians and atheists alike. To serve the rich, middle class and poor. To serve capitalists, socialists, and communists. To serve Democrats and Republicans and libertarians alike. To serve Black, White, Indian, Coloured, Latino, Asian, and immigrants alike.
This is challenging for Christians to practice in non-Christian spaces.
Continue reading “On Christians and Political Leadership”
3 min read
My conversation with my Christian brother continues here…
The tone of my response sounds formal because of the nature and manner of our correspondence. Usually, I prefer a more approachable, friendlier and open tone but that wasn’t the case this time. I hope you get the gist of the post.
Here we go
In my previous engagement with you, I used the term APPEAL. Influence is the term you have used, and it works. Yes, just like salt savours and preserves dishes (Matthew 5:13) or yeast causes the dough to rise (Matthew 13:33), Christians have the resources and mandate to influence our culture. Yes, we do!
This, however, cannot and shouldn’t be confused with IMPOSING our moral values on the culture. Our influence, like salt and yeast, works within and is invisible—this is how we influence culture. How the Christian faith influences public policy is not by wielding power but by an influence that is silent and invisible. Every other faith and worldview shout from the rooftop about its plans, how it wants to dominate the earth. The Christian faith, however, whispers within the corridors of power and most importantly influences men’s hearts. Every time we shout about our influence, we blow our cover. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:1-3?
Continue reading “On how the Christian faith influences the world”
4 min read
For some years now, I’ve developed a habit of reading through the whole bible. I formed this habit out of the rediscovery of the gospel of grace. I heard these words from several people, that “the bible is all about Jesus”, and these words ignited a desire in me to read this ancient text to find out if what they told me was true. It is true. The bible, this ancient text is all about Jesus.
This year, I got myself a new bible and begun following a bible reading plan. If you are interested, I use the Olive Tree app. The app has several bible reading plans. I use the Chronological plan. This plan helps you to move through the bible in chronological order—according to recent historical research as the order of events occurred. I enjoy it. Try it.
Genesis 1-3 was my first reading of the year. Genesis 1:22 reads and God blessed them. Them? Swarms of living creatures in the waters and the birds of the sky.
Vs 28 and God blessed them and said to them. Them? Adam—a general term for humankind. By this time, Eve wasn’t there yet. So, in a generic sense, God blesses all humankind—Adam.
What did God say over them?
Genesis 1:28 NLT
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
As usual, some words give me an itch I have to scratch. The word blessed is such. The Hebrew word for blessed is barak, which means lightning (noun). Its verb form means to kneel, be adored, to lavish with praise and affection.
Continue reading “God’s barak over you in 2020.”