Christianity and Society

Great Lesson from the Life of Apostle Andrew

How should we react to our fellow Christians who are more gifted and God, out of his grace, chooses to use them more than us? This question lingered in my mind as I reflected on the life of Andrew one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.

According to the Gospel by John, Andrew and John were the first people to join Jesus’ ministry. Later on Andrew brought his elder brother, Peter to join the ministry too (1:35-42). In no time, Peter acquired a leading role among the apostles of Christ. When Jesus decided to form his inner circle, he opted for Peter John and James leaving Andrew out.

Apostle  Andrew could have been bitter and developed resentment toward the chosen three.  He would have even also challenged Jesus: “What’s wrong with you Master? Why leaving an old-timer like me and picking up younger James who has just joined the ministry recently to be in your inner circle?”

Surprisingly, however, Andrew was content to serve Christ in whatever capacity despite being the first person to join Jesus’ ministry. We don’t even read a lot about Andrew in the Bible. It seems that what  mattered most to Apostle Andrew was serving God faithfully. He cared little who got the credit or prominence.

This is what we need in the Church today. Sometimes, we fight for positions and roles of influence forgetting that it is not the positions that matter most rather it is our faithful service to Christ that pleases God most.

We also learn from Andrew that when people more gifted than us come from behind and acquire leading roles, we ought not to fuss about it. As long as Christ gets the glory, all is well.

Christianity and Society

When Christians disagree…

Some people find it strange when Christians disagree. However, I tend to differ. Honestly, most of the times, I am not taken aback to see or hear Christians disagreeing except in a few cases when one clearly sees that God has been completely thrown out of the whole issue.

Christian squabbles don’t surprise me much because although Christians are saved and forgiven there are not perfect and there shall never be in this world. This is in no way condoning sin. God hates sin and we ought to hate it too. I strongly believe that Christians should always live a godly life. Nevertheless, it is a fact that sometimes we don’t. Let me not digress too much. The main issue here is about disagreements among or between Christians.

The story of Apostle Paul and Barnabas will help deliver my point home. These two Christians were greatly used by God.  They first met in Jerusalem when Paul had just become a Christian. While some were running away whenever they saw Paul because they could not believe that Paul had really changed, Barnabas accepted him and brought Paul before the Apostles and assured them that Paul was indeed a new creature in Christ.

The bond of friendship between the two grew stronger and even God was happy. No wonder the Holy Spirit chose the two to go and preach the gospel together in various countries outside Jerusalem (Acts 13:2). During their first trip on this mission, Barnabas took his cousin, John Mark along. As they continued to preach Christ in various countries, John Mark decided to return home before the trip had finished. Probably, John Mark could not stand the challenges that were being met in preaching Christ like being stoned or ridiculed or imprisoned. This act of young Mark did not go well with Paul.

Later on, when they decided to go back and revisit the churches they had planted in their first missionary trip, Paul advised Barnabas not to take John Mark with them again. But Barnabas insisted. This created a disagreement between the two. The Bible puts it that the two had “a sharp disagreement” (Acts 15:39) hence they parted ways. Not good for Christians, uh?

I am sure the people who witnessed or heard about this commented like: “How can Christians disagree?” It is indeed sad that the two Christians failed to agree. But wait a minute! This is not the end of the story.

In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul writes, “Get John Mark and bring him…because he is very helpful to my ministry.”

Can you please come again, Paul. Have I heard you right? I thought you disagreed and parted ways with Barnabas because you didn’t like John Mark. Why this change of heart?

Of course, we don’t have a record of the reconciliation between Paul and Barnabas anywhere in the Bible, but I have no doubts that the two reconciled and buried their differences. I hope you have now got my point. Christians are not perfect but when they disagree, you can be assured that reconciliation is inevitable.  Ask Barnabas Paul, and John Mark.

Christianity and Society

A word for our president

Today, I would like to write our president Mrs. Joyce Banda. First, I would like to congratulate her for becoming the fourth president of Republic of Malawi.

Perhaps, the president will read this blog. I would like also to share with her one thing that has bothered me over the years in regards to how we treat our presidents.  We, sometimes, tend to exalt them to the level of God.

I have seen and heard the previous presidents been given names which belong to God alone. We have equated them with Jesus by referring to them as Messiah or Savior or Mose wa Lero.  Biblically and theologically, Moses was a shadow or pro-type of Jesus Christ hence ‘today’s Moses’ is Christ.

I would like to ask our president to refuse such titles if any of us will give her one. It’s sad that often it’s Christians who give such names to the president. I appeal to my fellow Christians to give to God what belongs to God and to Caeser what belongs to Caesar. Never take what is God’s and give it to man.

God can never share his glory with mortal man for he says, “My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11). Scripture also says “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen (Rev. 7:12).

Christianity and Society

My Random Thoughts on Death of Bingu and Rise to Power of Banda

On Thursday, April 5, 2012 the then president of Malawi Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika passed on after experiencing cardiac arrest. Later on Saturday, April , 2012, the then Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda was sworn in as a President of Malawi by the Chief Justice, His Lordship Lovemore Munlo. No one, except God, knew that these things will happen. Again, God showed us that He is sovereign over His creation and no one can second guess Him.  What Apostle Paul wrote about God in Romans 11:33-36 is very true:

 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.

After I heard the news of the passing on of Mutharika, I, just like most Malawians, have keenly followed the developments that have occurred since then.  A couple of thoughts have entered my mind.

First, I, strongly, believe that God loves the nation of Malawi in a special way. Going by media reports, some individual fought hard to violate the constitution of Malawi so that Banda should not become the president. However, their plans never came to fruition and all Malawians witnessed the rule of law prevailing in the land as Joyce Banda was sworn in as President.  I don’t believe that this just happened but God being in control, he guided the events in our country to be what they are today. To Him alone be the glory indeed!

Secondly, my thoughts go to Her Excellency Joyce Banda. This should be a very difficult time for her as she has a huge pile of decisions to make in order to propel our country out of the current quagmire of problems to better days.  Just to remind you. The President has to appoint a new cabinet. She, therefore, has a challenging task of choosing selfless people to serve our nation. She has to appoint people who will put the agenda of turning around the problems of our country before their own personal gains. Believe you me, such people are hard to find since the heart is deceiving above all things. Some might appear very good people who love the country, but deep down their hearts, they harbor selfish plans and are mere opportunists not true servants of the people.

Apart from this challenge, the country is in a very serious economic crisis. We are facing forex, fuel and drug shortages. The cost of living is rising almost every day. Our record of human rights has been worsening. There has been bad governance in the country and the rule of law has in some cases been comprised. Our relationship with most international donors and neighboring countries is not cordial.

Now,  addressing these challenges is not easy. Some will even take longer to be sorted out. No matter how wise and knowledgeable Banda can be, she cannot solve these challenges without the guidance and help of the Lord. Therefore, this calls for us Christian to spring into action and continually pray for her that God should guide and lead her.

We should pray that God should give her the courage to take even those difficult actions that in the end will improve our situation for the better .  As a matter of fact, our responsibility to pray for our leaders is very clear in Scripture:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

We should pray for President Banda that power should not corrupt her to become insensitive to the suffering of Malawians due to careless and selfish decisions of the government.  We should pray that in all things she should trust in the Lord with all her heart and not lean on her own understanding  and that in everything she should acknowledge the Lord so that He can make her path straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Thirdly, my thoughts go to the former first lady, Callista Mutharika and the entire family of late Bingu wa Mutharika. This is, no doubt, a very hard time. They have lost a husband, a father, a grandparent, a brother, an uncle and what have you.

As this is not enough, there have been some people, especially politicians, who were very close to late Bingu who have deserted the family during this time when the family needs them most. It should be very painful seeing those whom you thought were true friends to your relative deserting you because the relative is no more.

Despite whatever bad things that the late Mutharika did, as Christians we are supposed to mourn with family. By mourning with them, we are not approving the bad things rather we are carrying out our responsibilities as God’s children to “rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).

So, we should pray that God should comfort the family when some of the close friends of the late Bingu are deserting the bereaved family. Above all, we can pray that God, in his grace, should help the family focus their attention on Jesus rather than on man because man can and will always disappoint, but Jesus never disappoints.  Although the context might be different but I believe the Psalmist put it better when he said:

Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me (Psalm 27:10).

These are some of my random thoughts on the passing on of late Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika and the ascension into the office of president of Malawi by Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda. God bless our land of Malawi and continue to keep it a land of peace. Amen!