“I want to be a doctor.“
“I want to be a pilot.”
“Teacher. Me me. I want to become an engineer.”
It just seems like yesterday. The buzz and hype of the classroom as we discussed matters to do with our future careers of choice. Right here was a primitive yet archetypal display on how much value our world places on significance. We all were probably influenced into speaking out these careers because, in our tiny worlds, we felt they were the most important; the most heroic.
“I love daddy. My daddy is the greatest. I want to be like daddy. What does daddy do? He is a businessman. I want to be a businessman,” we probably thought.
Interestingly, none of us ever thought of picking teaching. Maybe we had a negative association thanks to tonns of homework and multiple strokes of the cane. Maybe.
I miss this life stage of imitation. We were thoroughly exploited into studying and being alert in class by being told that we needed to work hard in class to become what we dreamed of becoming. Even if it was being a mkokoteni “driver”. We still had to be beaten to get above 80 percent to become that.
Anyway, getting back to significance. We celebrate success. We applaud extraordinary achievements.
“That guy is 24 years old and already has a PhD.”
“That fellow got a perfect score on his SATs”
“This was the first African to win a Nobel Price.”
“This guy is still an excellent minister of The Word at 90 years of age.”
We reward focus, intellect, resilience, nurtured talent, and all that goes ahead to become peculiar and stand out from the masses with remembrance. And who wouldn’t love to be remembered for being outstanding for generations to come?
Yet there’s a group of people we also reward. I call them the “silent killers”. (I know. I know. It’s a name that sounds a bit cliché. But bear with me until we get a better name. 😁)
“He stood by me when everybody else left.”
“She has raised me to be the man I am today.”
“He always let’s me bug him. He never complains.”
These individuals are frankly easily ignored, assumed or taken for granted. Yet when we take time think about them more deeply, we realise they are more significant to us than the Nobel Prize winner.
I once read a WhatsApp post which stated that nobody seems to care about you in this life unless you are rich or beautiful. Quite frankly this person has a point. Yet the point is not entirely true. While significance matters a lot, there is a simple act here a simple act there that instantly makes you a great person, a hero, in someone’s world while you remain a “nobody” to everyone else. It’s the little things that matter, or so I’m told.
Shifting to the season at hand…
In Exodus 33:17, God was pleased with Moses and He knew him by name. Boy oh boy! Today I had the most eerie thought of God’s love for us. Do you have those moments where you meet someone familiar in town, or wherever, and he or she greets you by your name and you just can’t remember his or hers? This scenario is usually aggravated when the person doesn’t look familiar at all!
Well, this festive season we are celebrating a “global celebrity”. I mean who doesn’t identify with the person of Jesus Christ. Thanks to the Spirit that spoke through my man, Raphael Orato, I wonder; supposing Christ was still alive today and He is having a modern lecture on signs and wonders where he’s transformed 2 slices of bread and a glass of water into pizzas, burgers and soft drinks; how would it feel if He, all of a sudden, called out your name and the crowd fell silent? Even if it was just to acknowledge your presence.
Cloud nine alert! I think the following year I’d probably be an MCA and head 10 committees and 16 boards, both nationally and globally.
Yet that’s how personal He is with us. Amidst all the jubilation and chapatis and miscellaneous proteinaceous meals doing rounds on the African table in celebratory remembrance of His birth, He identifies with us who have confessed Him and has called us by name. John 10:14-15.
Yet, interestingly, regardless of His significance both in Heaven and on earth. (Philippians 2:10) He choses the approach of a “silent killer”. Think of it like meeting a significant person at some conference after losing your job or watching your company undergo sabotage. You interact, talk, laugh, share ideas, laugh some more and exchange contacts. The next day when you mention this to your buddies they can’t help but wallow and swim in your ignorance before later educating you. Letting you know that this guy is no ordinary guy.
Christ chose quite a similar approach (Philippians 2:5-8) and continues to do so even today (Revelation 3:20).
Yet the one thing I find most interesting about this approach is that it seems to “mask” out an even greater drive behind it. Psalm 103:11. As far as the heavens are from the earth so great is His love for us.
To bring the message closer home, think of this highly introverted young man who’s constantly eyeing this young lady.
Shifting to Swahili…
Mapenzi yamsumbua. Analala. Anakula. Hata hivyo, mawazo yake hayaondoki kutoka binti huyu.
He is fond of her. He thinks highly of her. He fancies her. His focus is on her.
All this and much more is summed up by a simple act. He knows her name. He occasionally says, “Hi!” and maybe gives an occasional compliment. Yet, oh, if only she would be his. If only. What does he need to do? What level of sacrifice must he go ahead to undertake that she may notice him?
Friends this is The Man we are celebrating. He keeps on doing great things. Some very personal. He keeps on interceding for us out of His own volition. He loves us.
Accepting His love and living it out is all He calls us to do. As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our sins our inadquecies, our imperfections from us. Psalm 103:12. He has given us a new name: sons of God. We have the opportunity of sharing an inheritance with Him. An inheritance of His Kingdom. John 1:12. Romans 8:17.
Friends. This is the real deal. This is living. Celebrate Him, but also embrace Him. Soli deo gloria.