Influencing change does not need fighting or religion.

There are so many irregularities that an individual may desire to positively change in the environment. All humans have the capacity to change things for the better. The old school of thought, as understood by the so-called revolutionaries, is to initiate the armed struggle. Unfortunately, that method is not influencing anyone, but forcing one’s desires onto those not subscribing to one’s beliefs.

The glaring failures of using armed struggle as vehicle for change are manifest in our Zimbabwean scenario. Some people who participated in the armed struggle have simply succumbed to become oppressors themselves. This prompts the next generations to then seek to repeat the cycle over and over again, leaving no room for positive development.

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The circus repeats itself, whether the initiators of those revolutions remain alive, or nature calls for their demise. The spirit of armed struggle, customized as the only vehicle for change, grips generations, and becomes the norm. This reflects nations reeling under a curse. The glaring truth is that, with the spirit of armed struggle, what is desired can never be achieved.

As a tool to influence change, religion is also similarly unworkable. Those joining religion feel comfortable, but the environment remains with negative effects. While appealing to most people, as opposed to armed struggle, religion does not provide universal solutions. Its purpose is to protect its membership, making it difficult for outsiders to participate and receive similar benefits.

The most appealing example is the story of the Israelites, who, with their religion appeared protected. However, their backsliding was mostly influenced by other nations who did not have the privileges enshrined in the Israelites religion. Both the armed struggle and religion regurgitate the status quo, leaving no hope for future positive development.

Jesus gave a parable typified in yeast, as a leavening agent, affecting large quantities of dough. Though small in quantities, the yeast quietly affects the entire batch by leavening it. The agents of change can also similarly apply leavening principles, to effect change in their own circumstances. Below are characteristics of yeast, as also applicable to the agents of change.

  1. The yeast looks harmless. The dough can never suspect yeast to be threatening, as nothing appears different from the flour. The agent of change is free to associate with those intended to be changed, without posing any threat against them.

  2. The yeast works quietly. The dough never suspects that it got influenced by the existent yeast, when fully leavened. The agent of change does not take credit for influencing change among those targeted for transformation. When done properly, those influenced to change can actually credit themselves, instead.

  3. The yeast does not change to become dough. Regardless of the quantities of dough, yeast can never change to become dough. It is the dough that becomes leavened, instead. The true agents of change are focused towards the goal of implementing change without conforming. They influence change, because of the attractive benefits inherent with purpose for change. Those being changed simply appreciate being leavened.

  4. The yeast expands under pressure. One of the purposes of yeast is to cause the dough to puff up, when heated. The agent of change becomes more effective and expands where there is pressure. An agent of change cannot be intimidated into ineffective silence. The more he/she is under pressure of opposition, the more effective he/she becomes in effecting change.

  5. Yeast is useless in its own package. Without anything to leaven, yeast is useless, as its role is basically, to leaven the dough. If the agents of change prefer to do nothing, they never change anything. They need to associate with those in need of change, so as to influence them. Otherwise they remain irrelevant.

Paul revealed that he applied the characteristics of yeast in his ministry:

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all; that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being under the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) (ESV).

As humans, we are all caught up in a trap, unable to extricate ourselves. It had to be the miracle of Jesus to give us hope. Having become like one of us, Jesus brought principles which, unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge, the trapped ones cannot take advantage.

The most effective tools are revealed in His instruction on how to pray. The method of prayer that Jesus recommended is very simple. But it is the only effective method in handling all problems of the world. This applies, particularly, where the petitioner states: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Having granted God permission, the petitioner will then be used in promoting God’s Kingdom. The will of God would then permeate through that petitioner, to effect positive change. Using the principle of leavening, there is no need to take credit, but to silently influence others for positive change.

The real foes of God’s Kingdom comprise those hijacking the Bible for religious purposes. So appealing is religion that anyone advocating for methods as revealed in the parable of leaven, gets disqualified. Religious advocates take comfort in religious structures, with dos and don’ts to the adherents, unhelpful to those unattached to their system. The adherents feel very comfortable in religiosity, thereby, also unwilling to associate with outsiders, viewed as infidels.

The religious people treat Jesus’ prayer model as “The Lord’s Prayer” possibly, to show ‘reverence’ to Jesus? But I suppose they consider this prayer model as lacking significance to ordinary Christians?  Instead, they recommend other fanciful methodologies in prayer, depending on denomination concerned. Such methods appeal to ordinary people, who are also encouraged to give tithes, for the organization to remain formidable. Such organizations look healthy and dignified to ordinary people. But all this is not effective in bringing the required change in the environment.

This describes the status quo in the Christian world, incapacitated to change anything. Like the armed struggle, religion regurgitates itself without positive development. The circus repeats itself, whether the proponents of religion remain alive, or nature calls for their demise.

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What Jesus advocated, through the parable of the leaven, is highly effective. But Christians might still not take advantage of it. The characteristics of leaven, as affecting the dough is opposite of what appeals to the religious people. There is no honor in yeast as a leavening agent. The dough may be puffed up, but the yeast itself does not change its qualities, except to leaven the dough.

The most unfortunate thing about Christianity is that one cannot highlight these wrongs without inviting missiles from the affected ones. Jesus, Himself revealed that there would be weeds among Christians (Matthew 13:29-30). He also revealed that only the truth sets people free (John 8:32). But, obviously, those benefiting from such treacheries cannot be expected to take kindly to such revelations.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99

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