This life is very short, profitable, only to those living to answer the distinctive question: “In all my toiling on this planet have most people been glad that I lived?” Indeed, happy are those whose answer is affirmative, to this, seemingly, unpopular question.
The majority of our people appear as living to satisfy themselves. Very few people consider the inward viewpoint, or self-centeredness to be the cause of all problems. The suffering masses are engrossed in the idea of living to satisfy self, rather than serving other people. The purpose of attending school and college graduation is always aimed at living a good life.
Religion is the most attractive refuge for most ordinary people of this world. Ordinary people feel secure, as long as belonging to some religion. But, nothing releases people from problems, as long as failing to appreciate that problems are a result of failure to take responsibility.
The game of life needs those participating in it to appreciate that anything appearing as wrong, is a result of inaction. Religion and tradition give false protection, thereby hypnotizing some people to even fight against progress. The target is always the progressive people.
It seems as if one attracts enemies when doing the right thing, rather than when doing the wrong thing. Jesus was killed for doing the right thing. Also, the only reason why the apostles were victimized and brutally killed in the first century was doing the right thing.
The simplicity of capturing what is right, in this life, is in appreciating that what is wrong is inward-looking. What is right will always be outward-looking. However, the outward-looking philosophy is measured by the greatest good for the greatest number of human beings.
There is no room for emotional anger when aiming at doing the right thing. But the opposition remains, for those aiming at doing the right thing. There also cannot be any room for self-comfort when aiming at doing the right thing. The only signal showing that one is straying off-track is when comfort is experienced in this life.
The maddening appreciation of what most people describe as ‘blessings,’ happens to be the genesis of all problems. The only amazing, if not puzzling thing, is that Christians appear as embracing Jesus Christ, and yet unwilling to go by the teachings of Christianity.
While the Jews could not conflate Christianity with Judaism, Christians love conflating Christianity with Judaism. But the two are dissimilar. Judaism views blessings through an inward-looking philosophy. While Christianity views blessings through the outward-looking philosophy.
One can be as wrong as conflating these two philosophies. This describes the lukewarmness, implied in Revelation 3:16. There is no problem with being hot. And there is no problem with being cold. The problem is found between those two philosophies, comprising altruism and self-centeredness.
The description of blessings in Christianity is opposed to the description of blessings in Judaism. Those sitting in the comfort of material blessings, comparing themselves as if better than those in their environment are in big trouble. They are unaware of the so-called blessings, being what causes problems in the environment.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV).
Strange, as this may appear to be, blessings are described in the event of being persecuted. Instead of feeling uncomfortable when insulted, Jesus is telling His disciples that that would be the time for them to celebrate. Obviously, this is the opposite of what is described as blessings among the prosperity preachers?
How wrong can one be, when saying things that are totally opposed to the teachings of Jesus? Where in the Scriptures did Jesus ever say Christians should feel blessed when receiving material things for themselves? Perhaps we need to look at the Scripture that may be often taken out of context?
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”(John 10:9-10 NIV).
The interpretation of the above Scriptures could be problematic. Especially, when considering that during His time, Jesus was regarded as a blessing to most people. Imagine the thousands having been fed, through a miracle of a few loaves of bread and just two fish? Although the Scriptures show that Jesus could not have focused on such material blessings.
In John 6:10-14, Jesus delivered a miracle, providing bread that became sufficient to feed thousands of people. Jesus later revealed that the bread that they assumed to be a blessing, was insignificant. This could not compare to the actual bread of life, whose significance He was.
“Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:26-27 NIV).
The life that Jesus was talking about in John 10:10, is not sustained by material things. Of course, physical life is sustained by material things like bread and water. But the mission of Jesus was about the life that does not need food for survival. When focusing on that kind of life, one has to be violently against the life that is sustained by material things of this world.
Food is necessary for survival in this world. But there is a special food necessary for spiritual survival. Jesus was talking about the unpopular food, baffling those assuming that life was about material foodstuffs. It is important to highlight the description of what is right as compared to what is wrong.
Killing another person is wrong. The opposite would be saving another person from death. Therefore, it is possible to appreciate what doing the right thing entails. However, it may be necessary to take a mathematical approach, when seeking to understand what the right thing entails. In this life, absolute rightness cannot be achievable, just as absolute wrongness is unachievable.
Doing the right things implies that more, rather than fewer people should be saved, instead of saving fewer people in place of many. One of the High Priests, inadvertently confirmed this reality.
Jesus had to die, in place of many. Nevertheless, the aspect of killing Jesus was unacceptable. But when considering the reality that doing the right thing, sacrificing one person in place of many; the aspect of killing Jesus was acceptable.
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man dies for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but as the high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one”(John 11:49-52 NIV).
Without considering the following quiz on the principle of doing the right thing, any person could get confused. Consider a bus driver, with three options: 1) confronting a possibility of engaging in a head-on collision with a big truck; 2) escaping to the right being impossible, with a ditch to potentially kill the bus-load of passengers.
The only space for possible escape would be to swing to the left. But the driver notices that there would be three children, innocently playing, unaware of the impending danger. The driver would be doing the right thing when killing the three children to save the bus-load of passengers.
He might be prosecuted for killing the three innocent children. But he would have done the right thing, under the circumstances. The most important thing to take note of is that doing the right thing is saving more people, in place of just a few. When carefully analyzing such behavior, one easily sees that doing the right thing would be more to do with common sense.
When faced with various challenges in life, the most important thing would simply be to do the right thing. This is based on how many people could be saved by such decisions. Zimbabwe would not be muddled in a mess, if every citizen had considered the principle of doing the right thing, at all times.
The effect of doing wrong things is what currently prevails, in a country that has become a laughing stock in the entire world. Serving self, ahead of the entire population is naively considered virtuous. Obviously, that is exactly what describes evilness, rather than goodness. Doing the right thing implies focusing on saving the majority, ahead of the minority.
A self-centered civilization remains on a collision course, regardless of the peddled lies that the future would be good. It appears good to serve one’s own interests, at all times. But unforeseen by those applying such warped thinking is that they would be heading towards their own demise, as well.
When taking care of other fellow humans, the person takes care of himself. That is why the golden law is always to do unto others as one would like them to do unto himself (Matthew 7:12). The most vital thing to take note of is that the teachings of Jesus are to do with common sense, rather than being religious.
When engrossed in religion, it is impossible to understand such things. This is why we find some religious people stating that they would not participate in politics. They would rather let the infidels make decisions that endanger the livelihoods of many people. They would be taking comfort in their religious enclosures.
To them, being Christian implies being viewed as a religious person. Nothing else can be further from the truth. Jesus was not regarded as a religious person. That is why his actions attracted the cross. Christianity was never designed for religious people. It is for the people who seek to make a difference, in a world of sinfulness.
Christianity needs courageous people, willing to die for what is right. Those interested in saving their own skins should never fool themselves, assuming that they would be Christians. Doing the right thing requires sacrificing one’s own interests, for the benefit of everyone else.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?(1 John 3:16-17 NIV).
Doing the right thing can never be enviable to the weaklings. It is impossible for those chasing after the material accumulation in this world to become free. They would be entangled in sin, similarly to those they assume to be entangled in sin. Christianity is about what one does for other people, and not what is done for oneself.
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat?Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that, you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”(Luke 17:7-10 NIV).
Of course, these are hard facts, seemingly designed to discourage people from becoming Christians. Yet it would take a professionally unethical individual to denounce these assertions. Christianity is about altruism, more than being considered as beneficial, by those focusing on profit-making.
Jesus was not playing games when telling the multitudes, that if intending to be His followers, they needed to sacrifice everything. (Luke 14:25-33). There cannot be any business assumed to be as serious as Christianity, in this world. This ought to be the time to debug all falsehoods in Christianity.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the 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 relief to those having witnessed the 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