I like Philips’ electronic products. Some thirty years ago I got disappointed after buying a cassette recorder, assuming it to be another Philips brand. The price had been less than half offered elsewhere for a similar one. The shop attendant had assured me of it being the last from an old stock. So, I quickly bought, thinking I had struck a good bargain.
To cut a long story short, on getting home, the cassette recorder had been of inferior quality. The brand had not been Philip’s but Phipps, without any locatable address, let alone the warranty that should normally accompany the pack. Considering the Harare – Bulawayo distance, confronting the shop owner could not be feasible.
The above story drives a point home. Reputable manufacturers normally provide warranties, as guarantee, for their products. A prudent buyer assesses the genuineness of any product, before purchasing. Authenticity can be ascertained by the manufacturer’s willingness to provide warranty.
God also guarantees what He created in His own image, sending His own Son to die, in order to redeem us from our sins. Having been created by God, I cannot pretend to be anything else, except what I see in the mirror. A genuine product, advantageously different from what is counterfeit, cannot be likened or exchanged with anything. The manufacturer is the only one holding the certainty of its value, hence guaranteeing it.
We were created in God’s image—guaranteed and redeemable by Christ. When I look into the mirror, I see a short, dark skinned person. Whether likable or not to me or other people, that person is genuine, having been created in the image of the guarantor, God.
In the case of Phillips and Phipps, Phillips was genuine. Phipps was copy-cat, taking advantage of other people’s inability to analyze, to determine genuineness from counterfeit. In the case of human beings, hypocrites behave like Phipps. They are counterfeit products, serving only to cause the known problems in the world. Jesus’ only enemies were hypocrites.
A counterfeit looks at what benefits self, taking advantage of another person, which is not characteristic of God’s image. Even reputable manufacturing companies select out what is called ‘rejects’, from their own stocks. These are thrown away or recycled.
The corruption that entered humanity at the Garden of Eden left humans in state of counterfeit. As guarantee, Jesus came for their redemption. Through Christ, Christianity appears as the fastest growing religion. But, since Paul’s time, the problem of counterfeit is the only threat to its cause:
1 Corinthians 3:1-5: But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says “I follow Paul, and another “I follow Apollo’s,” are you not being merely human. What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. (ESV)
Even today, many Christian take everything that Paul said as doctrine. Yet Paul was like anyone of us. Most of the moralistic statements that Paul made are, today, wrongly taken as doctrine. Redemption comes through Jesus alone. In the above scripture, both Paul and Apollos appear to have been genuine. But, according to Paul, some of their followers were counterfeit.
Genuine Christians follow Christ; not human beings. Paul was castigating the counterfeit behaviour of some of those Corinthian Christians. What is genuine is as revealed by Christ:
Matthew 11:11-12: Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Vs. 13, For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (ESV) (Emphasis mine).
If John the Baptist did not need a supervisor, except being guided by the Holy Spirit, why should Christians—greater than John—need supervision? Paul mentioned the existence of jealousness among them. It is not possible for genuine Christians to be jealous about anything, when used by God—like Paul and Apollos.
Instead of worshipping God, praise singers feel comfortable when showering praises to their leaders, forgetting that those leaders can’t do anything without Christ. Everything said by leaders is taken as correct, even though possibly incorrect. What did Jesus say about desiring honour in Church leadership?
Matthew 23:6-12: And they love the place of honour at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (ESV)
Leadership belongs to Christ who used Paul and Apollos during the Corinthian churches. But, both those leaders knew where true leadership came from, as Paul castigated the shallow-mindedness of those failing to appreciate differences between flesh and Spirit.
Human worshipping is manifest, even in politics. At ninety-two years, President Mugabe is seen as irreplaceable. Some of his followers even quote scriptures to back up their stand. President Mugabe is their god, just as the opposition may view their own leaders as gods. This has reduced the country into its current, seemingly intractable problems.
Christians need to appreciate the importance of being cause rather than effect. The responsible Christians should have a powerful impact in changing what goes on. Christ says Christians are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Everything changes when true Christians take up their stand, asserting to true wisdom, as confirmed by James:
James 3:17: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries 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 the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99