There is a formula by which any person can attain the state of greatness. No other personality who ever lived in the entire universe reached the greatness of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, therefore, the standard is set, for the purpose of man. The aim for each human being, in this world, is to attain greatness.
As long as normal, each human being aims at achieving the elevation to greater heights. Sports personalities are motivated to achieve the highest possible performance in their sporting endeavours. The same applies to any other discipline; whether in music or any other practice. The intended ultimate goals are uniform.
When considering Jesus’ case, there can be no other formula obtainable anywhere, except this, as achieving the best in this life. The name of Jesus is held with the highest esteem, across the world. But there is no magic formula for achieving that feat, except a simple principle, which anyone can adopt.
“And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11 NIV).
From this passage, it can be deduced that the greatness of Jesus came from His display of humility. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.” At this point, remains the standard, desirable for greatness, by any human.
The axiomatic laws that govern this universe include the law of achieving greatness. As fumbling in ignorance, humanity has, instead, always pursued the opposite direction, in the quest for achieving the desired greatness. Sadly, they even fail to learn from experience.
Nevertheless, in our society, we have observed some people attain greatness, to some degree. The esteemed Nobel Peace Prize awarded to individuals known to have contributed much towards peace; carries with it, the confirmation of what justifies greatness.
The world-acclaimed legend, Nelson Mandela, can be another perfect example, in this regard. But closer home, the late Joshua Nkomo could arguably be found to be among those deserving the greatness, to some degree. This is as known that Nkomo’s persecutor could not be accorded the dignity of being laid at Heroes’ Acre, like him.
The vexatious 1987 Unity Accord, made him eligible to claim the state of greatness, among the great of this world. Others may not see Joshua Nkomo in that light, but indeed, great he was. Nothing could have prevented Nkomo to revert back to a gruelling war, had he reasoned like those who persecuted him.
He deserved to be interred at Heroes Acre, and that was done with pomp and fanfare. This was done by those having given him a torrid time, seeking to eliminate his life. However, his chief persecutor could not qualify to be interred among the iconic heroes in that esteemed Heroes’ acre.
His successor may have desired to eulogize, seeking to append greatness onto a man who facilitated his rise into a political fiefdom. But greatness cannot be imposed or controlled. It goes directly to whoever deserves it so that even the opponents are agreeable with the decision.
What is interesting is that we now have some sections in society, fighting over the custodianship of the legacy of Morgan Tsvangirai. Although appearing as not having possessed an intellectual capacity to lead, it seems indisputable that in Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe had a great man.
His greatness was in the area of humility. It was interesting to notice him forgiving those who betrayed him during the struggle, to wrestle power from ZANU PF. To ordinary people, it was inconceivable, how Morgan Tsvangirai could forgive Robert Mugabe and be willing to work under him.
In the GNU arrangement, Morgan Tsvangirai compromised more than could be viewed as reasonable. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are no more. But it remains impossible to efface the name of Morgan Tsvangirai from among the iconic heroes of our nation, for some generations to come.
The opposite effect can be true of those doing abominable things against humanity. Those people would be under the impression that they would be aiming at achieving greatness. But greatness is not worked for and cannot be achieved by means of coercion. It comes with the condition of consideration of another person ahead of your interests.
Everything done in the name of Jesus produces results, at the degree to which it is applied. Pretenders towards greatness can only be those who seek to hypnotize poor people. But they would do so without effective observable results on the ground. The manifestation of faith is in the doing and producing results, rather than dramatizing.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (James 2:15-20 NIV).
Greatness cannot be declared by anyone to himself unless that person would be a raving psychotic. Neither is greatness declared by friends in that person’s surroundings, unless a cult. A person becomes great when having been clothed with humility, as to be conferred greatness, even by his own adversaries.
When adversaries ridicule you, saying all kinds of evil against you, then you would be on your way towards greatness. Jesus said that is the only time one should rejoice and become glad. All one would need to do, at that point, is to return such malice with goodwill. Loving one’s enemies is the only way to go.
“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).
No one may be able to accurately predict that Nelson Chamisa is going to ascend to the State House. But, even if he dies today, before achieving that aim; could there be anyone able to take away the greatness that he has crafted upon himself?
I am aware that this goes against the predictions of his endemic critics. But the onslaught against him, and his party, could have caused ordinary people to cringe. Nevertheless, that is what has made Nelson Chamisa the most powerful politician in the country.
Only those without the eyes to see assume that his greatness will be reduced by the propaganda from the state media. The confirmation of greatness does not require commentators, necessarily. It is an axiomatic expression that can only be understood by those taking the Bible seriously.
The persecuted ones may not receive their share of rewards in this life, but that is assured in heaven. The secrecy of greatness is achievable, even in this world. There is no way any sane person could succeed, erasing the names of those having fought for the emancipation of humanity.
Consider, Martin Luther King Jnr, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or even in our soil, Joshua Nkomo and Morgan Tsvangirai, to mention but a few? The perpetrators will always be villains, which is the opposite of heroism, whether they like it or not. This carries no bearing, on the question of whether their supporters cheer them on, claiming their heroism.
What matters the most, in this life, is understanding the principle of doing unto others as one would like them to do unto him. Another interesting observation is that the perpetrators, committing what is evil against others, carry the assumption that their victims deserve it. Weird as this may sound to those without the knowledge of the mechanics of the mind, it is true.
The Gukurahundi perpetrators still harbour an impression that what they did to those innocent civilians was justified. It must also be appreciated that the perpetrators include those who supported such acts of violence. Even among those born after Gukurahundi, we have people justifying such heinous crimes. This includes those from outside the country.
Existence in this life is governed by principles that guide the destiny of each and every one of us. What leads to life cannot suddenly change to be what leads to death, and vice versa. The Israelites were given this information, but due to hardheartedness, they could not remain committed.
In their manifestation of being religious, we have churchmen harbouring the idea that heroism is about religiosity. Saying anything considered political, when one is considered Christian, can cause condemnation from one’s fellows. For instance, Johana Mamombe and her colleagues were incarcerated for faking abduction. This was obviously untrue.
The apparently, good Christians suggested that it was not necessary to decry such inhumanity, sighting “politics”. “A Christian should not entertain anything political,” so the pastoral fringe reasoned. The ordinary laity agreed, on the reason that whatever comes from authority is assumed to be carrying God’s backing.
The incarcerated trio was to be sympathized with, only by those also considered to be political. My last ten years of studying the behaviour of humanity have disabused me from assuming that religion carries things of value. There may not be anything wrong with the intended aims of any religion, but the hypnotized minds.
The consideration of doing unto others, as one would like them to do unto one, appears to be common sense. But the religious people consider that as uncommon. If the suggestion comes from someone considered unchristian, for instance, there is no need to consider its value.
Denominational Christianity has even further multiplied the idea of segmentation. Only when originating from a “spiritual” leader of that group, would anything be considered as true? In the name of protecting the group, the spiritual leader advises his followers to heed only what comes from authority. By authority is not meant the Bible, but the spiritual leader.
This reeks of idolatry or idiocy, but it is the reality, with many religious people in our country. You are considered a good-standing Christian, as long as worshipping the spiritual leader. In their quest for greatness, ordinary people do everything noticeable by the spiritual leader, in order to obtain favours. Nevertheless, such behaviour is the opposite of greatness.
Hoping to spiritually awaken my fellow Christians, I will use just one passage of Scripture, pointing at the authority of Jesus. This is just hoping, as many people calling themselves “Christians” are not Christians. They claim to be “Christians,” only as approved by their spiritual leaders.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4).
I could be assertive in stating that this is a Scripture that does not appeal to many people calling themselves “Christians”. Jesus was denigrating those seeking praises from fellow humans. The reason for seeking human praise is obvious. The person entertains the idea of being elevated to greatness.
It is, especially, the spiritual leader who they seek to impress. This is a condition that has been sustained in Zimbabwean society. To be seen doing good things by other people is assumed as leading to greatness. But, according to Jesus, it grants the opposite.
It could be advisable to look at the characteristics of Nobel Peace prize winners. Those are not people who would have sought to please anyone, except their consideration of humanity on the ground. I do not think that Nelson Mandela aimed at pleasing anyone when subjected to prison-hood?
Great people are great because ordinary people benefit more than they themselves benefit. They consider the plight of humanity ahead of their own interests. Therefore, altruism is the way to go, whether one considers himself a Christian or not.
Anyone who does good things for the sake of pleasing others is not in the category of altruistic people. It is impossible for such a person to attain greatness, according to Jesus. The value of any human being is in serving other fellow human beings, more than serving self.
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
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