An idle mind is the devil’s workshop

There is no time that God stops working. A person connected to God is constantly busy. This is especially so when observing terrible things happening in our country. God’s children cannot fail to do something about those problems. What excuse can Christians give for not being concerned about the environment? The serious problems of this world require Christians to do something about them.

Suppose one is sitting by him/herself at the street corner, watching people passing by. What goes on in his/her mind? That person considers street kids a menace, wondering how to handle them. The next minute he thinks about the unemployed youths roaming around the streets.

That person generally gets involved with activities affecting ordinary humanity. He can never assume he would have nothing to do in this life. All the days of his survival are committed to thinking about how to change people’s lives for the better. His mind would be directly connected to God’s mind. Someone may have guessed correctly that the person being referred to would be a Christian.

After Jesus left the scene, the disciples got involved in God’s work for the rest of their lives. The apostle Paul wrote most of his epistles while in prison. Paul never allowed himself to be idle, even when he was in prison. His mind remained connected to God, more than his jailers assumed that he was incapacitated. The same applied to Jesus, shown as having been a hard worker.

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason, the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer:

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these” (John 5:17-20 NIV).

In His three-and-a-half-year ministry, Jesus was never idle. As long as there were people in need of His services, Jesus committed Himself accordingly. He said His activities conformed to His Father’s business. Jesus’ mission was to lay down the foundation for Christian activities. There was no time to rest, for Him. The candid question ought to be: From where did the idea of Saturday or Sunday keeping come from?

Seventh-day Sabbath-keeping came from the Ten Commandments, as one of the laws given to the Israelites. However, other than keeping those laws, the Israelites were not committed to God’s work. Saturday may have been the only Day that they thought about God. Although, to them Saturday was a special Day of rest, implying that they avoided associating with God’s work.

They were free to do anything during the other six days of the week. Whatever business commitment they were doing had nothing to do with God’s work but feeding their families. God’s work for them was to obey the written laws. The least they could do was to pay tithes and offerings, out of the proceeds from their labour, to attract God’s blessings. Their lifestyle was very easy—just working to feed their respective families and pay tithes and offerings.

Jesus introduced a new pattern of worshipping for His disciples. Like Jesus, they were supposed to be one hundred per cent committed to God’s work. They were not even supposed to think about feeding their families when committed to God’s work. They would be classified as God’s children, expected to transform their thinking according to God’s viewpoint.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in his entire splendour was dressed like one of these” (Matthew 6:24-29 NIV).

People cannot identify themselves as Christians when skirting such Scriptures. Jesus was talking to His disciples, currently comprising the Christian community. Such Scriptures have no relevance to Sunday or Sabbath-keeping but God’s work. Those Scriptures refer to God’s children, who would have left everything to follow Christ. Applying such Scriptures has the possibility of inviting serious persecution. Nothing in them conforms to the worldly viewpoints.

I know of some Christians who would not even be able to regularly attend Church services, citing work commitments. They use Scriptures that suggest obeying authorities, who then promote them for hard working. However, the above Scripture suggests that a person cannot be a Christian and aim at living a comfortable life, at the same time. Most Christians are celebrated for being promoted at their workplaces. The Church pastor would actually announce such developments with pomp and fanfare.

This would be assumed to be indicative of the person being faithful in paying tithes and offerings. Others would then be encouraged to do likewise, to receive similar blessings.  All this would be said without considering Jesus’ instructions. The entire congregation would agree with that viewpoint. The Bible would be cherished, but not applied according to Jesus’ teachings.

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? Or “What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:30-33 NIV).

Does this mean God will always miraculously feed, clothe and provide expected necessities to God’s Children? The answer is yes, but not according to the person’s viewpoint. A Christian doing God’s work is also being developed to effectively renounce thinking like those of this world. When following Jesus’ footsteps, there is no room for good times on earth.

Jesus could not share His problems with His disciples but with His Father. His disciples could not understand the most gruelling moments of distress experienced by Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. He expected His disciples to connect with His moments of anguish, but they disappointingly failed to do so. They were disconnected from what was happening. They could not understand what was going on and kept falling asleep, overwhelmed by drowsiness.

On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:40-48 NIV).

In His lecture in Matthew 6, Jesus said His disciples were not supposed to worry about eating, clothing and other things. At that point, He did not, however, warn them of the acerbic treatment, similar to His experience at the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciples were not expected to make income, to feed the poor, like ordinary businesspeople. Their activities would be inspired by God.

As God’s children, they would be taking instructions directly from God. Jesus never instructed them to do anything that would benefit them directly.  There is no glory in Christianity, except God’s glory, manifested in Jesus’ sufferings. Christianity is not something one does for lack of other things.

Christianity is the real thing for one’s living. Wealth cannot even be considered, but God’s work. God’s will would be paramount, as opposed to worldly expectations. God’s children are solely committed to God’s service, without complaint.

The question of remunerations is irrelevant to God’s children. Dying in God’s service is a blessing that cannot be compared to any other. Those of this world would be rewarded for supporting God’s Children, whose tasks cannot be regarded as casual.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’’’ (Matthew 25:34-40 NIV).

The righteous would have helped Christians, who were advised not to worry about anything, but God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:24-33). Commitment to Christianity allows no room for doing anything, except God’s work. Christians should never expect being praised by those of this world. If Jesus was not praised, why does one expect praises from humanity? A Christian is a new Creation, unconcerned about worldly praises, starting from the day of his repentance.

God was working through Jesus. He was working through the apostles. He continues to work today with those, having seriously considered the significance of Christianity. The moment Christians stop doing God’s work to do other activities, they open the door to the devil. The most important thing to remember is that Christians are not ordinary.

The business of Christianity is God’s business. Jesus’ behavior would be the standard to follow, all the way through. The time to work is now before the opportunity closes. Being united as Christians is good. But what is even better is focusing on individual Christian calling. The treachery besieging Christianity has always been the assumption that pleasing God implies pleasing the pastor.

A true Christian cannot yearn for pastoral praises. God’s Children cannot be superintended by anyone, except by taking instructions directly from their Father in Heaven. Jesus is the anchorman. Worldly praises should be considered as abominable. Jesus said Christians should only rejoice when persecuted, rather than being excited when receiving comfortable praises (Matthew 5:10-12).

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12 NIV).

There is no difference between God and Christians, through Jesus. Christians may be harassed despicably, like Jesus, but they remain God’s children. Jesus never promised an easy life on earth. What lies ahead can be most exciting for ordinary people in Zimbabwe. But Christians look beyond that. What is paramount is to remain focused until death. Any slackening, invites the devil to take over, spelling serious disaster for such Christians.

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 who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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