Chapter 10: Safety Precautions

Considering the devastating poverty in our midst, others are caught being willing to engage in anything appealing for freedom from such inconveniences. Even precarious activities get considered by unsuspecting individuals, causing them to easily fall prey.

The cunning ones are so daring as to even try the mythological goblins (zvikwambo/tokoloshe), with jinxes cited in obnoxious stories associated with such businesses. Whether true or false, the stories confirm the desperation instigated by conditions of poverty. Superstition also causes beliefs in anything; including Christian provisions.

Christian projects, throughout the world, appeal for the non-risk undertaking. Yet when appreciating what Jesus taught; nothing can be riskier than involvement with Christianity. This is notwithstanding that the goal of Christianity may be viewed as innocently advancing the gospel.

The charismatic ones make tremendous successes in preaching Christ––fair and good, as preaching Christ is desirable. However, such activities bear possible minefields of which most people are not conscious.

Such hazards are riskier than the referred goblin businesses when considering the “gnashing of teeth,” that Christ insisted would affect believers at His second coming.

Most Christians consider themselves safe; yet exposed to the unbridled embarrassment, that will not, necessarily, affect the un-churched but Christian practitioners: “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).

With this warning, the formidable question to ask, when desiring to tread cautiously, is: What happens to the invited majority if only a few get chosen? (See vs. 13)

One of the greatest deceptions of all time is to regard Christianity as a title of honour. However, in this world, there may not be anything representing disgrace more than Christianity. A person cannot be a true Christian and be regarded honourably simultaneously.

The cross cannot be regarded as honourable, except by true Christians who understand the principle of rejoicing when insulted (Matt. 5:10-12). Receiving honour should invite anxiety when considering the cliché, “You cannot eat your cake and have it too.”

Those avoiding Christianity until sure of what they do, are more prudent than those coming into Christianity, attracted by short-term advantages. Christianity cannot be considered similarly to how other professions are considered in this world.

Christianity requires surrendering personal glory, in pursuance of God’s glory. Unless aware of the significance of such reality, the best advice is to avoid dabbling in Christianity.

With the scarcity of employment and without educative information, young people get attracted to Christian organizations without assessing the gravity of such responsibilities. A career in Christianity is a calling from God, not a panacea for physical challenges, like poverty.

There are those harbouring pastoral ambitions, inspired by Paul’s insinuation: “If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Tim. 3:1 NIV).

I suppose Paul did not imply being highly esteemed, like known respectable clerics, driving top-of-the-range vehicles in comfortable suburbs. Jesus could not have warned:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27) (ESV).

Honour––as characterized by fashionable Church leaders of today––is different from Paul’s tribulations, ending in the hands of murderers, gleefully ridiculing him for what he stood for. Christianity is a risky business, for those desiring to live comfortably, in this world.

The law of wealth applies to those addressing other people’s physical challenges. Spiritual objectives are not necessarily in tandem with physical objectives.

Blessings of a physical nature may also naturally accrue to those obsessed with spiritual pursuits. But a spiritual person focuses on opposite concerns. While addressing other people’s physical challenges leads to the accumulation of wealth, addressing spiritual challenges leads to the accumulation of insults.

No one should be enticed into Christian ministry in anticipation of accumulation of wealth, as the person may be impoverished, though eventually receiving the honour that Paul alluded to.

Honour, in Christianity, is generally a condition of suffering disgrace for Christ (Acts 5:41). What happened to Jesus on the cross cannot be associated with honour, as known today. Nevertheless, Jesus eventually received real honour, after His resurrection.

Paul’s inference is like volunteering death for the benefit of others. Consider a case of ten sea voyagers––receiving a signal about imminent sinking––destroying everyone aboard. But the rest were potentially saved by one volunteer among them jumping out, to save the ship from sinking.

The volunteer qualifies Paul’s description of nobility, notwithstanding being destined for physical demise. Those with self-centred motives are advised to avoid being attracted to Christian ministries by all means:

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39) (ESV)

Promotion of self-ambition is not what Paul implied, as intending to motivate those desiring comfortable lives on earth. Here are some, but possibly not all occupational hazards for consideration before engagement in Christian organizations:

  1. Jesus’ remark insinuated the existence of the hazard of pride when welcoming the disciples from their assignments (Luke 10:18–20). Pride is a death trap for God’s servants.
  2. Being called to Christianity is an invitation to surrender one’s dignity and honour, including death, as experienced by the entirety of the original apostles, except John.
  3. Teaching spiritual revelations instead of known traditions to please people invites ridicule and ostracism (Matt. 8:20-22). A sincere preacher takes God’s instructions, though not necessarily popular, with worldly audiences.
  4. To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). Ethically, a Church leader is expected to be ahead, shepherding others. This demands surrendering personal welfare and physical interests, following Jesus’ footsteps.
  5. An overseer can be a stumbling block to others, risking Jesus’ stern warning (Matt. 18:6). Humility would be required in protecting God’s servant, apologising profusely to the offended, when proven wrong. Nevertheless, a truly humble person never gets offended.
  6. A church leader is exposed to relentless scrutiny by congregants. Unfounded accusations, mostly through rumour-mongering, can be levelled against a leader. Church leaders, although regarded highly, are still fallible.
  7. One of Satan’s tactics in fighting the church is to eliminate the leader (Rev. 12:13). As demonstrated by Jesus at Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-44), banking on supporters in hard times, rather than God alone, is treacherous. The battle faced may either be through ordinary persecution or enticement to lead the Church astray––causing God’s rejection of the entire group. This calls for vigilance––impossible without prayer.
  8. In this world of injustice, God’s true servants are more vulnerable to being prosecuted without provable offences, like embezzlement of Church funds and sex scandals, let alone the obvious politically motivated accusations in despotic countries.

However, coming into the ministry with awareness of such hazards proffers a magnificent privilege––necessary in one’s lifetime––serving those for whom Jesus died. One is freed, only when focusing on Jesus––accessible to those sacrificing their dignity and personal welfare.

When ethically accumulating wealth, and receiving accolades from others; one is considered blessed and indeed, probably enjoying those blessings. However, spiritually, that Christian is more miserable––struggling with the temptation to be attached to physical wealth than the cause of Christianity (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

There is no other blessing, surpassing being used by God but having to walk in Christ’s footsteps, without considering what goes on in the environment. Christianity is a solitary journey, where only Christ is a role model. Looking to Church leaders for direction is not applicable in Christianity. One is as blessed as allowing Christ the liberty to lead, instead of being influenced by role models in doing God’s work. In Christianity, everyone is similarly blessed regardless of circumstances, as Christ becomes the focus.

To Peter, Christ repeated the instruction of feeding the flock, three times; as if Peter was more superior to others (John 21:15-22 NIV). But Peter was to be later warned:

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (vs. 18).

To which the author, John, opined on the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God (vs. 19). Afterwards, Peter consciously desired to know what would happen to his colleague, following Christ’s remark (vs. 21).

Jesus declared: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (vs. 22 NIV).

We are all under Christ, but for different reasons, according to His will. Some may be called to pursue projects that allow abundant blessings, physically. Yet others are called for projects that cause struggle in abject poverty.

Others are allowed to be among Christians and yet be Satan’s implants (Matt. 13:24–30). A Christian should, however, not be obsessed with identifying weeds but, specifically, with what is individually assigned to one.

When Christ dwells in people’s lives, none of them should be regarded as superior. Individual accomplishments, for developing the church––regardless of how commendable––invite no comparisons.

In Christianity, one ceases to live for one’s interests. The perks awarded to some overseers, though commendable, should not entice anyone to come aboard.

While a person may honour God in a trouble-free lifestyle, if the attitude is right, God is mostly honoured in frugality. Nevertheless, deliberately rejecting Christ’s calling can be one of the most unfortunate oversights in this life.

Christ highlighted the need for more labourers (Matt. 9:37). Those aboard should discard all flesh’s desires first. Christianity demands spiritual servitude, ahead of self, just as Christ redeemed humanity by sacrificing His own physical body. Indeed, there is honour in desiring and accepting responsibility 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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99

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