There is never a time that God has not communicated with humanity. The inability to communicate with God is a matter of inability to identify oneself. The purpose of preachers should be to remind people that they are God’s children. We must confront the reason for rejecting those coming with God’s messages.
The Bible is full of murdered prophets, whose sole purpose was to communicate God’s messages. Biblical stories suggest that it was the Israelites who rejected God. However, the story of the Israelites is parabolic. Otherwise, the entire humanity carries a similar chance of accessing communication from God.
The oldest Book in the Bible is “Job,” and yet, without any link with the Israelites. Before the whites introduced Christianity, our black ancestors had direct communication with God. The confusion of paganism was as common as it is common across humanities. God has always directly communicated with truthful people, wherever they would be found.
Jesus’ teachings were designed to remind humanity of being God’s children, but specifically setting a foundation for God’s Kingdom. Cornelius was a Gentile centurion, unacceptable to the Jews, but recognised by God. Cornelius was God-fearing, without God having been introduced to him, by anyone.
At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God(Acts 10:1-4 NIV).
The disciples could not understand how a Gentile Centurion could be Godly. They had always assumed that God only communicated with the Israelites, excluding other nations. The God-fearing Centurion proved the point that God is in communication with all humans, including non-Israelites.
My grandfather, used to narrate being a “hosanna,” entrusted with visiting the Njelele shrine, interceding with God for rain. His narrations were not different from the Israelites’ communication with God, through the Ark of the Convenient. My grandfather didn’t sound like an idol worshiper. From the Njelele shrine, God’s actual voice could be heard speaking.
There is no documented evidence of how my grandfather became connected to the Njelele shrine. But his narrations sounded credible. I have no reason to doubt his involvement with God. Without any recorded information, similarly to how the Israelites had theirs recorded, anyone is free to denounce African religions.
The disciples had mistaken Cornelius for a pagan worshipper. But God’s angel intervened, to convince Simon Peter. There is more that remains unknown unless revealed by God. Abraham was God-fearing, leading to God working with him in peculiar ways. The common characteristics of God-fearing men are shunning evil and giving generously to the needy. These are also described as would classify those redeemed on Judgment Day.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“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”(Matthew 25:31-36 NIV).
The above-described people will not, necessarily be familiar with Christianity, but God-fearing people, from across the world. They would be different from Jesus’ brothers, only in the aspect of not having sacrificed anything. But, otherwise, these people would have been identified as God-fearing in their lives. The above depicts the events on the Last Great Day judgment, in Revelation.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that was in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that was in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done”(Revelation 20:11-13 NIV).
The separation of the righteous has nothing to do with their backgrounds. They would have known God, although coming from different backgrounds. They would be sustained by being God-fearing and giving generously to the needy.
Those people will be surprised, when recognized by God. Nevertheless, unethical conduct separates humans from being God’s Children. As created in God’s image, humans are supposed to be as good as God is good. Idolatry is an unethical condition that impedes their relationship with God.
A person of integrity is God-fearing, even when unreligious. Anyone is God’s child, by being created in God’s image. God’s children naturally project Godliness, in terms of behaviour and attitude. Jesus illustrated this point, using the Good Samaritan parable.
The Samaritans had generally been considered as sinners. That parable shows that God’s children can be found in lawless environments. One is God’s child when treating others with dignity, regardless of environment.
Throughout His teachings, Jesus maintained the idea of loving one’s fellow men. Jesus’ mission was to remind humans what they knew already. The attitude of loving one’s fellow men is inborn. This gets eroded by the spirit of competition when desiring to be worshipped by others.
Proud people, whether Israelite or Christian, remain stuck in idolatry. The effects of pride, causes them to assume being smarter and superior to other fellow humans. No other sin can be worse than this.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight”(Luke 16:13-15
Carnal humans value wealth and fame, ahead of God, although being a product of God’s image. Two characters can be observed among sinful humans. One is redeemable by Jesus, and the other irredeemable, according to the above Scripture.
The parable of Lazarus and Rich Man clarifies this point (Luke 16:21-31). Although in Abraham’s bosom, Lazarus is not portrayed as having been obedient to God’s laws. The unconditional nature of redemption reveals that God considers truthfulness in a person. One loses his/her identity when focusing on wealth, rather than on God.
The consideration of being admired takes the person away from God. It is desiring admiration by others that Jesus said was detestable. The reason for detestation is the projection of false identity. Living another person’s life, other than one’s own is another form of idolatry.
God expects people to be themselves, apart from other people’s viewpoints. Jesus is the standard from whose instructions one is guided. Normal humans take instructions directly from God. It is unnecessary to pretend to be anything else, other than what God created one to be.
Lazarus represented most miserable people on earth. But God who created them in His image knows their condition; hence at death, Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom. The Rich man had misrepresented Lazarus as deserving of miserable conditions. Lazarus had also mistaken the Rich man for deserving honour.
Both appear to have misrepresented their respective identities. Most humans aim at being idolized by others, without considering being oneself, according to God’s design. God is pleased with answering the question “Who are you?” Rather than; “who do people think you are?”
Failure to effectively confront this formidable question causes failure. Desiring to please one’s peers, rather than God, is deadly. God’s Church is founded on the true identities of those concerned, without others’ viewpoints.
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”(Matthew 16:17-19 NIV).
The personal identity grants abilities to recognize being God’s child, represented everywhere. All humans are God’s children but separated by obscure identities. Education represents corruption, more than any other topic, in this world. This world has generally made it difficult to live one’s own life, because of a corrupt educational system.
Those talented in popular areas like sports and arts are commonly not the products of education. It is impossible to train and become like any of such talented and admired personalities. For instance, regardless of how much, one’s admiration of Christiano Ronaldo, without being talented in that area, it is impossible to be trained to match that talent.
Due to being attracted by remuneration, some people have taken studies in areas that have nothing to do with their identities. A person may have been created to be a cleaner. But, due to consideration of adopted class popularity, he assumes cleaning to be a degrading profession.
He studies to become a medical practitioner, instead. He may pass the grade in medical studies as a medical practitioner. But that person would be in that profession against his Godly designed profession. Is it not true that across most professions, we have people engaged in areas that they should not be engaged in?
This reveals corruption against those innately designed to be in prescribed occupations. We have nurses, only for purposes of receiving income. Otherwise, being those expected to be elsewhere, effectively doing what God created them to be. This is a result of poorly delineated educational curricula, due to corruption.
Handling such problems starts with each person discovering his identity. Parents or teachers cannot be responsible for choosing children’s careers. Theirs is facilitating for children to discover what they were created to be. Hence, successful musicians are not those with music degrees.
The same goes for anything worth noting in the advancement of human civilization. The pioneers of electronic engineering were not holders of fanciful educational degrees; the most recent being Steve Jobs. This is in consideration of Steve Jobs’ highly successful touch-screen technology. Each personality was created to be as peculiar as not to be matched with anyone else.
The majority of people die as paupers, due to the suppressive environment. Or, dying in that condition due to focusing on what they were not created to be. Talented cleaners are confined as useless professors in some universities; yet, the born geniuses would be stuck as janitors, elsewhere.
There is more that could be discovered than currently considered as sophisticated modern technology if people were allowed to be themselves. In some African countries, young people are not even allowed to be innovative. They are supposed to remain obedient to authorities, instead. See [Earthly Parents are mere custodians of their children]
Jesus often castigated His disciples for lacking faith. Nothing is impossible, when appreciating the idea of becoming oneself, rather than being something else, according to other people’s viewpoints. Shaping one’s life according to other people’s viewpoint is another description of idolatry.
This world requires leaders, helping people discover their true identities. There cannot be any other powerful datum; surpassing appreciating not being smaller or greater than other people. The person may be different, but not greater or smaller than others.
There is no need to idolize but enhance other people’s survival when always focusing on being supportive. There is also no need to despise but appreciate one’s duty to help those not yet having discovered themselves. There is no other purpose for living on this planet, except to help other people to become as effective as themselves.
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 Amazon.com for $13.99