Called to the church
Posted Sunday, December 8 2013 at 02:00
“Who shall go for us?” This was the theme for the November mission month at All Saints Cathedral Kampala. The theme came from Isaiah 6:8, when Isaiah gets his awakening in the Lord.
But what caught my attention was who the church chose as the main speaker for the final week of the month –the Most Reverend Dr Ben Kwashi. Or to be more specific, the way he delivered the message.
His was a blunt sermon touching uncomfortable subjects in that comical way actors deliver their lines in Nigerian movies, without undermining the message he was talking about. When he talked about the clergy, it was to tell us not to be fooled by the robes they wear.
He told the story of the little boy who was shocked to see his father as a calm man because he was used to a violent man back home. His father was a priest and the boy was commenting on his father humbly leading a procession.
His point was that the people who are called to evangelism are not so extraordinary that they have no sin. And this was the same message he had about people who are in positions in power.
“Don’t they go to the toilet like the rest of us?” he cheekily wondered aloud, emphasising just how ordinary they are.
Which people are called?
This brought it back to that point when we think of someone being called to do an important job, we usually think of an important person in this place – important in the sense that their stature in society is a high one. The Bishop shutdown his notion with his experience of awakening that involved a mad man on the streets who preached to him, reducing him to tears.
Now the archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos in northern Nigeria, it is no wonder that he is impatient with people who develop airs after they have been in put in positions in power.
“Suddenly, they are too busy to see the people who voted them into office. ‘You know being the boss is not easy,’ they say. As if you asked them,” the bishop illustrated, “all I want is for you to do what you are in the office to do.” And this is what anyone who is called to do the Lord’s work is expected to do –his work with little complaining or argument as Philippians 2: 14-16 points out. It is such leaders who stand out after all because their work speaks for itself.
After you are called
Bishop Kwashi therefore stressed the need for anyone who is called to have humility towards the people they are supposed to guide as Micah 6:8 stresses as what the Lord requires of anyone who has been shown what is good.
“Pride will get you nowhere. There are situations which you will not have power over. Look at how natural disasters devastate millions of people,” he said, “A flood or hurricane can wash away all that property you have amassed. But the good you do will touch people and stay in their hearts.”
So, instead of going around beating your chest that you have been called, spread the good news about the Lord who has put you in that position and the wonders he can do.
And when it is time for you to pass on that responsibility to someone else, do so. The bishop gave an example of a time when he was at a restaurant with his wife. The restaurant was Chinese and dishes were served on a revolving table where you had to wait until the dish was in front of you before you served. The bishop kept on waiting for a specific dish and took several servings but his wife was quick to remind him to let others also enjoy the dish.
The lesson here was that he had had his turn and therefore had to let others have theirs. This is a lesson many people have preached about in respect to our leaders. That and the call against corruption and taking advantage of the people you are leading.
What the bishop preached about was therefore not new but it was refreshing to hear it from someone else. And that is what Bishop Kwashi is all about, taking the gospel beyond Jos, which is no wonder that he is the International Chairman of Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA).
For his closing remarks, he brought up a topic we don’t like to talk about –hell. He said he lives his life, believing that hell exists.
“My life on earth has been terrible. My life has been threatened. I am not a wealthy man monetarily. So imagine if I died only to continue suffering in eternal life. I would be a very foolish man to let this happen,” is how he put it. A profound message. Lead your life while looking forward to prosperity in heaven instead of looking for it on earth, with all its troubles only to find more trouble in hell. Therefore it is important to make yourself available to be called so that you can share God’s goodness.