LET YOUR light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble and good deeds, and recognize and honour and raise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.
– Matt 5:16 (Amplified Bible)
For the next few weeks we would be looking at attitudes at work places, especially among Christians and the testimony it speaks of us.
Imagine that every time one person does a Christian act a light shines forth from her box, and when her act us unchristian no light shines from the box. I believe this would give a vivid picture of the cosmic effect of our individual deeds. The motto of Salt & Light Ministries, the organizers of this conference, is a summarize passage from St. Matthew's Gospel Chapters 5:13-16, on the Sermon on the Mount. I therefore decided to be guided by this passage when I was desperately fishing around a relevant note on which to base this address.
I will crave your indulgence and set out the full text of the passage, taken from the Authorized Version.
You are the salt f the earth; but if the salt lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast, and you to be trodden under the foot of men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt. 5:13-16.
In His Sermon on the Mount – Matt. 5-7, Christ addressed His first flock and thereby set the tone for His entire Ministry. Christ, whilst reaffirming the old law, also redefined it and laid down the prescriptive attributes f a true Christian. In closing the Sermon, Christ said – Matt 7:26-27;
And every one that hearth these saying of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: “And when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and great was the fall of it.”
The clear meaning of thus concluding statement is that Christ expects the daily acts of a Christian to be firmly grounded in His teachings. Without such foundation, we labour in vain.
The Dimmed Light
When we take the most cursory around us, we see a proliferation of churches, prayer groups and prayer centres all over the place.
On Sunday's and Christian festival days, the sheer number of people attending church services, and the exuberance of their fervent prayers and acts of worship are clear and loud enough for al to see and hear. Indeed, it seems to me that never in the history of this country have there been so many people, volubly professing Christianity. Likewise, in numerous workplaces one sees posters, mottos and plaques depicting various aspects of Christianity, as well as workers reading Bibles and Bible tracts and holding prayer fellowships at odd hours. At the same time, on the secular level, never since the independence of the country has there been such a concentrated effort at structural reform through the institution of theories and prescriptive mechanisms, social and economic regeneration and growth, as we have witnessed over the recent years.
One would, therefore, expect that with such a unique convergence of fervent religious observance and structured secular activity, this nation ought to be firmly paced upon the road to a truly coherent and holistic reformation. And yet, conversely, never before has this nation faced such a crises of decay and stagnation in all aspects of its life; moral, spiritual, physical and economic.
What has gone wrong? Has Christianity failed us, or have we failed as Christians?
The answer as relevant today as it has since its foundation. It is in the daily application and observance of these teachings that we have failed to bring meaning into what claim to believe. In other words, although we have heard Christ's teachings, we doeth them not.
I wish to interpose here a couple of scenarios, which, although fictional, are enacted, in various permutations, day after day in too many workplaces in this country.
1. You enter a taxi in which the driver has pasted a sticker, “Jesus is my provider. Your ears are immediately assaulted by a loudly blaring radio sermon, poorly delivered in a horrible American accent, (I understand such phony accent is called “LAFA” (Locally Acquired Foreign Accent).
You politely request the driver to turn down the volume and he only makes a rude hissing sound between his tongue and teeth. He couldn't care less about your feelings. To top that, at the end of your journey he over charges you. When you protest, he contemptuously tells you 'man must eat'.
2. And here is a common situation in the home, the workplace of many women.
After what seemed a very successful crusade, a couple returns home, the ill-treated maid, who has been declare a witch by Evangelist X opens the front door. As soon as the couple arrives at home, they revert to their long-running cold war. The feelings between them are so dead that they can only communicate with each other through exchange or short notes (if they can read and write), or through the children as mediums. These are the Kofi tell your mother or tell your father” type of communicated members and crusaders that we often see in this country.
3. And there is a common scene from an office.
You have a 10:00 appointment on Monday morning, to discuss with the officer in charge of certain proposals you had previously forwarded to him.
He gave you this appointment himself. You arrive on time and walk into the general office. On various walls are displayed certificates attesting to the successful completion of numerous seminars, workshops, courses and other training programmes by the various persons named therein. You presume that those certificates were issued to some of the workers in the establishment. A number of people are sitting behind their desks, involved in various activities.
v There is an impeccably dressed young woman, in front of whom is a plaque that identifies her as the Secretary. She is staring lovingly into the hard mirror, busily refining her facial make-up and does not look up as you enter.
You therefore remain standing in front of her for another two minutes or so, before she looks up, and, with supercilious look, asks if she can help you. You learn from her that the officer in charge is yet to report for work, and you have to wait for him.
v Whilst waiting you look more closely at the comportment of the workers in the office. The Secretary after finishing with her face begins to play on her PC, interspersed with incoming and outgoing calls some of which are patently personal.
From her side of one such call, you deduce that she is seriously trying to enter the M-net Face of Africa Competition.
TO BE CONTINUED
Please remember to join us every Tuesday for our Bible Study at 5:30am – 6:00am on Sunny 88.7 FM.