Tue, 06 Feb 2018 13:39:55 +0000
By Andrew B.C Njovu
THERE are only two people that I know who had advance knowledge of their being taken away and these are Moses, see Deuteronomy 34: 1 -6 and Elijah, see, 2 Kings 1-11. There could be others but not to my knowledge.
My question is, how would you live your life, if the Holy Ghost was to whisper to you that, you only had one year left to live on this planet Earth? What would be our reaction to the revelation? What would be your priorities?
In the Gospel of Luke 13: 6-9 Jesus used a fig tree to lecture to his disciples on a very important matter that affects us as believers and this is a matter that is crucial to live after death. The fig tree had produced no fruit for three years and the owner of the fig tree was getting concerned.
He asked the gardener to cut it down because it was useless. The gardener pleaded with the Master to let the fig tree go on for one more year and the owner reluctantly agreed to the idea.
The fig tree that was being referred to, was the Nation of Israel. The owner of the vineyard is God Himself and the vinedresser is Jesus Christ, who is our redeemer, who is the way, the truth and the life.
Israel was being given one more chance to live to the expectation of the Creator or risk being uprooted and thrown away if she failed to bear fruit.
St Paul however in one of his letters to the Romans says now “there is no Jew or Gentile, we are all one in Christ” Romans .. The fig tree now is no longer the people of Israel, but the entire Body of Christ. The Christians. And those branches which do not bear fruit will be cut off, John 15….. The purpose of the tree was to bear fruit.
Who amongst us, would plant a mango tree, an orange, a guava and if these do not bear fruit, will not cut them down and replace them with seedling that would give us fruits? If you and me, sinful as we are, expect our mango, our guava or orange tree that we plant to give us fruits so as to improve on our diet, why should God not expect the same from us his creation?
Yes, the purpose of the tree was to bear fruit. The gardener had been patient with the tree for three years. You and me are here on planet earth for a purpose. Our purpose is to bear fruit. See Gal. 5 v 22 “ for the fruit of the spirit are Love, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self control and for such there is no law.”
Let me remind the readers that before God these congregations that we belong to are not important. We may be Catholics, UCZ, Anglicans, Dutch Reformed Church, Watchtowers, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostal churches or whatever, the list is long – these congregations are nothing and I am using the word “nothing’ in its entirety.
These associations that we belong to are nothing if we do not bear fruits that pleases God.
In John 15; 1-2 We hear Jesus Himself making a public declaration that “I am the true vine and my father is the vinedresser, every branch in Me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit.” So the issue of bearing fruit in our Christian lives is crucial. If I knew that, I only had one year more left to live, I would make a few things as my priorities and these would include;
- Go into serious prayer and fasting. It is only through prayer that we talk to God and ask for forgiveness of sin.
- Do way completely with social/leisure engagements. Jesus warned us about these things. He said “what would it benefit a man to win the whole world, if in the end he would lose his own life? Mt; 8 v 36.
He also told that young ruler “go and sell all your possessions and come and follow me’ … Luke: 18; 18-25. In Mt 13 v 22 Jesus shows us that the cares of the world and deceitful of riches choke the word planted in us and we fail to bear fruit.”
- In Mt;’ 25; 35 -45 Jesus gives us a linkage of how it will be on the Day of Judgment. He told us that on that day he would say “I was in hospital, I was in prison, I was naked, I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was lonely, you never cared about me.” With this in mind, I would be a regular visitor at hospitals and prisons.
- These are issues of poverty which Jesus was talking about and we need always to campaign for pro- poor policies and denounce those government officials who plunder resources meant to uplift the welfare of the poor and marginalised.
- In the parable of the “lost sheep” found in Luke 15: 1- 6 we are reminded that “there would be joy in Heaven among the Angels over one sinner who repents than over 99 good people.”
- This means that every Christian should participate in works of redemption of lost souls. With that in mind, I would work day and night to convert at least one of those sex workers found in our streets, bars and brothels
- “They need counselling and assistance.” Jesus said to them “ truly I say to you that tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you’” Mt 21: 31
- I was baptised in the Catholic Church, I have been brought up in the Catholic Church, I have preached the Gospel of Justice and Peace on the platform of the Catholic Church – I have therefore been a member of this Catholic family.
Together as a Christian family we have shared many things. We have worshipped together. I would therefore, engage a Catholic priest as my spiritual consultant to help me deepen my reflection during that one year.
The above would be some of my priorities. I do not know what your priorities would be. Some of you may ask and say “but Mr Njovu why wait to do the above when these issues should be our daily engagement? I agree, these should be our daily engagement as Christian, but how many of us have a programme, a calendar to guide our Christian lives?
Even those New Year resolutions that we make every DecemberJanuary, How many of us take them seriously? Some of us will only take things seriously either when we are on our death bed or when miraculous you have a revelation of things to come.
I have shared with you my, what my priorities would be. Please drop me a line on my email: email@example.com if you want to share anything about bearing fruit in our Christian lives.
God of Abraham, you the Holy one of Israel, help me and those like me, who hunger and thirst for your Kingdom, help us to bear fruit. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
The author is a member of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace ( CCJP) in Kasama Archdiocese ; email: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 0964691749, 0961835055