Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS TO LONGTERM (CORPORATE) CHALLENGES PART 1

July 7, 2006
REFLECTIONS

« Each of us holds a key to a door of change that can only be
opened from inside (Martin Luther).
« Everything in life has an expiry date on it including you and all
that God has bestowed on you.
« Aspire to inspire before you expire.
« Create a culture that catches people doing right instead of
constantly looking for what is wrong.
« Those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly
uneducated . . . no matter how instructed they may be (President Columbia
University).

TEXT:
Matt 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be
hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead
they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your
good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. NIV

Sometimes I find myself tongue tied and lacking confidence to respond to
the words in the last chapter of the Revelation. ¡¥Amen come, Lord
Jesus¡¦ (Revelation 22:20b). If Christ¡¦s second coming is today, what
would happen to those relatives, those neighbours, those good people who
have not yet known the saving grace of God?
There are people who have not known the fulfilment that comes as one
progress toward a desired destination that is motivated as one unveils
their purpose in life. Each of us has a purpose for which he was created
and failure to know that purpose make people settle for other activities
that occupy time and give temporary satisfaction. That became live when I
realised I could not send the emails with ease because some people had
stolen the telephone cables in our region. Thieves, who take many
different forms, can annoy for they just come from behind undoing what
people have sweat to put together. So much effort put into how to expand
the national cake are nullified by leaks that can be best explained by
those grandmother fables of girls who would spend the whole day fetching
water with leaking guards. Corruption and stealing negate human effort.
Are there beliefs that lead to value systems that encourage people to
devalue themselves and others by coming up with quick solutions to what
they see as their problems? Am thinking of what a friend told me that
seems to be one of the main causes of mindset that breeds and sustains
chronic poverty. My friend said that we people in tropical Africa tend not
to seek solutions to challenges we face instead we look for a way out.
Personal and short¡Vterm solutions to corporate challenges can be an
obstruction to growth of the community.
Some examples of short-term way of escape are;
When the roads are scarred, those with money, power, and authority buy
stronger shock absorbers for their vehicles, when there is water shortage,
the solution is not to seek to address the cause of the shortage but to
buy big tanks to cater for personal needs. While filling huge domestic
tanks with water, the neighbours downstream are having no water at all.
It is easier to search for green pastures than to make pastures green. Is
it not true that when a school is mismanaged and standards are falling,
the well to do parents look out for better schools for their children
instead of seeking to improve what they have? People would rather leave
the country, or move to another church/school/company than question the
status quo and so those not able to move are left to languish in the
dilapidating environment. Those who were not able to transfer to better
schools or communities or whatever the community defines as better develop
a thinking that they are lacking because those who had some light or
ability failed to come up with inclusive policies that would improve the
status of all. Those who feel like they are fenced in may respond by
getting sharper instruments to cut through the burglar proofed homes, cut
the water pipes and generally become a nuisance in the community. Selfish
and shallow personalised solutions only work for the few rich (lucky) and
strengthen beliefs that lead to corruption and poverty.

Focus on exit signals comes from desire to escape present circumstances.
Somehow when the controlling beliefs are bent on not seeking solutions by
escaping, even good messages that would anchor people in becoming
transformers of others can be used as a way of escape and avoidance of
others. People who are born again can be over concerned about their
security and so keep off the world. You need to start sensing danger
when more value is attached to group such as church activities and
gathering of believers rather than strategising on how to impact the
world. Church gathered can lose its saltiness when it becomes an escape
place from the world to which we have been sent to influence the systems
and structures in which people operate and the constitutions that govern
people. When the good people keep off the places that beliefs and values
are developed and fed they unconsciously give permission to whoever is
available to set the standards. Failing to be part of what goes on around
and having a running away leaning of mind is a way that good people
unconsciously feed beliefs that restrict others so that they accept defeat
without a fight. People find it hard to live with beliefs that are
inconsistent and so they relate what they consider to be the weaker belief
to align with the stronger belief. The message of saving grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ can be stooped so that it fits to the belief of short
term escape. This ¡¥peace keeping¡¦ belief that seems to be deeply
embedded in our philosophy of life has crippled many families,
institutions, churches, education institutions and countries. (Christ
said blessed are the peacemakers not peacekeepers Matthew 5:9).

Short-term solutions though deeply entrenched in some of our worldviews
tend to contradict what the bible says about Christian faith. Christ
coming on earth as a baby that took the process of growth instead of
appearing as an angel who could quickly explain issues, teaches us that
the process matters. Get -rich-quick-schemes such as lotteries,
sweepstakes, 'Harambees', grants, and so on, rob people of meaningful
fulfilment. Dependence on handouts meets people¡¦s desire for material
possessions but denies them the pride of gaining through effort.
Individuals who take advantage from the quick fix are robbed of personal
responsibility, gratification and pride that come from self-development
and self-deployment. Our salvation is meaningful when it makes us obey
Christ by going to the world, impacting the structures and the systems in
which people live in a way that opens up the paths for growth and
transformation.


THE ROLE OF CHRISTIANS IN A SOCIETY THAT HAS TENDENCY TO COME UP WITH
PERIPHERAL SHORT TERM RESPONSES AND SHORT CUTS TO CORPORATE CHALLENGES
THAT REQUIRE LONG-TERM VIEW.
1. While this world is not our final destination, we have a
mission that has an influence on our destination. The key issue that
should concern a Christian in a cross cultural situation is that of
Lordship. What is the source of information that the men and women use to
determine what is right or wrong? It is those who are secure because they
draw their daily strength from a dynamic relationship with the living God
who can have courage to make connections that would pull the fragments in
our societies that will make structures that enrich all earthly residents.
2. Prayerfully examine the root beliefs and values that
bring about the behaviour that leads to the shortage that leads to
unhealthy scramble for the dwindling resources. Giving one meal in week
or even seven days, giving some bursaries to a few children, giving some
old clothes, or coming up with orphanages, etc. is sure better than doing
nothing but is just like wiping the cobweb while the spider continues to
produce more. Sponsoring a child as some people do is a good idea but
active search for that which is causing parents not be able to take care
of their children should be addressed. What do you think happens to the
esteem of a man who has to compete with a sponsor over the discipline of
his son or daughter? Think of these words ¡¥We have mocked their important
people; we are taking and humiliating their fathers. What are the children
expected to do? Look elsewhere? . . . so what shall we have gained?¡¦
Whether it is the school teacher, the social community worker, the NGO
social worker, the administrator, or whoever mocks and makes people lose
their face and dignity is the real perpetrator of evil in the society.
Christians in the society should be on the look our of acts that make
people react by multiplying evil. Some punishments may cause temporary
discomfort and plant a seed of bitterness that becomes real bitter in the
community.
3. Encourage visionary transformational living. People that
are driven by a vision that is deep inside that appeal to the highest
ideals will not settle for gambling and lottery. No one has been known as
successful, who did not have an idea of what he wanted and where he was
going. Life is meaningful when one knows that he/she is significant and
that the choices they make are part of their success. Be an example by
being where people are acknowledging that they are great and very
important. What is your normal response when faced with unfamiliar
situation, fight or flee? The bible encourages us to resist the devil and
he will flee from us (James 4:7). We need to distinguish between evil, the
devil and God¡¦s image bearers. People learn best when they see others
like them going through the same experiences. Our being with the people
will make them secure to ask us questions of why we are hopeful even
though we are going through similar circumstance. If you found a tree has
fallen on the road, would you take time to remove it so that those who
come after you can pass, or would you go round it and hope that someone
else will do it?
4. Pursue knowledge about people and how they come up with
what they value. No community can live without a constitution. People come
up with rules that proscribe and prescribe some behaviour. Those rules of
do not eat, do not touch are what constitute traditions that make the
structure that determine how people live. Change that skews people toward
godliness has to start at the very basic belief level that takes the
structures into consideration. As a part of the community, get to
understand the need that given behaviour meets. How did people come up
with that which they consider to be normal and is that normal in line with
the bible normal? Are we emphasising the end product more than the process
as we evaluate success in our churches, institutions and community? Is
the final grade that a student gets in an examination more valued than the
process of learning? When the greater value is attached to the
achievement of end product more than the process or means of getting that
end, en environment that breeds corruption is set in place and all vices
come up. For people to change that need should be somehow provided for.
The bible has answers to our lives needs and it is those who meditate upon
it that can speak its truths so that people know how to meet their needs.
Hebrews 12:12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13
"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled,
but rather healed. NIV
Short-term solutions such as would make intelligent people steal copper
telephones cables that affect connections of a whole region may give them
some money but how long will that money last? Do thieves expect other
thieves to steal from them? The culture that prevailed when Jesus Christ
was on earth had a way of solving the problem that thieves create, hung
them on a tree until they are fully dead (Any similarity with our culture
today?). As Jesus demonstrated on that Good Friday, that listening and
providing hope is the way out. ¡§Today you will be with me in paradise¡¦.
Hating and killing thieves does not get rid of the belief which make them
act the way they do.
Africa is in need of people who will listen, examine and think through the
issues and challenges that are facing her people everyday. Those who are
anchored in the Creator through willing obedience to Christ, who is the
way, are the best to provide the way. Time spent in reading,
understanding and meditating on the word of God, time spent in prayer, in
fellowship with other believers equip the Christian to go to have
influence in his world. A Christian who has no system of reading the word,
and probably waits for others to tell him/her what God is saying is
already trapped in the short-term mindset. You cannot lack excellence in
your private life and hope to escape mediocrity. To be an answer we must
be grounded individually and as groups in the living word. There are no
shortcuts in this life and each situation is different and must be
examined.


Would you like to see someone who God has appointed to make a difference
in the lives of people in your community and around the world, look in a
mirror?