I have had a fully packed Easter Holiday and have lessons I took away from everything that happened. After spending the whole day in juvenile prison on Friday – meeting boys and girls – I thought I was going to have a smooth sailing end of Easter where I envisioned Chelsea FC having 7 massive points ahead of Victor Wanyama & Co. Instead, I had the misfortune of watching Kurt Happy Zouma make a mess of things.
And by the end of 90+ minutes, the massive points had been cut into a paltry 4 points where the likes of Meshack Owaga, Karl Heinz Tundo, Radido Okech and Roy Victor Swagger ended up having their revenge! You could hear my heart beat, every time Marcus Rashford bullied and waltzed his way out from a sea of blue jerseys, blue shorts and white socks. In the end, I left knowing there was really, nothing to smile about even for a passive Chelsea FC fan like me.
An Easter full of props and sweet surprises
7 hours before the game, I witnessed something that made my heart to beat in anticipation and in active action. It so happens that the preacher was talking about the ultimate Gift that God offered through the death of Jesus Christ at the cross on Mount Calvary. The way he said took me by surprise.
“This is a gift,” Rev. Dr. J Karita Mbagara said, removing and waving a crisp 500 shillings note in his right hand. “It is a gift freely given and waiting for the person who is ready to receive it.
“Who will come for this gift?” he asked as the whole church became so silent you could have heard a pin drop, that is, if someone would have thought of dropping one. “Who will come for this gift?” Rev. Karita asked again.
A few hands rose in the stiff air while the muscles of my legs moved, willing me to spring into action. Strangely enough – and much as I tried to – I could rise from my seat and walk towards the preacher. I was routed to my seat. And before the preacher could ask for a third time, one of our pastors ran towards the altar and received the ‘gift’.
“A gift must fulfill two things,” the preacher continued. “It must be offered and it must be received! That is what the cross on Mount Calvary is all about. And once we receive the gift, we become more than conquerors.”
Reflections on the 500 shillings prop
Of course, you don’t expect money to be used to illustrate a point in church and expect the matter to go down just like that. The first whisper I heard – from where I was seated, my heart beating and wondering what would have happened (much later on) – was that the preacher was going to ‘receive’ his money back. Which got me thinking about the possibilities of the 500 bob being a prop.
However, I thought more about faith. Perhaps, there were many people who desperately needed money for bus fare from church or young man who needed money for a coffee date. The moment the preacher waved the 500 note in his hand, many people raised their hands, others wanted to dash towards the pulpit while the rest hoped and believed the money was simply a prop to be used during and to be returned after the service was over. All the same, this assumption doesn’t do credit to the power of faith.
Whether or not you may think it was a prop or not, having faith alone doesn’t matter. What matter is putting that same faith into action. Our faith is fully activated to achieve the impossible when we take a step of faith through action. There were many people who needed the money the most – I know I did, for transport to juvenile prison this coming Friday morning! Yet the person who rose and ran towards the preacher is the ONLY one who received it as a gift. Think about that!
Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames
While I was watching Chelsea FC stumble at the Theatre of Nightmares (for purposes of this sharing), the young man I have been mentoring and coaching in the ways of God was at the Prestige Plaza watching Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames. It was late in the evening, yesterday when I heard the good news.
“I went to watch the play that you guys had told me about,” Elisha said while the two of us were washing the car. “And something good happened.”
“What is it?” I asked
“I gave my life to Christ and I am now a new creation and Child of God!” he said, a bright smile splitting his face.
“Wow, wow, wow!” I said. “That’s the best news I have heard today! Welcome to the family!”
In the end – after spending Friday meeting juvenile prisoners, sharing about John 3:16, sewing buttons, watching faith in action and having nothing to smile about from Chelsea vs Man United, there was a sweet surprise waiting for my wife and I. I have been sharing the gospel of Christ and His saving grace with Elisha since December last year. Hearing news of his salvation is the best news that surpasses Chelsea FC being 7 points clear!
Props – just like they are in a play or film – are not permanent, the plot is. To me, props are temporary set backs and failures like not having enough bus fare and the courage to keep meeting and working with boys in juvenile prison. The plot, which is the main thing, is having a vision where I keep seeing boys leave prison as fully impacted young men who are full of conscience, character and the courage to become better men in the society. My plot – always – becomes better whenever I consider the Way of the Cross where my victory belongs.