“Do Not Be A Burden To Others!”(I Th. 2:9-12).
I take young people to the farm for daily pay farmwork. I get into private conversations with each of them in a bid to know how they manage their money. I try to encourage them to make proper use of their earnings.
I get to know that some of them spend their earnings in gambling. Some of them are addicted to the horse race gambling that is keeping many young people useless in the country. For some, as soon as they collect their wages, the best thing they do is change and go to “matango joints where they drink palm wine, sachet spirits and beer. For some, if what they earn is not finished they do not go home.
This hand-to-mouth kind of lifestyle is the bane of many of African youths.
(I know that gambling and heavy drinking is a way of fighting the “domination system” out of frustration. If the adversary is stronger than you, you beat yourself. But this is a topic for another day).
We do not just see these youths as farm hands. We encourage and urge them to live lives worthy of God, who calls us into his kingdom and glory.
We dissuade them from the horse game where they waste their hard-earned money. They spend time composing numbers and when the results are out you’ll always hear them crying how they missed by one number.
We keep telling them and we are telling you dear young ones, “a gambler never wins.” Whoever has the game is the only winner.
A clergyman was visiting a distant congregation. Each time he went to work in that congregation he slept in the house of an elder.
On this day as he was approaching the house of the elder, the elder’s five year old son who was playing outside saw him. As soon as he saw the clergyman he ran into the house and told his father, “Papa, that man that eats only fowl each time he comes is coming.”
The father went out only to realize that his pastor was the one his son was talking about.
Paul reminded the Christians in Thessalonica – and to us both clergy and laity – “Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you…”
In as much as “the labourer deserves his wages,” we shouldn’t be a burden to those to whom we preach the gospel.
Paul encourages the “tent-making ministry;” which of course should not swallow the work of ministry. The Very Rev Dr. F. A. Asana told us that it costs nothing to cut bitterleaf stems and plant around the manse as soon as you enter a new parish. When we have so planted, when we are transferred we should not also behave like the person who when he heard that he had been transferred cut down all plantain suckers. When asked, he said his successor does not like plantains.
Paul says we should be like fathers to the parishioners. We should be exemplary in holy, righteous and blameless living.
Our fatherly/motherly responsibilities include, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you to glory.
All Christians are matured to carry that fatherly and motherly responsibilities. That is what it means to be one another’s keeper!
My friend, are you a pastor, priest, deacon, elder, group leader, group member or a congregational member? Whatever you are, do not be a burden to others. Do not be known by the type of choice if food that you impose on the people! You too can give to others something to eat. Do not always be only on the receiving end!
Weekend prayer: Holy Spirit help me not to be a burden to others, but rather to be a touch-bearer and pathfinder. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray for self-reliant commitment among brethren.
Rev Babila Fochang.