Thought Leaders Series: 2017

The World of Work

When Jesus asserted that we cannot serve God and money (Luke 16), he was advancing an argument against the world of commerce. His ideas were centred around the early forms of capitalism.

By way of context, with centralised governments the burden of taxation had increased significantly. For instance, colonial masters charged their subjects for central and local administration, and a percentage of this revenue is returned to the State’s treasury. The impact of this policy is a massive economic gulf between the rich and poor. Most of the elites will offer their services to their colonial masters in one capacity or another. They serve as tax collectors, magistrates, administrators etc. The funds they made might be used to acquire lands, which the poor cultivated.
There was always competition among these poor farmers as a result of pressure from landowners for yield, thereby creating a toxic environment within their social class. Community spirit is broken, cooperation eroded, and social capital diminishes. People are left behind. The sick, disabled, and vulnerable ones are seen as liabilities.

We fast forward to the 21st century, and Jesus’ indictment still holds. We have a broken system. The world of work is competitive, aggressive, selfish and very tribal. Marx argues that the reason we are largely unhappy with work is because we no longer do what we enjoy, but rather, we are producing things which gives us little or no benefit directly. As such work becomes a burden.

So, many argue that our world of work is responsible for much of our social ills today. Workers are stressed, people are fearful about going to work, people are living on pain killers and stimulants. Relationships suffer and our communities collapse. Even worse, as we are slowly loosing what is left of work to machines, the rate of suicide is rising fast.
Added to this is the fact that without being involved in these dehumanising activities one can hardly survive in this world. Our basic needs like food, shelter, clothing; depends on this system. But in every sector: government, charities (sadly even churches), social enterprise, private; the world of work offers little or no value to our general well being. It is either heavily bureaucratic, dangerous, or serving the interest of a few.
Therefore, it is not the configuration, but the overarching idea. What Marx calls the Superstructure. This system enslaves humanity, and it stops us from harnessing our true potentials. Jesus saw it, hence he called for reordering. In similar vein David Platt argues:

“A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church.”

Reachout | Revive | Recover


The Words of Our Elders: John C Maxwell

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning. ~ John C. Maxwell

The words of our elders, are words of wisdom.


Spiritual Intelligence: The Best Is The Enemy Of The Good

“The Best Is The Enemy Of The Good” ~ Voltaire, A wise Italian

Good morning friends. The title of this morning’s post is from the opening line of a poem by Voltaire entitled, “A wise Italian”. As a very creative person my drive for perfection often leaves me miserable. One minute I’m in awe, the next minute I’m tearing it apart again. However, I noticed that as I grew older, I am not as cruel with myself as I used to be; as a result, I have developed strategies that enable me to stop wisely. The quest for perfection is not of itself the problem, the motive is the one to be brought up for cross examination. Our motives play a big role in what we do, and it has a very interesting way of providing satisfaction or despair.

With that in mind, let us consider this passage from one of Luke’s letters:

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Apollos was very good at what he knew, albeit limited, but his passion and drive kept him innovative and relevant. He was able to engage effectively, putting forward a very convincing case for what he knew and believed. Then through divine providence his

gift finally made room for him

He found favour with Priscilla and Aquila. He was humble enough to appreciate their investment in his ministry, and through their love and mentorship, his work was greatly enhanced.

I guess the secret is to start where we are, and to make the most of what we have. As long as our motivation is good, our work will be pleasing to God and it will provide benefits to humanity; thereby withstanding the tests of time. Dear friends, in God’s kingdom it’s all about His purpose, and not our ego. Paul made this very interesting statement in his effort to encourage friends in Corinth to be mindful of the motivation behind their work:

each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

In closing I’ll leave you with this thought from the book of proverbs. It has always served as a yardstick for appraisal of what I do:

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.

I pray that our work will stand before the King of kings on His return. Amen.


~ Sabali

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