I am and always have been a teacher’s child (“mtoto wa mwalimu”); my mother began teaching long before I was born and is about to finally retire (yey!! Party loading!) At one point, she was a teacher in the primary school I attended. That had its privileges and limitations. Naturally, I was treated in a certain, often uncomfortable, manner by my peers in school. In fact, I was sure a hidden list of expectations had been drawn up for all teachers’ children that we were expected to meet. Otherwise, we would be severely reprimanded. So really, I did not need to draw more attention, yes?
In May 1992, I put myself on a scale, added an even bigger list of expectations to the existing one and allowed my audience to write out the marking scheme. What did I do? I announced that I had given my life to Christ over the Easter Break of 1992. And I have to tell you- I. WAS. NOT. PREPARED. I was not prepared. I mean, if I lied, it was amplified; if I dared say I listened to a boy band that was popular then, it was head line news; if I dared say I had a crush, it was national news, “fresh off the press”!!! I. WAS. NOT. PREPARED.
With time, I realized that for the rest of my life, everything I did would be weighed and measured against that announcement. And I have to be honest with you, there are times it would have been easier to walk away. But then, I found grace and mercy for when I missed the mark, and decided to aim at being, as my Mother once told me, “Spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.”
In the Gospel of Luke, it is written that Jesus walked into the synagogue in the city of Nazareth and made his own “public announcement” (You can read more about that in Luke 4:16-30). True to form, the community immediately pulled out their version of a marking scheme. They did not waste time, those men. No. Their conclusion? Jesus was up to no good!!
They first told Him, “We know your father” . His response made an already bad situation worse, I mean, their blood boiled. Then they took action. They marched Him out of the city, found the nearest cliff and were intent on killing him! In fact, I suspect that some of the witnesses who testified at His trial relied on this incident to strengthen the case against Him. (By the way, could this be the origin of Kenyan key board warrior-ism? You don’t think so? Ebu try make an outrageous announcement of how you intend to lift living standards in your community if elected into bla bla office…. We Kenyans, we will waste no time!! By the time your mother gets the news that you are seeking nomination, we will have found and interviewed your kindergarten teacher, high school dorm matron, your dean of students in campus, first employer, first boy/girl friend, dug up your past for dirt, found a record (any record!) of your wrong doing and in 24 hours, throw you off a cliff! Chills are for penguins, I say!!! But, I digress.)
Being a Christian is a tough call. Many times society and friends will remind you, ” We know your Father! We even have videos of you doing such and such! We were with you the other day at …. doing …..” Our weaknesses are amplified. We stumble and fall short of the mark many, many times. But we cannot give up.
So keep lifting the standard of Jesus high. When you stumble, pick yourself up. Make that public announcement as often as you can: I am a Christian.
And even when society wants to throw us off a cliff, Jesus will cause us to walk right through the crowd and find safety. I promise.