April 26, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’ve been practicing for a long time now. So, why can’t I be more like Jesus?
I was standing in line waiting to go through the metal detector and into the supermarket. The line is long and moving slowly. A man walks up beside me and then deliberately steps right in front of me in the queue (“line”, for you Americans). I am infuriated and say some snide comment to him about his rude and inconsiderate behavior. What is he thinking? How could he be so rude? A better question is why did I get so mad so quickly? I’ve been practicing for so long now. So, why can’t I be more like Jesus?
It’s been a long day. Julie and I decide to order chicken and chips (“fries”, for you Americans) from the only place in Kitale that claims they can deliver. We’ve done this before and thus we don’t expect any difficulty. An hour and a half later there is still no food. I call the delivery guy and ask him, Where are you? He tells me. He’s about a mile from my house. How long have you been there? About an hour. What?!? Does that mean my food is cold? Yes. Why didn’t you call me? He has no credit on his phone. Were you ever going to call me? How could he, as he has no credit on his phone. Why didn’t you bring the food to my house? He doesn’t know the way. I’m telling you now how to get here. He doesn’t seem to understand. I’m telling you now how to get here in Swahili. He doesn’t seem to understand. Stay where you are and I’ll come to you to get the food. He grunts something unintelligible. I go to where he says he is. He isn’t there. I drive around the neighborhood looking for him. I finally find him. Why didn’t you stay where you were? He says he was looking for my house. I try and pay him and take the food. He has no change and I am not at my house so I can’t go in and get change either. I refuse to pay for the food because of his incompetence. I am angry and tell him to take the phone back to his manager so I can complain to her about him. How can he be so incompetent? A better question is why can’t I be more like Jesus? I’ve been practicing at it for a long time now.
I’m at a little roadside restaurant drinking a cup of coffee and doing some work on my laptop. The man standing before me is the seventh person in the last half an hour that has stopped to talk to me. Like all the others before him he is begging for money. Like all the others before him he starts by being kind. Who am I? What am I doing here? How long have I been here? Where am I from? What is America like? Can I give him some money? I’m looking at him. He’s not poor or destitute. He’s not starving or sick. He’s not naked and cold. He was just passing by and saw an expat (“foreigner”, for you Americans) and saw his opportunity to possibly get a free handout. I sigh and groan. Should I go into the “dependency spiel” I went into with the 6 previous guys. No, I’m out of patience. I tell him to “get lost”. How can he be so shameless, so audacious, so brazen, so insolent, so impertinent? A better question is why can’t I be more like Jesus? I’ve been practicing at it for a long time now.
Yes, all of these things happened in just the last week alone. Yet, all of these people are the people I am trying to reach here with the love of Jesus. How am I supposed to reach them with the gospel if I’m not loving them like Jesus? How can I start a church and be their pastor (hopefully more on that next month) if I can’t be more like Jesus? Lord, help me to be more like Jesus so I can love your people in Kenya more. Help me be more like Jesus so the gospel here in Kitale can be more effective in people’s lives. Help me be more like Jesus so that I can start a church that shines like a beacon in a dark world. Help me be more like Jesus for your glory in Kenya.
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
Visit their blog!