Sunday, May 03, 2009

AECO

Well today was AWA (Africa Wins Again). I share, yet another AWA experience with you, not to whine or seek your sympathy, but because I need a good intro to set up what I really want to share with you. I think you will be blessed if you persevere.

Yesterday, I needed to run a few errands. I went to the bank to pick up my bank card that was eaten by the bank machine on my ARP day a few blogs ago. I had to wait in line to get money at the ATM and went to Shoprite where I saw a rat run under the fruit dispensers. I was just glad Steph wasn’t there. The look on this Mzungu’s face who was standing there was priceless. Then after getting my food, I went to the VAT refund government place to get a document for my director’s car which was supposed to be ready three weeks ago but because a machine is down, it has been delayed. I looked through all the papers and then after that she looked through another stack, she found it. She seemed to denote that it wasn’t complete. But right then she called someone or someone called her, so I waited and waited and waited and waited. I waited maybe 15-20 minutes while she was on the phone to find out if it indeed was not ready. Finally I interrupt the phone call and she said, “No, it is not ready. Come back tomorrow.”The phone call wasn’t about my paper. She was talking about something entirely different. She could have just said, “It isn’t ready. You can go.” But, she didn’t. Then I went to Africacolors to get Pete’s handmade cool Africa matching dress and chitenge for his daughter and wife. Well, I got there and there was a matching chitenge, but it was to a shirt that we ordered for someone else instead of the dress. But, what, I… O.K. I bought it anyway. TIA. This is Africa. You do stuff like that. Then I went to pick up our Mosquito Net and when I got there, he didn’t have a receipt which we need to get reimbursed out of our work funds. So, I told him to wait and I would follow him to his shop which was 15 minutes away. But, when I got back to where he was, he had left and now I waited 30 or so minutes for him to go there and then come back. When he got back, I examined the mosquito net to find some big stains on the white edges of the mosquito net to which he said would wash off. He promised me that they would wash off. But, I said that I shouldn’t have to wash the mosquito net that I was buying. He agreed with that point. He also had added poles opening for the top which he was sure that the madam (Stephanie) had ordered (which she hadn’t). I took the mosquito net anyway, because TIA. This is Africa. You do stuff like that. He promised to fix it if the stain didn’t come out J Anyway, so I got home late that night, happy.

Happy, you gasp. You must be sarcastic!?!? Why happy? Well, because I was culsive. I was culsving. I culsived. I was culsivating.

Culsive? What do you mean, you culsived?

Well, so, you know that sign we had made, Welcome to the Culsive ACTION Zambia Pastor’s Conference? Remember how I told them I wanted the “Welcome to the” to be in cursive and then they wrote the culsive as part of the sign? Remember that. Well, I thought it was all just for a good story. As a solution, I covered it up with a 2009 computer print out. Well, by the third day, the wind was so strong, it blew that 2009 paper covering right off. I guess it was just meant to be. It was a culsive conference and nothing could hinder what fate and destiny and sovereignty had predetermined. The conference was about stewardship, how our time, talents and treasures are God’s and we are to use what He has given us to glorify Him while living not for this earth, but for eternity. Time in particular is a hard one. We love our time and we want to do what we want to do. But, learning that God is in control, gain new perspective about living for eternity, and recognizing that we plan our days but God determines our steps has given me new perspective in how I treat my days, hours and minutes. In addition, I was teaching an inductive Bible Study at the men’s group at our church on Psalm 1 about meditating on the word, day and night and so I was thinking about that as well…

And so, all of this went into that day, and while everything was going wrong and I was wasting all this time, I was meditating, praying and being thankful and I was, well, culsive. See, the word culsive is a new word that I believe God has ordained to come into existence. I thought it meant something like how what you mean turns out to be something you don’t mean or something like that. But, boy was I wrong. I realized, the word culsive is a word that actually means, “how to rightly live for eternity when/during/in case the temporary life goes all wrongly, or how to live eternally in the temporary, or how to live beyond the circumstances.” Or something like that. See my days was wasting away in unproductivity and chaos, but I was living that time to the fullest for eternity by living beyond the circumstances. See, that day is long gone, but eternally, I’ll see that day, again, in eternity. By recognizing that if God is in control, and time is in His hands, then I should view the circumstances with joy instead of annoyance and thankfulness instead of complaining. I need to understand that if I am not in sin, than the situation I am in is His will. So, how do I respond? I best be culsivating. Well, how do I culsivate? Well we need, first, a better understanding of time.

There are two greek words for time – Chronos which is where we get our word chronometer from, it is the seconds that tick by on a clock, the time between the sun rises and the sun sets. But the other word is kairos which mean opportune time, or opportunity or a measure of time. It is the time which exists in chronos but instead of just ticking away into oblivion, it can actually become eternal. For example, work can be eternal when we do what Colossians 3:23-24 says in working as unto the Lord not for man. That work which is chronos becomes kairos because we are culsivating an attitude and perspective that we are working for God and thus as we work with all our hearts, we are promised eternal rewards. When we think outside of the especially American mindset of tasks, of getting things done, and being productive and task-oriented (those things are all good, but when life happen, what then?) and when we look beyond that to serving God with a culsivating heart, we grow in our faith, our attitude and hence our actions remain peaceful and joyful and lastly, we store up rewards in Heaven.

So the first is to redefine time. Sometimes, what appears to be wasted time can actually be a God-opportune time. We get so busy and frustrated about wasting (chronos) time that we actually waste the (kairos) time which God enabled for His glory and purposes.

Second, we must reorient ourselves around a book that is eternal, through and through. Psalm 1:1-2: Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. We are happy, that is the word blessed, when we delight in the Word (above all things, like TV, sports, food, money, etc.) and marinate in the word day and night. His word is what keeps us culsivating. His word is eternal. It helps us think eternally. It helps us live eternally. It helps us rise above the temporary of life and think, sleep, live eternally.

Lastly, I think we need to let truth lead instead of emotions. When you start getting frustrated and you try to culsivate, but you just can’t calm down, you just can’t keep the blood from boiling, so you give up. You need to culve even if your body doesn’t want to… Let truth lead your emotions and not vice versa.

I think culsiving is definitely something that requires practice. I imagine it will get easier, the more we do it!

So all that to say, as my blood was boiling and my sighs were sailing, by turning to the word, by praying, by meditating, by seeing it as God’s appointed opportunity and looking for his presence and plan, by resisting all urges to lose it (which I have to be honest and say I did a few times) I culsivated and as a result, I was happy.

So, what’s the lesson here. Live your God-given time for eternity by culsivating all of the moments God has given you. That is the ultimate way of practicing Godly stewardship. We can’t be good stewards of our money, our time or our talents if we have our hearts, eyes, ears and mouths focused here on Earth and we let earth determine our attitudes, our moods and our peace. In essence, to live a culsivating life should be the goal of our lives. So, if I can just remember this the next time everything seems to be going wrong. Well, one thing is for sure, I will have no lack of opportunities because AECO(Africa ensures culsivating opportunities).

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Wow Steve - this is just what such a task-oriented person as myself needs to hear. Culsivating feels like an unjustifiable failure to me, but God is in control, so what do I have to fear?