Harare, Zimbabwe Convention – 2000
I don’t know in your life, what are things that you can remember. There are some people who do not have good memories, I’m one of them. Sometimes, I have heard of testimonies of old people who have gone a bit senile, but they remember the time that the workers came to them. They remember their testimony and I like to think of this hymn, “I never can forget the day, the lowly Saviour came my way.”
You know there’s some things that I don’t do … I don’t celebrate my birthday, a lot of people like to celebrate their birthday, but for myself, I don’t make a fuss of that. I’m not saying this to say it’s not good for those who celebrate birthdays, no. Because, when I was born, it was my parents who said I was born on a certain day … I can’t remember that…. too young! But there is something that I can remember, the day I made my choice. I’m sure all of you, when we sang that hymn, “I can never forget the day, the lowly Saviour came my way…” then at the end it speaks, “I never can forget the day, I learned to walk in Jesus way.” Those feeble steps with courage true, brought fellowship and life anew. I am sure all of you remember your second birthday.
When God spoke to us all, we realize now, we are living anew. We are walking in the new way that God has called us into. It speaks here that the wealth of heaven, now is mine. You know that’s a wonderful thing when we think of the wealth of heaven is ours.
We heard at the beginning of our meeting this morning, that the joy that was set before Jesus. He was willing to suffer, because He could see what was going to be the future in God’s Kingdom. If I give my life to sacrifice for the world, one day there will be a family in heaven that He’s going to enjoy fellowship with and that is you and I today. We are very grateful for the opportunity that God has given us.
I always say when I give my testimony, I just say, I was born on the island of Rodrigue… I don’t know if you know where this island is but I feel so grateful that God sent His worker there to a small island that sometimes does not even figure on the map … it’s too small but yet the Lord saw there were people there. I wasn’t the first one, there were others who had the opportunity to listen to the gospel before me and also my parents and I feel so grateful for that.
You know as I came here this morning … before coming here, I prayed to God to help me that in the meeting I will receive help and one of our brother said the same thing … that we don’t want to come here that we are not going to have anything to take but we are very grateful and I feel so grateful this morning that I received help from the meeting.
Then I realized, “What is it naturally, to keep us alive?” I think you don’t need to do a lot of thinking for that, we have to eat in order to keep alive naturally. To be healthy we have to eat and we have to eat everyday and not just only once a day … sometimes there are people who have to eat many times a day. I had a companion, he eats many times a day but he is thin, he doesn’t get fat but he told me, “If I don’t eat, then I feel very weak.” I don’t know if you feel the same spiritually, if we don’t eat, do we realize our situation? How are we in God’s way … are we strong enough to take another step? We need strength to do that. You know we can’t take steps without strength and sometimes we know people, who if they are sitting down too long, when they have to stand up, it takes a long time. But you know, when we are healthy, we can just jump and run. We are grateful that we can do that spiritually, serving God, it is not competition, it is just a matter of keeping ourselves alive and also help others to be alive.
I’ll just tell you a little experience. I was in Kenya in 1984. I was in a home, in a Canadian home. They were in Kenya working on a contract for the government and the boy had a little bird, I think they call it a budgie. Then the grandparents came … they were very happy that the grandparents came but this little budgie belonged to one of the boys. There were four children, two girls and two boys and this budgie was in the cage. Every morning, I used to look at these boys playing with the budgie and giving it a bit of food and water, and the bird was called Kiki. So when the grandparents came, of course, you know how it is … their attention was diverted to the grandparents which wasn’t wrong at all and then the grandparents had brought a little computer game. The boy was so happy, you know … pressing the computer and it made a little noise … the boy was so happy and for three days, he forgot the little budgie. One time, we were sitting there and he was playing with his little computer and then in the little cage, we just heard the wings flutter and flap and that was the end of the budgie. So, the boy just put his computer down and ran to the cage and there the budgie was on its back with it’s wings spread … and the budgie was dead. Then the boy started crying, “Oh, my little budgie, why did you die?”
Then I looked into the cage and you know what was wrong … not one seed … and the little container of water was all dry. What could the budgie do … the budgie couldn’t speak, it just died. Then, when the thing was dead, the little boy ran to the kitchen and got the container with the seed and put it into the cage, he filled the container with water and then tried to open the beak and pour some sugar in the beak. I said to him, “You can’t revive it, it’s dead.” You know what the boy said, he said, “Uncle Abraham, take my little computer and make this little budgie alive.”
Well, I didn’t have the ability to make it alive but you know what was the mistake … this boy was taken up with a computer and this budgie, a living thing, was forgotten. You know that was a lesson to me, you know there are things in life that we can get so taken up with and you know that the devil is very clever in doing that too … some gadgets that can just take our time.
We just heard about the senses, five senses and one is the sense of balance. We need to be balanced to keep alive spiritually. A lot of things can take our lives. The devil is very clever to think about useful things, you can’t find any fault but if that is taking the place of feeding the spirit of Christ in us, we are in the danger zone. Just like that little boy who gave me that little computer and said, “Make my bird alive again, Uncle Abraham.” I felt hopeless at that time but then I got a lesson at that time, I said, “My little boy,” in my mind, I didn’t tell him that of course, “Why didn’t you feed the bird everyday?” You know, the Spirit of Christ in us, we have to feed it every day and we have to discipline ourselves. He should have the first priority and then other things the second place … that is the right order. I’m telling this because I found it for myself. That is the thing I have to remind myself everyday … the priority first and then other things later because other things, I’m not going to take them in Heaven with me. The thing that will help me to live with Christ for all eternity is what I’m doing NOW … what I’m feeding on NOW to keep myself healthy spiritually.
You know, I was thinking a little bit about Moses, it was a job that time when Pharaoh wanted to kill all the young children. It was a job for Moses parents to keep Moses alive … but you know, they did it. What they did, they kept him for three months … there Moses everyday was growing a little bit. That was before he was given the name, Moses, there that little boy was growing and you parents know how children grow very fast … they cry out aloud and every time I’m sure you notice. But then the child was three months … cried louder … their life was in danger and the life of the boy. But you know, I like to think of this, we read about that in Exodus that the boy was in a little ark … there he was in the river in that little ark which was pitched with slime and pitch. It wasn’t a very nice little box. You know that now days we see, what you call a cradle, all decorated, That is nice, but Moses didn’t have one like this – it was pitched, it was black. You know if we had seen Moses there in the river, we might have thought, “Poor little boy being deprived from the parents.” But you know, I can tell you, there were a lot of prayers going through. We don’t read of the parents praying but we saw the result of prayer. They must have prayed to God, “O Lord help us,” because they saw that this boy was not just an ordinary boy, an ordinary child. You know what I like with this, it says that … it was very nice the way I saw it this afternoon. It says when they chose their partner … it was in Exodus 2:1, “And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.” You know this came very clear to me that when this man was choosing a partner, he was sure that he was choosing someone who was in the family of God.
You know the Levites, their responsibility was in the temple and there was this man choosing a wife who was there. You know, it is nice to see young people, when they want to choose a partner, they choose someone who is serving God and that saves them from a lot of trouble. We have seen over and over that if we make the right decision in life and ask God to help, God is not going to leave us … God is going to make sure that we have the right partner, that there is not going to be a disappointment.
Sometimes, we see a disappointment comes and we look back sometimes it is just regret. But we are grateful that as the brother was telling us in his testimony, there is no regret in serving God. We know if we want to do everything right with God there going to be no regret. Regrets come when we want to take our own way, we are not patient … we prayed but then we thought, “Well, God is delaying,” and we take our own way … then regret comes.
We read there of a beautiful picture. This couple had a son and then two of them working together, making that little ark, and there was his daughter, she was bigger and there she was watching that little ark. You know, didn’t you see in the family circle, there was an older child and this girl was given the responsibility to go and watch this ark and told them the words, what to say … but you know that is the result of the prayer, even though we do not read about prayer, that they prayed … but that is the result we see, that they have been in touch with God. Wonderful sometimes, when we look in people’s lives, we see the result of prayer.
There were the leaves for shade, the weather behaved, there is no doubt … those people were prayer people and we know God’s people are like that … are prayer people. We read about Moses, that Pharaoh’s daughter took him and there he was uplifted. After a while, he came back to the parents’ home and the mother. It is a wonderful thing how it worked out that this girl was able to say, “I’m going to look for a nurse,” and there the boy came back to the family again … you think that this thing just happened like this … this thing was guided from Heaven. You know when we pray and we get through to God, God guides us from heaven, no doubt! Even for us to be here today, do you think we just here by accident, or in another way we can say, are we here by chance? No, because of God’s plan for us. If we continue following God’s plan, one day you going to find us in Heaven and that is what we have to do.
We read about, when this boy was big enough, I don’t know how long, Pharaoh’s daughter said, “You have to bring Moses there,” and then Moses ended up in the palace. To me, it’s a beautiful picture what we find there … to me it’s wonderful to think of what the parents put in that child in the few years they had the child. You know, you parents who are serving God, you have a great responsibility towards your little family or big family. We can put things in our children that our children will never forget, the way that they see you live, the way that they see you praying, the way that you behave in your home, your children will remember. There are little things that you can put in your children, they will never forget.
There Moses was there in Egypt, he was 40 years … we read about him in verse 11 … it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren and looked at their burdens and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren, and he looked this way and that way and he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian and he hid him in the sand. You know that experience to Moses … there he was … had all the things that he wanted in Egypt but you know, just being in the palace he wasn’t satisfied, where did he go? He went to see his brothers … visit his brothers. You know, to me, it is a beautiful picture … who told him they were his brothers? You know there at home, what the parents put into him, and they knew, “We are not going to have him for very long.” You know, you parents, you don’t have your children for very long. You know why? As soon as the children are big enough, they have to go to school. There at school, they are mixing with children who are not serving God. The teachers are not people who serve God … they have a lot to put up with but if you can help them to see the value of the Kingdom of God, they will never forget. There, Moses, 40 years, he was gone. We heard this morning and impressed me very much, that a tree, where it leans there it is going to fall. Where did Moses fall, he was there in Egypt, a tree, young man growing with all the treasure in Egypt but he wasn’t for that. He was leaning towards his brothers. Where did he fall eventually? … with his brethren. Wonderful picture! Depends on where we lean.
You know, two years ago, it was very sad for me to listen to the testimony of one of our friends, because we advise them, we told them, they shouldn’t put education before for the children … put the Kingdom first and then education in the second place, but they didn’t listen. So they put the children in a very expensive school and the children got on well … you know, last year, this lady just cried and cried in our convention and she said, “If I knew my children were going to disappoint me, I wouldn’t have put them in a very expensive school.” Yes, that was sad for us workers because we advised her … we were not against education … but we told them, “Put the Kingdom first. Show the children first the Kingdom.” They didn’t do that. They were in the school for four years and those children couldn’t attend convention … they were not allowed to come out for convention. There were the children … they couldn’t come out. You know it was sad for us to listen to this lady say, “Now I wish my children were with me, better they didn’t have education.” but she said, “Unfortunately, we made the wrong choice.” I wish that won’t be the end … I wish that, one day, her children will feel a need for God … Now they have education and they have done well in life and they have become proud, they don’t want to listen to the gospel any more.
I’m very grateful that the choice that Moses made. We read about his choice in Hebrews 11, that time when he went to see his brothers. It says in verse 24, “By faith, Moses when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” There was this man, with all the opportunities before him. You know we can compare Moses today with Prince William … Prince Charles’ son … we can compare Moses with Prince William today … the grandson of the queen but there, when he had grown up … and I like to see that, he grew! You know it depends a lot on us – the way we grow in the way of God. You know Moses never lost his identity, he knew, my parents are not Pharaoh’s daughter … “All this money, this treasure that is round me here is not going to help me go to Heaven, it’s not going to help me to please God.” It says that he chose in verse 25, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” He knew, “All these treasures, it’s just only for a season.”
You know, over there in Tanzania especially, most of the time when you see two people walking together, they talk only about money … “If I have money, I’ll do this. If I have money, I’ll do that.” I don’t know why, perhaps it’s because people are too poor but here, I don’t know in Zimbabwe, I don’t understand the language, I don’t hear people talk about money … I don’t understand when you speak in your own mother tongue but in Tanzania, you hear, “If I get money, I’ll do this, I’ll do that.” But there, you know Moses, with all that money around him, even though at that time I believe that Egypt was one of the richest places, his choices were that he forsook all this. It says, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” The reproach of Christ. Moses kept his identity. You know, what the parents put in him, he kept this and when he grew, he leaned in the right direction. When he was able to visit his brothers, he went and he got into trouble because of that but you know, it’s a good picture.
We are very grateful that this is a picture of Jesus when Jesus came here on Earth. Jesus kept His identity, He was the Son of God until the end. You know, today, we have great responsibility, each one of us, friends and workers. While we go into this world, we have to keep our identity. We are God’s people … God expects us to be true witnesses.
You know, there are many things in this world. Sometimes, we feel … I have had this feeling myself before … “I am here now serving God and I’m deprived of many things,” but you know when I felt that way, I didn’t understand the work of God much … when I felt deprived. But today, I feel so grateful that the things of this world didn’t get me. You know, even the way we dress, our clothes, the way we look in this world, because if there are people in this world who are disappointed with the world, with the fashions of the world … will they be able to look upon us and say, “Those people are different?” I want to ask some questions, “Why are they living that way?” You know, I’m standing here before you, I can’t see my face. I can see my feet, my legs, my hands but I can’t see my face but I can see the faces of all of you.
I’m just going to tell you, one time my parents were visiting me in Kenya and I thought, “Well, I’m just going to make a treat for them.” I took them from Nairobi to Mombasa on the train … I wish I didn’t do that, so while we were on the train, we had supper on the train and there my Mother and my Dad and my brother and my sister were there and my brother with his camera. My brother is very quick to take any little picture that is funny … there was this man in the “wagon restaurant” (dining car) to have a meal and there this cook was coming to serve this meal … it was a nice meal … he gave us the entree just to help us to have appetite and then he came, he brought the rice. You know when he brought the rice, you know what happened, on his lips there was a grain of rice and you know my mother, she’s a bit funny sometimes, when she saw this man coming with the grain of rice on his lips, she just looked that way, and my brother took a picture of my mother pulling a face and the man with the rice on his lip in the picture ……. we like teasing my mother with this picture, and you know when the rice came my mother just said to us, “I’m not going to eat.” My mother was afraid that this grain of rice would just fall on her plate. You can understand that, that would take their appetite away … My mother said, “Abraham, I don’t have an appetite, I don’t want to eat.” You know, I’m just using this little example … you know, today, we can be a good influence in the world, we are serving God, we can help people to come to the meeting by the way we live, we can give them an appetite to listen to the word of God or we can also make them lose their appetite. Can you see the danger?
So we have to be very careful, the way we look … if someone is disappointed and looking for Truth and there are a lot of religious people in the world but are we, God’s people, different? In our look, in our spirit, are we different? Because the world is not going to wait … like my brother … that picture is still at home unfortunately! We like teasing Mum about that, if we want to make her laugh, we just bring the picture out and say, “Mum, look at this.” That was a few years ago but you know, today when we look at Jesus, we are very grateful that the Lord Jesus, His love for us, the way He lived, His Love for us just makes us feel we want to know more about Him. Isn’t it something different? Today if we are feeding on Christ, we also will be able to have a good influence on the world and people who are not professing … to help them to see and if people of the world want to be friendly with you, show them first God’s Kingdom. This is what is making you like this and you are sure that if it is a good man or a good girl, they are going to be moved … not by you but just because of what they have seen in you. All of us, we have this responsibility and I just pray that the Lord will help us to make the decision that is not going to spoil our future.
You know, we heard that God’s people have a future … wonderful thing! But you know, we haven’t reached there yet, we’re on the way. Everyday, even now just after our special meeting today, we are going to step out and we have to make decisions which are going to affect our future … may God help us to make the right decisions … decisions we will not regret.