A recent comment about being a man of many talents, reminded me of a conversation I had with an aunty 23 years ago. I was then 22 and she had asked me what I wanted to do with my life. My reply was that I wanted to be a jack of all trades. To which she replied, “And a master of none!”
This quote is poignant at this time in my life. On Friday, 18th July, I turn 45. I find that the older I am, the quicker each year seems to go. And every year around my birthday, I spend a bit of time reflecting on my life. What have I done? What am I doing? What has God called me to do and perhaps more importantly, what has God called me to be. It’s a time of honest appraisal. A time of reflecting on the good, the bad and the ugly. A time of reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. My passions, friendships, relationships, and family.
As I turn 45, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. For some reason this seems like a more significant birthday to me than 30 or 40 was. Enid put up a nice surprise for me on my 40th but I have not given much thought about it than now. I know some of my thoughts are a result of a few colleagues dying in their 40s and 50s. A few months ago I lost my buddy in a road accident. He was so dear to me and lived to be a true friend. Apart from the fact that I was born on 18th July and he, (although a year older than me), was born on the 20th of July and remembered my birthday every single year and called to say hi even after many months of silence. Ray Munsaka went to be with the Lord this year and for the first time since 1984, I am celebrating my birthday without him. The LORD Knows better! He surely was going to try and be the first to say happy birthday struggling to beat Enid who is constantly by my side to say so. The other legend Nelson Mandela whom I always celebrated my birthday with has lived a full 95 years and is gone back to our maker. With all this, I am left pondering – the Lord is still working on me.
At my core, I’m profoundly happy with my existence on this planet. I’m married to an amazing person who I’ve shared my best and my worst. My direct family is healthy and very functional. I’ve structured my life so that I get to spend most of my time on really interesting things – my family and serving God. I get to work with fascinating entrepreneurs on long term projects that I care about almost as much as they do. Finally, I live in what I think is one of the best towns in Africa and spend plenty of time in several great cities in the world, Lusaka, Bulawayo and Nairobi.
As my birthday nears, I am reminded that, another special season of grace and favor has come to our family. In March this year another season of mercy and love was with us when we celebrated the turning of Enid to 40. It was a special celebration of the birthday of a great woman in my life.
For 45 years now, God has continued working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me. It has been an extraordinary 45 years of being in the potter’s hand. Through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus, I have learned to trust in God. It is not because the truth is too difficulty to see that in our lives we make mistakes, but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable thing by our nature is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions – especially selfish ones. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. I am a sign and evidence of total depravity. Thank God for grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Where could I be if Jesus didn’t love me.
I have posted previously that I have had many different jobs over the years. Many more than the average person in my age bracket would have experienced. And in this regard, I did indeed become a jack of all trades. There are some jobs that I tried to do, that I absolutely failed. There are others that I was okey at. And there were others, that I nailed it. I can confidently say that those jobs that I nailed, I was good at it. But, I can’t say that I mastered any of them. For to say that would mean that I had no room to improve and nothing more to learn about that job. It would also mean that I had arrived at the top. It would mean that I had become the master!
As I look forward to what the Lord has in store for me in the coming years, I want to remind myself that I am the master of none. For we only have one master! And that is our majestic God. Our king and our friend. We only have one master and therefore we are to never be a master over any. We only have one Lord, and therefore I cannot Lord it over any. Christianity is a great leveling field. For in Christ we have no nationalities, no gender, and no social class distinctions. All are one in him. Our Lord calls us to serve him, by serving others.
No matter what I am called to do. Whether it be to preach. To write. To teach. To encourage another. To pray for someone. To counsel or sit with another and hear their story. To share the Good news that we have in Christ Jesus. I am to do it within the framework of serving the other. For its only through doing this, that indeed we will truly become the master of none!