This Man: Jesus Christ
A True Story
on Mar 1, 2021
As a passionate reader of the history of the world and that of its people, I have come to be fascinated by Jesus Christ, the young Jewish rabbi who founded the Christian faith. How is it that He never strove for fame and beauty yet He attained them? How is it that His name and legacy have endured while other heroes have faded into obscurity? And why are some people in today's world very zealous about Him?
I have known Jesus ever since I was a small boy growing up in the '90s, in the old days of landline telephone booths. That was many years before I heard of the Beatles - the music band that once claimed it was more famous than Jesus.
Of course I got to know Jesus thanks to the lessons I received about Him in church and at school. I remember one primary school teacher named Mrs. Gichiriri telling us during a pastoral lesson that every time we sin, we inflict Jesus with the same pain He felt while He was being crucified on a tree. Where Mrs. Gichiriri got that fact from, I don't know since I have not read it in the Bible.
Back in the '90s when I was a boy, there was a time my younger brother Symo heard me utter the name "Jesus!" as an exclamation. After Symo castigated me for exclaiming the name "Jesus", I told him the Bible only warns us not to use the name of God in vain and not that of Jesus.
"Do you have to be told?" Symo quickly countered in Kikuyu, his point being that we don't need to be instructed not to use the name of Jesus in vain.
When Symo posed that question to me, I felt deep in my bones that he had a point. So since then, I have never misused the name of Jesus. That was one hell of a great lesson that I learnt at an early age.
Probably as a result of the teachings I received in church and at school, I came to be interested in the persona of Jesus Christ as years rolled on. When I was in Form 2 at Starehe Boys' Centre, I once asked a housemate of mine called Rono how people of today came to know how Jesus looked like yet He lived in an age before cameras were invented. Without pausing to think, Rono said that some folks must have selected the face of a handsome man to represent Jesus.
Though I was never a fervent Christian during my years at Starehe, I was deeply moved by some of the Christian hymns we sang in the school. When I was in Form 1 in 2002 for instance, I loved the old Negro Spiritual "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" which we sang during that year's inter-house music competition. So much did I love the Negro Spiritual that I would croon it while doing my chores at home.
Then in 2004 when I was in Form 3, I equally loved "I Hear Thy Welcome Voice" - the set piece for that year's inter-house music competition. I found the melody of that old hymn so tuneful that it stuck in my memory like glue on paper.
But it wasn't until I joined All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi in April 2007 that I became serious in my Christian faith - serious in the sense of praying, studying the Bible and meditating on its message. I just had to become a serious Christian because the churchmates I interacted with in the cathedral required I accept Jesus for me to sing in the choir and play the organ.
That I enrolled for an evangelism course in 2008 at the cathedral shows how serious I became in my Christian faith. The course entailed praying, reading the Scriptures and giving testimonies on what God had done for us. I will never forget the Saturday afternoon when one of my evangelism teachers sat me down after a lesson and lectured me on how Jesus could impact my life and give me a clear mind. She must have noted how confused I was.
Although I have messed up on numerous occasions since 2008, I have never forsaken my Christian faith. I have kept studying the Word and repenting my sins. And I must say I have found comfort in the teachings of Jesus Christ; they are like a shade-giving tree on a hot summer afternoon.
Isn't it wonderful to learn from Jesus that God will fulfill all our needs? That we shouldn't worry about tomorrow? And that knowing the truth will set us free?
After studying the Word of God, I can now honestly say I have matured as a Christian. I have befriended Jesus, the legend in whom I confide all that I go through in my day-to-day living. And because Jesus is my friend, you can call me a Christian. But I am a different kind of Christian - one who loves people of all backgrounds, who doesn't meddle with other folks' affairs and who respects the beliefs of others, be they Muslims, Buddhists or atheists.
I will keep growing as a Christian till the day I will be reunited with my Maker. What a joy it shall be to be with Jesus in heaven, a place without tears and sorrows!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Jesus Christ, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "My Redeemer Liveth". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Growing in Knowledge
A True Story
on Feb 24, 2021
Ever since I was in primary school in the '90s, I have always been an avid reader. I acquired that passion for reading thanks to my father who placed a premium on academic excellence. To make us excel in school, Dad bought us plenty of books, magazines and newspapers for us to read. And reading them, I did.
Unfortunately, my reading efforts were never fully reflected in my performance at school. Like when I was in Standard Five in 1998, I scored mediocre marks that made me the object of ridicule at home. That was in spite of the much studying that I did in my free time.
Never one to give up easily, I continued reading voraciously as my primary school years wore on. I not only read academic books but also such classics as Robinson Crusoe which riveted my imagination.
And when I got into Standard Eight in 2001, I studied even more so that I could pass with flying colours the national primary school exams known as KCPE. I remember dipping my feet into warm water to keep myself from dozing while reading late into the night on some days in 2001. On other days, I would wake up as early as 4.00am to do some private studying. Such was the diligence with which I prepared for my KCPE exams.
Given all the studying I did in 2001, I am sure I read more than any other KCPE candidate of that year. And there were more than half a million KCPE candidates in 2001. But guess what! When the 2001 KCPE results were released in late December that year, I didn't appear among the top 100 pupils in my province, which makes me wonder where all the knowledge I had read had gone.
But at least my reading efforts weren't in vain because I scored enough marks in KCPE to get into Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious institution in Nairobi where I had my high school as well as college education. When I entered Starehe, I continued studying diligently with the zeal of a he-goat on heat. And as was the case in primary school, my reading efforts were never fully reflected in my academic performance at Starehe. For how else can you explain that I never emerged among the top five students in my class in my entire high school career?
Yes, I used to read a lot during my primary and secondary school years. Sometime in 2001 as I was preparing for KCPE exams, my younger brother Symo suggested that the reason I wasn't excelling in school was due to the much reading that I did. One of my high school classmates named Rocky Mbithi echoed similar sentiments sometime in 2004 by telling me that reading a lot was making me confused.
Rocky must have had a point because after I left Starehe in April 2007, some of the people I met in church and at the university remarked on how confused I looked. Imagine after all the knowledge I amassed in Starehe, all I showed was not brilliance but confusion! It was such a disheartening experience.
Recently when I reflected on how I read a lot in those bygone years, I arrived at the conclusion that the knowledge I gained wasn't finding a home in my head, so to speak. It was like much of what got into my head while reading got out through the nose, ears and other body orifices. What's worse, the knowledge that remained in my head wasn't organized, hence the confusion that people saw in me.
When I talk of knowledge getting out of my head, I am reminded of another experience I had while I was revising for the SAT exams in 2009. Taking the SAT exams required that I absorb a lot of college-level vocabularies. I would drill the meanings of the vocabularies into my head, and then you know what? When taking sample SAT tests, I would bump into a vocabulary I had studied but be unable to recall its meaning. I had a memory like a sieve.
Despite all those setbacks, I have never given up on reading. I have kept devouring books, magazines and newspapers. But these days, I am making a conscious effort of letting the knowledge I gain find a home in my head and soul. I now agree with the great English philosopher John Locke who said, "Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
And why have I kept reading and acquiring knowledge? Because I believe the more knowledge we acquire, the happier and more peaceful our lives become. Also by growing in knowledge, we attract the opportunities that launch us to the lives of our dreams. Life becomes exciting when we apply our knowledge to our day-to-day living. The United States Air-force has it right when it says in its motto that "man's flight through life is sustained by the power of knowledge".
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on growing in knowledge, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "Wisdom From a Cab Driver". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.