Samson Phiri (not his real name) blames himself for sticking to Christian values and principles, besides living by the 10 Commandments.
“I envy Christians who never care about the fear of God; and are thriving within a blink of an eye. Yet, I remain a pauper even after working for government at Capital Hill for over 20 years,” Phiri casually narrates his story as he struggles to sift a K200 note from a bunch of K50s.
We are aboard a minibus to Lilongwe’s Area 23 where Phiri claims he has made home since he joined the civil service in the late 1980s.
“What stopped you from partaking in the plunder of public resources?” I ask, further exciting other passengers.
“Brother, I am a devout Christian. I always believe that my God shall supply all my needs, according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ,” exclaims Phiri as he loosely quotes Philippians 4:19.
Colossians 3:2 advises believers (Christians) to set their minds on things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Yet, from the Cashgate perspective, one learns that there are Christians who create a clear distinction between secular jobs and Christian work.
And as Dynamic Leaders and Gatekeepers Forum (DLGF) general overseer Reverend Zacc Kawalala notes, people look at the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’ as separate aspects of one’s lifestyle.
Kawalala emphasised in his presentation titled ‘Unifying the Split Mindset’ made at the DLGF function in Lilongwe in June 2016, that the Bible does not give mankind such a distinction.
He said work in its true and deep form is worship to God; hence, working in any sector, including banking, civil service, or the Army should be viewed as worship to the creator.
“God calls each one of us to fulfil a certain purpose through various workplaces. Thus, whoever steals at the workplace violates the scripture and is liable to God’s wrath for insulting the creator through bogus worship,” he emphasised.
But Kawalala said the problem creeps in when people separate work from worship.
He observed that the majority of believers have a ‘sacred’ part where they have God, the Bible, worship, and/or salvation.
On the other hand, they have the ‘secular’ compartment where they live their ‘real’ lives.
Kawalala said it is in the secular realm that believers put work, politics, community, etc, where work is largely perceived through ancient Greek philosophical worldview as a means to acquire wealth, gain independence and build a life of pleasure and ease.
He said the sacred-secular split mindset leads people to believe that real holy people become missionaries, moderately holy people become ministers, and people who are not of much use to God look for a job.
“This is why we have Cashgate cases being unashamedly perpetrated by believers,” he narrated.
Chifundo Kachale, Judge of the High Court of Malawi, challenges that plunder of public resources will not abate unless Christians recognise that work is not about self-sustenance as espoused by Ephesians Exodus 1:17, 20.
Kachale, who is also DLGF member, emphasises the need for believers to integrate their faith into their occupations.
Quoting Colossians 3:17, Kachale said: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Kachale further states that believers need to glorify God in their various workplaces, and experience Him in the marketplace.
Kawalala summed up the message by emphasising the need for believers to recognise that ‘God is the God of all of life’.
“God claims all our lives at work, in the neighbourhood and at church.
We need to live our Christianity in the secular split mindset.
“The ‘sacred’ need to be released and lived in the ‘secular’. The church gathered is as important as the church scattered,” thus, Kawalala concluded his presentation. n