“Every man dies, not every man really lives”
ne Sunday afternoon about a decade ago, my pastor’s wife came face to face with gun-totting thugs few meters from where we had had a service. The thugs scared the people around her and commanded her out of the vehicle. In a matter of minutes, they had ransacked the vehicle, apparently looking for “Missions Offering” that we had just collected.
Now, if you are church averse, and if you are against the prosperity gospel, and if you think that churches are there to fleece people of their hard earned cash, this is the time for you to log out and tune me off.
What my Pastor’s wife said the following Sunday is what caught my attention up to today. She said,
“In that moment, in those split seconds that my life stood between life and death by the squeeze of a trigger, I knew that I was ready to go!”
You know, the truth is that we daily face the prospect of dying from the moment we are born. And when we die, on our tombstones a small ‘dash’ separates our year of birth and that of burial. Which makes me wonder: What is the purpose of living really?
Why are we given life daily? Why didn’t you and I die in the womb? Why is it that we have endured so much and are still here? How come that sickness that constricted you to the bed did not take you out? There has to be a reason for all this life, right?
“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live”
–Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.
If you studied the lives of Martyrs, you will be really intrigued by these people. They seem “possessed” by something far greater than themselves. Now, there are two types of Martyrs.
A martyr (Greek: μάρτυς, mártys, “witness”; stem μάρτυρ-, mártyr-) is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party.
In other words, a real martyr is convinced beyond doubt of their belief and offers himself even upto death for that belief. Their suffering of course does not cause pain to other people, neither does their lives. The truth of the matter is that their lives are so lofty in terms of standards that the rest of the people feel judged and uncomfortable with such a high moral, spiritual standard of purity and devotion…but I digress.
Today, tens (Every 3rd June) of thousands of people will gather in Namugungo Shrine in the outskirts of Kampala town to commemorate the lives of several Ugandan Christian Martyrs who were burnt at the stake by a tribal chieftain some decades ago. I am intrigued by what I see each year during these celebrations.The Famous Namugongo Shrine in Uganda
This has made me ask myself one question: Is there something that I am standing for in life with so much unction that I am willing and ready to die for it in an instant?
Martin Luther King Jnr. Throws us a massive challenge…and no wonder he died for the cause. He said,
“If a man has not discovered something that he is willing to die for, that man is not fit to live”.
Pause and think about that. What a challenge!!
And now that we are alive, we are not really ready to die if we cannot answer this great man’s challenge.
I know it that is seems so lofty and far-fetched. I know that it is such a great ask to compare ourselves with Martin Luther King Jnr, William Wallace, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and others.
But the fact of the matter is that we are not supposed to compare ourselves to them. We are only supposed to gain inspiration from them, but we are to look at our own lives and derive our own passion. In fact, on a daily basis, business organizations do this thing constantly. If you really wanted to be prepared to die, I suggest that you do the following 4 things:
Your purpose is your reason for being. Of course it is totally different from that of John The Baptist, Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jnr. That does not make it any less a purpose. The density of purpose is not measured in the impact it creates, but in the faithfulness of the pursuant, no matter how obscure. The man who knows his purpose is a man on the road of fulfillment. Such a man is prepared to die. “
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
–Nelson Rohilala Mandela
This instantly robs you of your selfishness. A Mission is to the benefit of”Others”, which to my great belief, is the highest form of existence. Be a man or a woman on a mission. This means you have identified the people that you were sent to deliver and you will do all in your power to make sure that they are duly delivered! A man on a mission is a man preparing to die well.
Your passion is like a pregnancy. I found a notebook years back where I used to record my prayers. One such prayer was, “God give me a passion, a pregnancy of sorts, something that I can put my hands on and not look back. Just that one thing is what matters to me”. I am still asking that prayer. However, I found that such a prayer is answered while you are in motion, not while you are praying and waiting. “Waiters” are not ready to die.
Daily, what are you up to? Apostle Paul said, “I die daily”. Your pursuit is full of inspired actions that support your purpose, mission and passion. My Mentor Dr. Mike Murdock always exclaims when people say that they can’t find a job! He says that there are very many problems on earth that you can solve with your difference, your passion and your purpose. To be prepared to die is to actually come to the level where you daily live passionately in action pursuing your purpose. Pursuit is not in anyway trying to eke a living and putting food on the table. It is far much more than that. This is what we should all aspire for.