The most menial of Ministry.


The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory; so, I thought of writing of two of lessons I have learnt in my involvement in ministry in the last two years. I haven’t liked the lessons yet, but I am convinced of their high value. I mean that my attitudes are not as formed as they ought to be. It is also true that I am not aware of any of my attitudes that are perfect. Oh, how I long for that day of perfection. I have a bad habit of digressing.

In the Short-Term Experience in Ministry (STEM) program, one of these concepts was taught a lot. ‘The Ministry of Presence’. It mostly applied in the Christian Unions that do not ‘honor’ the ‘servants of God’. It was said that we were supposed to just be there. Be present. You don’t have to do anything. I confess that this happened to be a living strategy! It worked, ‘but… how can I ‘just sit’…? I am a preacher… with all this anointing…’ I thought at first. My friends know that I can have very itchy hands, always wanting to do something. The ministry of presence wasn’t my thing!

In the past 7 months, I have had to practice another kind of ministry that isn’t easy to carry. It is ‘more noble’ than the later though. The ministry of service. At some point I have thought that I could be ‘too equipped’ to ‘serve tables’, let alone clean them. This is when I noticed that I am in trouble. How can I be doing the most menial of jobs in God’s house?  ‘I should be doing something greater,’ thought proud I. But I came to think, what after all is greater? Is it not faithfulness?

But why did these two means of service to God seem less important? Maybe it is because of an importance syndrome. A whole me, just coming for the sake of coming? Nah, nah! Everyone else can come for the sake of coming, not I. Someone else should clean the tables only, not I. Someone else should plant the flowers, someone else should mow the lawn, someone else … Then I will do the thinking and such kind of work… Importance, importance! A syndrome of pride.

But these moments reminded me that I am at most just like ‘least’ of servants. A dead-end servant. Before God, there isn’t a difference between the president and the street-sweeper. There almost always is a difference in their faithfulness. Menial ministry: presence, service et al. is important. C. S. Lewis says that the highest cannot stand without the lowest. I also think that it is at these menial jobs that God meets most of us. This is our humblest, where little if any attention is on us. This is working from the lowest, the best place to lift our eyes to Him.

In Luke 17:10 the Lord teaches that when you have done everything that you were told to do, you should say, ‘we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’.

There is no menial ministry, only menial attitudes.


Small thoughts put together

The Little things that matter

By the time you read this, I guess you know my name and perhaps that I am a Kenyan on an exchange program in Norway. This internet makes its difficult for me to predict my audience (maybe 10 years to come). I have learned that its a nice thing to be cautious. Just for records, I have not been always cautious about being cautious. I still doubt that I am.

One of the things I consider important is to share my reflections, though scarcely in witting. Some are so small, that I only hope they mean something to others. I will share some of the small thoughts I have had in the recent past, praying they will edify or that I will learn more from your thoughts. Back to my thing for caution; they are not in any premeditated order.

The reason

Deep seated in my heart is a reason for writing about small things. The reason is one but two in this one. I do not want to be a fool. But to be a fool is two things in my opinion: not to know when to learn and the inability to separate between the important and unimportant especially when you need to. These are more of journeys to be made and than destinations to be arrived at.

The pan-African

I recently met a passionate pan-African (and by the by, I am also one). If anything annoyed me most, it was to meet people who thought that everyone is good and that essentially all people became evil because they a poor or something forces them. I even got more angry when I remembered about the slave trade and the scramble and colonization of Africa and the new day colonial schemes hidden under sophisticated globalization. This theory most popular in the west annoyed me to the core.

But lessons have to be learned. Some facts are easily swallowed than others you know. The fact that not all white people colonized Africa is a rude one but true. That we were colonized doesn’t account for the type of greed among African leaders is too big to swallow. If we look keenly, we who condemn colonialism still dominate over other Africans. We need to carry our own burdens. Should and 18 year old British boy carry the sins of his grand parents? If I will count on none else to say no, I will count on the Christian; you who don’t carry even your own sin.

This has been a difficult lesson to learn.

About tolerance

Coming to a culture where tolerance is a big thing is interesting. I was shocked to notice that many did not even give a thought of the difference between acceptance and tolerance. Culture in itself has thousands of issues that are different. Some are none-issues, others are hugely important many along the gray areas. My faith shapes my worldview and consequently shapes my culture. I have come to see as important any cultural question that my faith has an opinion on. Without question I will follow my faith.

But there is tolerance that becomes intolerant. Should I accept and celebrate what I do not agree with? That will be intolerant. This is a difficult question I barely know how to express my self but I know what to do, many times.  

On ministering

Lastly, thinking about my occupation – ministry. I was lately amused by how much I was preoccupied with the idea of ministering to others and rarely thinking of the possibility of others ministering to me; especially these people I consider my priority. By the way, I repented of that huge amount of arrogance and pride. I was specifically amused by the fact that I think they also at times consider me a priority of sorts! Now, I grew around huge Sahiwal and Boran bulls so I know when the lock horns. Its stupid when we miss to see when the locking of horns knocks the door.

Can I be taught something by someone I meant to minister to? Probably younger in faith or in my eyes; less devout? Absolutely yes! For who teaches lessons? Is it the Lord or us? Better than just accepting the fact, we should anticipate to learn. Of course I said nothing about intentional ministry of which I am a believer and devoutly do.

I know I broke all the rules on flow, just incase you didn’t realize. 


Ref: Picture from

Excuse me, how can I dress my bread?

The Bread Slicer
This is the machine that reminded me about asking questions.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to buy bread. I miss the Kenyan shops where we are kings, everything is done for us. You only push the trolley to the cashier, pay the cash and carry your bag. In this country I  live currently, I also park the goods on my own into the shopping bag – someone does this in Kenya. Not only do I park my goods but I also have to slice my own bread. Never mind, I am now an expert.

I have not mentioned that I never know how much money I have until I convert it to the Kenyan Shilling first. That means that I don’t know if a thing is expensive until it is in the Kenyan Shilling. That’s faulty most of the times especially because everything seems extremely expensive. Soon the cheapest bread is over 150 shillings, how in Kenya could you buy this?

Forgive me, I was talking about bread. So this good day, buying bread… I went to this bread slicer (if that machine goes by that name) to slice my bread, of course to slice the bread! I did my best to observe what people did so that I did not need to ask how every step is done. I observed as much as I could.

I only proved that I didn’t get everything when I was to put the slices in the little bag, to dress the bread if you know what I mean.

They all behaved as though they were not hewn from the same block. Every slice went on its way. Actually two slices fell of to the ground. I was disappointed, not only that I couldn’t put the slices in good order but that also I had lost two. If you love Math, that’s just about sh. 20 lost, not much but something. It took me about 5 minutes to stack the little pieces together shambolically. I have never felt more stupid in the recent past. I knew that there was something I did not learn because it should be easier. The shame was here: the little bag was transparent, and every one could see how neatly by bread was parked together.

Three days later, I went to the shop not to buy bread yet. I saw a man slice his bread. He placed the sliced bread on a small metal support (definitely a conspicuous part of the machine) to support the bread then clothed it easily. His bread was prefect in the pack. I learnt my lesson. By observation. I had to come back in two days mostly to buy bread but partly to show the machine that it cannot be smarter than me for too long. It’s just a machine, you know!

We learn many things by observation. I do my best to learn as much as I can by looking around. Observation is also an “intelligent” way a proud man appears to know all. But there are times that observation fails, mostly because we almost always never see the most obvious. When is a proud man is made humble? When they think they saw enough and yet they didn’t learn the most obvious. “You can get by with your smartness for about ten minutes but after that you better know something… ”

If only I asked, “excuse me, how can I dress my bread as decently as you did?”

When observation fails, asking questions is the other way to survive. When you ask questions, you look stupid. Especially if it’s about the most obvious things. If you don’t ask, you only multiply the time and energy you use to learn. I learnt this secret from an old campus friend, Gachuki. He said something like this, “if you cannot stop to ask for directions when you do not know the way, you are proud!” I think the best questions are often the simplest questions.