Kenya @ 50

One Love Kenya

12-12-2012 we turn fifty as a nation! 2013 will be a Jubilee year for our nation. What does that mean? How can we use Jubilee for a brighter future? What’s the best gift that we can give to each other next year?

Jubilee comes from a Hebrew word, meaning ram’s horn, trumpet or blast of trumpets. From Leviticus 25, we see that God required the nation to do 4 things every 50th year:

  1. A year’s holiday 2. Cancel all debts 3. Release all slaves 4. Return to own property and to family.

God instructed Israel to do this every 50 years. It was a season of rest, refreshment, restoration, restitution and repentance. But because it was radical, we see no evidence that the nation actually lived out Jubilee. But some of these principles were practiced within the nation. So what does an Old Testament instruction to a nation that hardly embraced it have to do with Kenya in the 21st Century?

Let’s see: Luke 4: 16-22

Jesus read a text on Jubilee and declared that it was fulfilled in him. In other words, he came to blow the jubilee trumpet. He brought the jubilee gospel, lived it out all his life and proclaimed it in death. In Nazareth, Jesus launched his 3 –year campaign on the Jubilee Manifesto.

Let us look at the key issues in the Jubilee message:

Spirit of God – We need the power and attitude of God for us to celebrate and live out Jubilee. The suggestions are radical, the obedience of which takes faith in God. As Israelites returned property, cancelled debts, released slaves, took a sabbatical and left the land fallow for a year – they had to look up to God for sustenance. Jubilee was a declaration: In God we trust! This message is impossible for people who trust in riches – property, money, cheap labor and the rat race.

Good news to the Poor – The poor, the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and the weak were the focus of Jubilee. What is good news to the poor? Generosity (relief) and development or enablement. They were given what they needed, and they got back their means of production.

Freedom to Captives – He came to set the captives free. Jubilee is about spiritual (Day of Atonement), social (relationships), economic and political bondage. It is freedom to be and to do. It is a season to address political oppression – where the ruling elite use their power to enrich themselves and their cronies. Jubilee addresses economic oppression – systems of lending and taxation that make the poor poorer and the rich richer. Jesus came to attack the oppressive culture that denies the dignity of a woman and the rights of the weak, the vulnerable and the outcasts.

Jubilee dealt with the class system, ensured re-distribution of wealth and encouraged amazing generosity. In Jubilee we must address our health system, access to water and other services. We must ensure that justice comes to the Karen resident and reaches the Makueni village dweller as well.

Jubilee was about:

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

It called those who had property to release them and live with less. Debt cancellation meant adjusting accounts. Resting from farming meant no income. The principle of simplicity! Jesus lived a simple life. He did not have a residence; he was buried in a borrowed tomb. He lived a communal life with his disciples. The king modeled simplicity.

Materialism has complicated life. We are in a race to accumulate, to own and to keep. Jubilee calls for simplicity!

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

Solidarity invites you to be responsible for your relative, workmate or worker, friend and neighbor. Cancelling debt, giving back land, sharing food and receiving family was a statement of solidarity. It says, “ you are my brother, we help each other. We rise together, we belong.”

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

Jesus fed the 4000 by multiplying seven loaves of bread and a few fish. He went to see Peter’s mum and healed her. He wept when his friend Lazarus died, and he resurrected him. That is jubilee.

Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind, to set the captives free, to release the oppressed. Solidarity pursues social justice/holiness. Social holiness ensures there is no poor person in the place. “However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey…” (Deu. 15:4,5)

How do you compensate your workers as an employer? Are there debts you should cancel as we come to jubilee? What about helping out someone in your life group? Jubilee means we become social security to our relatives, friends and neighbors. Is there a relative you should educate? Nairobi Chapel has invited her members to celebrate Jubilee by getting 2013 people out of poverty for good, mainly from Kibera slums. How can we advocate for compassionate government policies? Policies that target to strengthen families and build capacities for communities.

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

Sharing is how we make this work. Jubilee was awesome generosity. Those who had shared with those who didn’t. Do money, property and stuff own you? Or are you a steward who is happy to share? In Isaiah 58, God trashed a personal righteousness that feels nothing for social justice. James says true religion includes sharing with those in need.

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for limiting the people. He attacked the rich for not showing generosity to the poor (Richman and Lazarus). He dealt with cultural and tribal oppression (Samaritan woman, the woman caught in the act). His message was:

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

It is time to prepare for Jubilee. Let us switch on the attitude. Those in debt need to get out of debt. Relationships with friends, family, people at work and neighbors need to be healed. And restored. We need to reject the excesses of materialism and embrace simplicity.

Where will you start?

  1. Simplicity: Define your lifestyle and make adjustments
  2. Solidarity: Commit to help a relative or friend out of poverty or oppression. Adopt a family, a relative, or a friend! Life groups, plan how to help the struggling among you.
  3. Share monthly. Start with stuff at home. Distribute extra clothes and shoes and cars and furniture and food.

The disciples lived out Jubilee, and created attractive jubilee community. “All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time, those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostle’s feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 4:32, 34-35)

What if we committed to study jubilee, pull out the principles and practice them through out our jubilee season? What if we had communities like the Acts 4 one? What if we started a radical practice of ensuring there is rest, restitution (like Zacheaus), restoration, release and refreshment? We can achieve a measure of a just society in the next 7 years. But a lot will depend on the leaders we choose. May God hasten that year!

Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

This is what Jubilee means. We do not have to wait for the 50th year to see this, we can live it out daily because of Jesus. He died on the Day of Atonement to release as many as believe to Jubilee. And he send the Holy Spirit of the 50th day after that to empower us for the Jubilee lifestyle. 

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11 Responses to “Kenya @ 50”

  1. mary mwangi Says:

    Thank God for that revelation, its so powerful. May the Holy Spirit help us. I work and live in UAE and I’m blessed to get your sermons every Sunday. May God bless Mavuno.

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  2. This was a great sermon! It hit at the core of what I struggle with. As a society we are schooled to look away,if public school teachers have issues, take your kids to a private school. Look away from Kibera issues. Live your life.

    But what if we all stood in solidarity this jubilee season and represented what is African, sharing. Looking out for our brothers.

    Great challenge – may the Lord help us get involved!

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  3. Getrude Adende Says:

    Heya, so i woke up that sunday thinking should i go to my home church or Mavuno?…but after being around ‘for all the sermons i was looking forward to the continuation. And i was like Pastor Mbevi are you for real?

    I am one of those people who have clothes that yes i dont wear even in a year, shoes that am sure i dont know when i last wiped them to put on. But here is the consolation that am a size 16, shoe size 41…who can be my size so let me keep them. Holy sugar :))

    You are something Getrude, but i thought what difffence it would make to do what for a long time. So this week I’m cleaning up my closet. I have Unity am always busy bringing people togther..family lunch,friends outings etc so I’m doing it right? ohh i know am simple well at least i think so, my family and friends say I’m complicated that even my husband to be God will have to drop him from Heaven (they laugh at me). I want perfection in everything, all in order as i fuss about the pillow is not at its righ place i forget someone who does not even have a bed.

    Pastor Mbevi you gave me a reason to start looking at things diffrent. For this @50 for Kenya it also comes down to me, as form my family,work,frds i will do what your word said on Sunday that was a revelation. The lord will help me

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  4. I would like to say that I have always admired people who believe Kenya can be different from what we have made it. Every time I sing the national anthem tears well up in my eyes because I wonder why we just can’t seem to get it right …we simply can never act to the words that come from our mouths.

    I work for an industry that I would say contributes to the majority of the problems we have in Kenya today. I was very embarrassed being one of the people who work for the MEDIA industry when a report came out and declared that the MOST trusted source of information is media. I could not believe how proud my fellow colleagues were…patting each other on the back. Everyday I question whether I am actually in the right job.

    Day in, day out in the office there is always exchange of money between politicians and journalists, pastors and journalists, or top businessmen and journalists if a story has to be aired. Most of my colleagues are NEVER EVER driven by interests of the country. PASSION doesn’t exist in their systems. Money is all that matters. How long do you want your story? You want it to run as number 1 or 2 or 3 during news? How many times do you wanna be shown talking? These are some of the determinants of what Kenyans watch on news. The more you want from the journalist the more money you have to be pay.

    In case of a major scandal that needs to be reported…the right amount is paid to the news editors to kill the story or even worse to twist the story so that it is twisted in favor of the person paying. Late night meetings with these top people are not uncommon. There is a lot of dirt and information that is hidden from Kenyans and when I say ALOT … I mean a lot. But money makes the world go round. Some well-known journalists have been bought for houses and top range vehicles to always positively report on a certain candidate or party.

    I am discouraged sometimes because I never signed up for this. I am seriously looking for another job outside this industry because it’s not about to become any better. 2013 Kenyans are really in for it. The garbage that will be fed to them by media will be worse than 2007. Journalists are already aligning to certain candidates so as to pocket serious cash. I heard one of our editors saying “By the end of this year I have to have bought myself a car. I am tired of using a mat and office transport.” This means money will come from politicians. This is an editor whose job is to decide what news piece will run, how long it will be, what number it will be and whether or not its worth to run a story.

    I can proudly stand and say that I have never been driven by money when doing my job and I am probably lucky because I am not in the news dept. My work is out of passion and I sincerely do it to inform and educate because I love what I do. But some days come and I feel I am fed up and need to work with people looking forward to build a great Kenya. I don’t want 2k today then tomorrow 500 then the day after 1k to be put in my pocket as a thank you from a politician. I look at some of my colleagues and sometimes I wonder why their lifestyles don’t change. But I believe “pesa ya kulaaniwa” can never take you far.

    I want to stay in this industry but I feel no growth in many ways because the bosses are not there to grow it but to make money from these politicians.

    But I am Kenyan and I have to do what I have to do to make my surrounding better. I have instilled a better working attitude in my department and I see people working with a total different attitude. They want personal growth as well as to do what is needed of them to inform Kenyans. I am glad that I got to attend all the sermons on ONE LOVE.KE. I am looking at my work place with a different attitude. Thank you Pastor S.

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  5. Jeremiah Kiwoi Says:

    Pastor S, I wrote this article on Kenya and it found its way into international platforms..It rubbed the system the wrong way, but I had to speak my mind..I thought I should share it with you. Best Regards Jeremiah Kiwoi (your friend in politics)

    Kenya @ 48: Any Reason to Celebrate?

    Kenya turned Forty eight on 12th December 2011. Forty eight months following the 2007/2008 post-election violence, I still live in the camps, internally displaced in my own country with my child of four years and nine months. Forty eight years after independence, life expectancy is at a ‘’high’’ of 48, yet the economist holed up in the treasury tells me that the growth rate is at a mere 4.8 percent per annum. They attribute this to ignorance, poverty and disease.

    Forty eight years on, it is politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice. They continue destroying my country, my destiny.

    Forty eight years on, we have created wealth and can proudly boast of 48 billionaires. What an achievement, yet 48 percent of the country lives under a dollar a day. We are rained on as they reign in on us.

    At 48, many Kenyan citizens are jobless, homeless and hopeless yet the government spends not less than 480 million shillings for nationwide celebrations on this ‘’auspicious occasion.’’ They filled their bellies with tea at eight in readiness to address a hungry nation. A quick count showed not less than 48 fuel guzzlers parked around the dais for the forty million or so Kenyans to see and drool.

    At 48, 4.8 million of us still live under the permanent threat of hunger as the government does ‘’all it can’’ to avert this crisis which is has now become an ‘’annual event.’’ Corporates join the fray to milk us under the guise of ‘’Kenyans For Kenya.’’ You pay to feed your own countrymen and women and they take the credit the same way soldiers fight the battle and the general wins the war!!!

    Forty eight years ago, we vowed to fight ignorance, poverty and disease. 48 years later, it is a hungry nation, a poor people, a dying generation, a country on permanent ‘’strike’’ mode. If it’s not the teachers, it’s the lecturers and if not them, it’s the nurses and doctors.

    48 years on, you ask them to pay taxes and they say they spend their monies to feed, clothe and bury you. They say they have loans to service, will not afford to put a meal on the table and worse still will not serve you better. They forget that the majority live from hand to mouth. The populist will queue at the tax collector’s office, pay his tax and go back to collect his refund from parliament…what a pity. How easily we get fooled. How fast we forget.

    Forty eight years on, Dedan Kimathi’s remains still lie somewhere; we still do not know who killed Tom Mboya, Robert Ouko, Ngala, Pinto, JM and others. Only in death do we realise we had heroes and heroines who lived and dwelt amongst us. Only in death do we honour them either by affording them state funerals, erecting monuments, buying expensive caskets, turning out in large numbers to display our largesse, and lately a new trend has emerged where we build houses for their widows and ‘’invite’’ the press during the grandiose opening, to appease the spirits.

    Theodore Roosevelt is emphatic that it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

    Martin Luther tells me that human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. That change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. We must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

    Lincoln said that the probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. And lately Obama told me that we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.

    Forty eight years on, I have no reason to find my way to the stadia, listen to radio or watch television to be treated to the usual song and dance, fanfare, parades, jets, display of armoury and military ‘’might,’’ the promise of a growing and working nation, ‘’My Government this….., My Government that….’’. Not this time round. Maybe never.

    I lit up 48 candles in remembrance of bad leadership, ethnicity, corruption, insecurity, greed, poverty, inequality, historical injustices, vengeance, disease, hatred, discrimination, extrajudicial killings, unemployment, marginalisation and a host of other evils meted against the innocent people of Kenya.

    For 48 minutes and 48 seconds, I was silent as I reflected on the intentions of the devious architects behind the unwarranted cost of living who have stolen, killed and destroyed my country. In the 49th Minute I lit a candle to burn them down and blow them away, once and for all.

    For 48 hours, 48 minutes and 48 seconds, I engaged in an act of self-sacrifice. I held vigil with progressive brothers and sisters. We denied ourselves food and drink. We straightened our backs so that they don’t ride on us again.

    The bad men combined 48 years ago; we, the good, must associate now; else we will fall one by one, a defeated generation in a contemptible struggle, Forty eight years later. History will judge us.

    We must be guided by the voice of our conscience. We need a new Kenya, a new beginning, a new hope, a new future. God Bless Kenya.

    By Jeremiah Kiwoi
    The author jkiwoi@gmail.com is a Rights Advocate based in Nairobi.

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  6. Hi Pastor S,

    Its really quite impossible to describe the sense of pride I feel when my nation’s anthem is played each Sunday in church. Last Sunday was completely overwhelming, especially because of the powerful simplicity of what I must do to live in the country I want. I thought about your comment about the cost of perfume being food for a family for a month and I couldn’t sleep properly last night, and when I got up this morning, I had made a decision to do something.

    I went to work this morning and I realized that even where I work, there are many needy families..so i decided to begin here. I started a fund whose sole purpose will be to support anyone with an urgent genuine need without them borrowing or getting into debt (fees, hosi etc). I assembled a small team of colleagues to help me with the details of administering and membership but I am so proud that I have started it off with 25K of my money and my friends will put whatever they can.

    Its not much but it will be contributory and even if we wont get to everyone, we will hopefully help a needy person soon. Thank you and have an excellent week, God bless you for the blessing we receive through Mavuno.

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  7. Julius Mwei Says:

    This sermon is really practical and applicable in life. How should one be comfortable yet sorrounded by misserable and poor people around? It has to begin with me! Thanx Passy

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  8. What a message that was Pastor S!! We more often than not live this life oblivious of our surroundings and sometimes we get so emersed. The one thing i always thank God for everyday is the fact that He has been graceful to us and granted us a church where we keep it real. When the end times near, we can never have an excuse for not doing something coz for sure we’ve been told.

    For those of us who’ve been touched by this sermon and feel they wanna do something about it, spread the love this coming Saturday, 29th September 2012 will be at Kamiti Maximum Prison. Come lets spread the love to the prisoners!!!

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  9. mavuno citizen Says:

    I used to be a person that arranged their life to leave this country. If it is not about our corrupt systems it is our ill mannerisms and selfish persona.
    What i at least chose to not be ignorant about is making a difference.
    What captured my heart and mind is when pastor S said ” Kenya was created by God’. this is something i have never thought about. I think our country is plagued with so much negativity we forget that God made us that we are not here by chance thus their must be good that comes out of this place.
    I was born here for a reason and i must make a difference.
    When we compare ourselves to the greater nations which i agree we can learn from we should still remember that they underwent civil wars in their own backyards, they had bad politicians too. they didn’t reach where they are without hindrance.
    So our negative past will just as it happened with the western countries make a positive change for us too.
    It is time we get encouraged and start being positive in order to have positive results. Enough with the headlines of news being about what is wrong with our country, we need positive talk too. Their are so many Kenyans making a difference their stories need to be talked about.
    (a song that reminds me of these is neemas song ‘lets talk about love’ from her new album Dawn)

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