Yes, we can do it

I am not interested in blaming anyone. It is really not their fault. But the fact is we are subjected to poor quality work day in day out. To work is a human right and to gain the satisfaction of doing a good job is part of it. Who can be satisfied with bad work?

Recently we had a shower put in, which involved a receptacle in the floor to catch the water. The problem is the receptacle was not right under the shower but to one side of it! So the water did not go where it was supposed to go! Did the good man even notice? What joy do you get from such work?

Ian Smith came to power 50 years ago this year and, in his deeply offensive way, warned against a fall in standards. His prophecy is fulfilled but it was a prophecy he and his colonial colleagues had decided would be fulfilled by their refusal to take steps decades before to share their expertise with others. In recent years much of the expertise that remained in the country left for greener pastures, leaving us in the hands of people who try their best but are unwilling to admit that, actually, they don’t know what they are doing.

Trial and error – “try it; it might work” – is acceptable when there is no other way. But there is another way: “Ask and you will receive.” This is actually the time honoured way to gain knowledge. Children do it all the time. But adults can be too proud, or too insecure, to ask. So we blunder on bouncing from one crazy effort to another. Solomon knew he was unskilled in leadership (I Kings 3) so he asked for help.

He asked God. You can also ask people – or books. Do we read books? Do we search for answers there or on the internet? Visiting houses I often see photos, ornaments, bric-a-brac – but no books. I was once much impressed when I went to a house where there was a funeral and as we waited I noticed the room stacked with books. I took down one or two and noticed that each one had an inscription inside the front cover, R. G. Mugabe. It was 1978 and yes, it was the house of our future president and we were at the funeral in Kutama of his brother, David.

Jesus once talked about the kingdom of heaven being like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great price. There would be no easy way of gaining them. A person would have to “sell everything he owns” (Matt 13:44). What is this “everything”? It is his fear of making a mistake or losing his comfort and security. If we want something we will go to all lengths to get it. The most beautiful thing a person can want is to fulfil their task in life. In that way they are fulfilled and their work lives after them. They have built on rock.

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