“But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.'” (Luke 9:50)
The retirement of my late Dad, Wiston, from Malawi Police service, coincided with the decree by the first president of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda that all Asians doing their trade in rural areas should move their businesses to either cities or district headquarters. He therefore, used his pension monies to buy two shop houses from an Asian trader, Thanker at Nkhate Trading Centre in Chikwawa where we finally settled as a family home.
Nkhate is well known in the Shire River Valley for its fertile soils. The inhabitants grow variety of crops for commercial and subsistence. There is an irrigation scheme that gets its water from Nkhate stream which flows from the Thyolo escarpment. My father became a well-known farmer in the area. He owned 14 acres of rice field and 60 hectares where he could grow maize, sweet potatoes and cotton. He used to hire labours from Ntowe Refugees Camp located in Nsanje in 1980’s.
Robbery of farm produce was so rampart at Nkhate that farmers had to guard their crop fields. It was from that background, that my father one night ordered his hired labours, Farnando and Arhinisto to go and keep watch of the potato field after noting that thieves started stealing the tubers. The two employees were hesitant to Dad’s request because they did not want to work over-time considering that they had already finished their daily task for that day. My father considered of going to watch the crop field alone not knowing that the two guys changed their mind and decided work over-night.
The situation was terrible when Dad reached the potato garden that night. The sky had dark clouds showing possibilities of rain drizzles. As he was busy watching, he saw two men coming towards the field. He tried to chase them, but they never retreated, instead the supposed robbers, started pelting stones to him. Wiston reiterated by shooting at the two men with his spear and arrows he had for protection. The fight took more than two and half hours. The two guys were over-powered by my father and fled for their dear lives. Lucky enough nobody was hurt.
Next morning, the two employees came to meet Dad and explain what they encountered on the previous night errand at the potato field. To my father’s amazement, the story narrated by Fernando and Arhinisto was similar to what he experienced same night at the potato field. He told them that he chased two thieves in the field during the same night. So it was concluded that Dad and his two employees had been fighting each other at the crop land in their quest to curb down theft. I and my twin sister Mary laughed to our lungs upon hearing the episode. Thank God that none of them was injured.
My father Wiston and his two employees had one purpose of protecting sweet potatoes from thieves though they did not know each other’s mission during their night encounter.
John, the disciple of Christ, wanted Jesus to stop some believers who were casting demons in Christ’s name from performing those miracles simply because they were not amongst Jesus’ followers. But Jesus answered him that whoever was not against them was for them.
Churches today castigate themselves because Christians have forgotten that their purpose is to spread the gospel of Christ. Christians are not adversaries in their ministries despite belonging to different denomination. Jesus did not stop believers outside his gathering to preach, perform wonders and spread the good news to others. He knew quite well that in so doing God, the Almighty had been exalted. Why then with the same objective do we insult and castigate one another. We have one mission of spreading the gospel so that each and every human being is saved and have eternal life.