Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
WE LIVE in a world where inequality is the order of the day.
Most of the resources in the world are in the hands of very few people while millions live on less than US$1 a day.
This is true both in the developed and developing world. We are either sheep or goats in nature.
In a country declared as a Christian nation, the premium we have is to embrace the nature of Christ â€“ living the life of our Saviour Jesus Christ daily.
This requires us to look out for the needy in society and be willing to share with them.
As Zambians, to what extent are we willing to see a need and share?
Jesus said â€˜I was a stranger and you invited meâ€™. Matthew 25:35 (New International Version) says: â€œFor I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.â€
This is one scripture that begs the attention of all Christians every day as we wake up in the morning to look for that Jesus on the streets, that Jesus at our workplace, that Jesus in our churches.
Jesus wants people who answer to His name to embrace the nature of sheep, a trait He depicts by being at peace all the time and strengthening the peace with joy.
These traits will enable us to share even the little that we have, without having to always look at our immediate needs, the needs of our families but those of our neighbours and extended families.
At national level, Zambia has a record of helping others â€“ starting from the pre-independence days when our forefathers forged partnerships with other freedom fighters to liberate the continent.
After independence, the record is there for all to see how Zambia played a prominent role among the frontline states that sought to liberate countries that were not yet free from colonial rule.
Had Kenneth Kaunda, the countryâ€™s founding President, thought about Zambia alone, he could have easily closed shop after our hard-fought independence in 1964.
But Dr Kaunda believed, and genuinely so, that as long as the countryâ€™s neighbours such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola were not free, then Zambia was not yet liberated.
So courageous and incorruptible was Dr Kaunda that Zambia endured bombings from the Ian Douglas Smith Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Southern Rhodesia.
If he chose, Zambia was going to be like some neighbouring nations that chose honey and milk from the apartheid regime in South Africa to shut up.
For a man who was so vocal, he could have earned himself cool millions of rands and dollars to close his eyes as Angola and Mozambique battled Portugal for their liberation.
He could have easily pocketed petrol dollars for himself, his children and UNIP to stop agitating for the liberation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a partially recognised state that controls a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony.
But he was adamant and his adamancy came at a cost to Zambia because it slowed this countryâ€™s development agenda.
Smith closed our route to the port of Durban but Dr Kaunda thought outside the box and opened a route to Dar es Salaam by constructing the Tanzaniaâ€“Zambia Railway.
That is why as a nation, we should emulate Dr Kaundaâ€™s selfless spirit, not just emulating in October when we come to commemorate independence.
Dr Kaunda helped us by liberating the country. Similarly, we should help the needy.
Zambia has several street children, several children in orphanages â€“ should a Christian country have orphanages?
No. The problem is that we have failed to see Jesus among the hundreds of orphans in those childrenâ€™s homes.
Helping children in orphanages, those on the streets, in markets, in hospitals is the nature of sheep instead of always looking at our requirements only, most of the time selfishly.
Jesus, the Lord over Zambia, said it is more blessed to give than to receive. When you have the heart of sharing, God will multiply your resources by giving you back what you sowed to the needy, over and above your requirements.
As a Christian nation, we have to manifest who we are.
What type of spirit do we manifest as a nation? Are we selfish or willing to share?
This country has a lot of resources and you do not need to go far to see that most people are living above their needs â€“ the high number of vehicles parked outside bars on Friday evenings and Saturdays are just but one example.
You would think it is a motor show at first, then you realise it is a contest of breaking bottles while Jesus, in the form of our guardians and parents, starves in old peopleâ€™s homes, children on the street and orphanages famish.
It is time we started translating those daily and weekly devotions, national days of prayer, fasting, repentance and reconciliation into tangible results.
May God give this country grace to see people in need â€“ not our competitors and not nemeses.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO