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February 21, 2019

Like baboons, make plans with firm foundation

ON HIGH ALERT: Lion looking around.
ON HIGH ALERT: Lion looking around.

 And Jesus said to him: "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."

This is a verse from the Bible. It was a prelude to a question and answer session that Peter had with Jesus. Jesus wanted to know what people were saying about Him. He wanted to know as well, what Peter thought of him.

The power words from the statement can be summed up in a short sentence, as translated in the new English Standard Version of the verse.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

When Jesus asked Peter: “Speak for yourself; who do you think I am?” Peter had answered: “You are Jesus, the son of God.” In my reading, Jesus was interrogating the loyalty and intelligence of his disciple. If he was going to do something he considered crucial to the well-being of the people, and he needed a strong foundation, then he had to stretch his managers to the limit in order to choose among them who would carry on his work. I call it laying a firm foundation for your resolutions if they are going to be a reality.

This is the first month of the year and most of those who had laid down the New Year’s plans are already in the process, or are now arranging the blocks of the puzzle to start working. Some swore that this is the year when they will start a family, and they have started making plans to start dating seriously.

Some have sworn this will be the year they will become self-employed and enter into the world of business. They have tendered their resignation and are now looking around for the type of business they have always thought of doing. In our own human folly, we forget to honour this period when you have to test the world into which we want to enter. I would call that period, the interrogation period.

Dating couple believe in the simplest of the phases of starting a family – falling in love. They forget the testing period within which the strength of the rock on which a family will be built is determined.

I was following a troop of baboons grazing in the plains of Samburu National Reserve. As is the ususal thing in a group of baboons, they had arranged themselves in their usual military plan. In the front, were the expendable males consisting of juveniles and low-ranking sub adults.

They act as the front buffers and scouts on the route. Should they see any danger, they are supposed to confront the danger if they can. If the danger is too much, they should alert the rest of the troop and the big boys will come to boost the war chest. But should the enemy attack before the big bosses come, the troop will not lose much because the front liners are not the most important in the group.

As the troop was digging for tubers in the soil, one of them noticed a lion walking along the shores of the river. The lion was on the opposite side from where the baboons were grazing. The scouts gave out the sound of alarm, but a weak one. Like to say, "you may need to think about fast exit if the lion decide to cross over to our side”.

The troop leaders understood very well there was no hurry, but preparations were in order. So, the biggest among the leaders of the group looked around to pick a tree which could be used as a safe refuge when trouble struck. He chose an acacia tree full of dry thorns and with branches that hung loosely near the ground. He went up the tree and did something that got me laughing with admiration. He literally interrogated the tree to see whether it was strong enough to hold the whole family should the need arise. He was shaking and swinging the branches until he was sure the tree would hold. When he came down, the whole troop looked at ease feeding near the tree of life, while the scouts kept watch over the lion.

“On this rock, I will build my church”.

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