Reflections From We Run Jozi – Others (Part Two)

This post is a part of a series of my reflections from Nike’s We Run Jozi 10K 2012. Subscribe by email or RSS not to miss upcoming posts in the series. You can also check out the previous posts in the series here.

 

SANDTON & ALEXANDRA

We ran from Sandton and then through Alexandra, the closest Township. Alexandra affectionately called Alex by its inhabitants. Running through Alex was one of my highlights. Being acknowledged by the race route beautified the not so pretty sights of some parts of Alex.

Some of the residents of Alex appreciated the fact that some of the people who normally drive through their township mostly only on the main road linking with Sandton actually came into their township on foot. One kind gentleman offered a cold shower with his hose to runners. Welcome friendliness and hospitality.

reflections from we run jozi; part two - others

we must resist culture that encourages us to be self-absorbed we forget and or overlook others

 

Around the 7km mark, at one of the climbs, were children shouting, “don’t give up!” This could be my over active brain, but found it inspiring and ironic at the same time. It crossed my mind that children who are in a seeming hopeless environment were cheering a crowd that was generally more privileged than them, inspiring hope.

Another highlight in relation to Alex is that some of the proceeds from the entrance fees from the runners will go toward establishing a running club for young people in Alex. It is great that I (together with other runners) can contribute. I highly commend Nike Running ZA for this.

For some running the race, this is the only time they are going to set foot in Alex. The reason this is important to note for me is because it is necessary for nation building.

REFLECTIONS

 

Leadership

 

It’s easy to be insensitive to the plight of some when we don’t have a glimpse into their world

Running through Alex was a necessary eye opener and reminder. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own world and challenges, forgetting that there are other people who have significantly greater challenges than ourselves.

This is true in life in general and in leadership. As leaders we sometimes expect results and forget that the well-being of those we lead has direct impact on their performance or delivery. When dealing with your team, remember they are people first.

Empathy is necessary in understanding & identifying with those you lead

Without empathy your leadership will have no soul, seeing people as a mere means to your goal and not the value of who they are as people. Your organization is poor not matter how much money it makes if it does nothing to enrich others. Addressing the plight of the under privileged is responsibility of the privileged. This is the essence of Ubuntu.

Your leadership is weak if it does not acknowledge, accommodate and uplift others when you have the resource to do so. This is a value that all truly significant organizations and nations endear and encourage in their people.

Life

It is easy to lose sight of what is important when you lose yourself in your own world. Part of me feels guilty at the thought that my running shoes plus the mobile phone I had on me (to track my speed and progress) is worth several months’ earnings for some of the people who cheered us on. It made me ask myself how much I have cheered others with less than me.

Encouragement does not cost anything and everyone, anyone, can give it. Inspiring hope in others does not cost money. It can be simple words uttered when needed. We must intentionally get into other people’s worlds to better understand them.

Disclaimer: this post is not been about having pity on people but a reminder to all of us of our responsibility to one another. Those of us who are privileged must use the resources they have to give a helping hand to those who are not. At the same time, no matter how little you have, you can always give something that does not cost much, something but as simple as encouraging words.

Despite our “dispositions” we all have something to give to each other and we must do so

Your thoughts?

St Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer

One’s prayer life is often a great indicator of how their walk is. Shallow relationship with God is often a product of a lack of prayer. Intimacy with God is often a product of prayer. The quality of prayers (for a lack of a better terms) is indicative of where we are in our walk with God. If there is ever such a thing as a “profound prayers”, I’ve come across some from St. Thomas Aquinas. Such prayers could only be products of an intimate relationship with God. 

Below is one of Thomas Aquinas’ prayers that I echo.  Hope it impacts you, at least, as much as it impacted me.

O Lord my God, help me to be
obedient without reserve,
poor without servility,
chaste without compromise,
humble without pretense,
joyful without depravity,
serious without affectation,
active without frivolty,
submissive without bitterness,
truthful without duplicity,
fruitful in good works without presumption,
quick to revive my neighbor without haughtiness,
and quick to edify others by word and example without simulation.

Grant me, O Lord, an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from You;
a noble heart that no base love can sully;
an upright heart that no perverse intention can lead astray;
an invincible heart that no distress can overcome;
an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.

O Lord my God, also bestow upon me understanding to know You,
zeal to seek You,
wisdom to find You,
a life that is pleasing to You,
unshakable perseverance,
and a hope that will one day take hold of You.

May I do penance here below and patiently bear your chastisements.
May I also receive the benefits of your grace,
in order to taste your heavenly joys and contemplate your glory.
Amen.

A Reminder Of What The Church Is Not

Every now and then a reminder needs to be issued. The Church is not a building. Neither is it programs that are run by her. The church is not how good the music or the preaching is. The church is not how much offering comes in or does not. The church is not liturgy. The church not man’s idea, it is God’s! The church is not just about the people in it. (It is also for the people not yet in it!) The church is not made up of people ‘who have it all together’.

the Church is incomplete without you!

The church is not how well people dress up on Sunday. The church is not the stain glass or steeple. The church is not complete without you! The church is not and should not be a place where some are more important than others. The church is not and should not be a closed ‘community’ or club. The church is not how well her building is adorned. The Church is NOT complete without you!

.illustration: from outside Wordwise, in Hartebeespoortdam

What is your take on what the Church is NOT?

 

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The Danger Of Your Eyes Only

Perspectives are not “one size fits all deal”. The lens with which we see determine our actions. In making decisions about the lives and gifting God has given us we must be careful we’re not doing what seems God in our eyes.

Then he went on down and spoke to the woman. In Samson’s eyes, she was the one – Judges 14:7 (MSG)

In Samson’s eyes Delilah was the one… In his eyes his source of demise was for him. He obviously didn’t see her as that. What better example of how flawed our own ‘eyes’ are! The danger of seeing things through our eyes and acting on it cannot be overemphasized. Samson disregarded his father’s “eyes” and worst of all God’s eyes! Our eyes own eyes will be more riddled with blind spots and we compensate by seeking counsel from godly men and in seeking God in prayer.

Acting out of what we see with our eyes will lead us to destruction. Seeking God’s wisdom and direction and the counsel of the wise around us is the best safe guard for our lives and destiny.  Our judgement alone is not sufficient to lead us into God’s purposes for us as individuals and ultimately for those around us! It is easy to go with what we see especially when it is what we want regardless! Are your desires wholly given to God? If not your eyes will lead you in a path that takes you further from your destiny and not closer.

Before you act, especially on significant things ensure that you’re not just acting on what seems right in your own eyes. Have you sought counsel from the wise? This doesn’t mean you must take and act on the counsel of many but that you at least consider that many perspectives they many bring. More importantly: have you sought God’s eyes and do you see through His eyes on your perspective and action? You can ignore everyone’s eyes but never make the mistake of ignoring God’s perspective? God’s vision is the only perfect one!

What experiences have you used your own eyes and landed you an undesired path?