Makwerekwere is a word that is used in South Africa – it is a slang term and very offensive. It is something that some South Africans call foreigners who come into their country and take jobs away from the locals. Some South Africans get very angry with people who come into their land and open up shops and start selling things and take jobs and money away from the local South Africans. And these South Africans get very angry with Somalis who are very good at running businesses and become very successful. Some South Africans get so angry and jealous that they rob the Somali business owners of their money and inventory; they set their stores on fire, they hurt and sometimes even kill the Somalis.

Some Somalis has left South Africa and the business of running one of these little convenience stores because they feared for their lives. These small shops that the Somalis set up in the townships of South Africa are called spaza shops. They are small stores that sell soap and other goods to the locals. And the Somalis make money and take away jobs from South Africans, and the South African stores close down.

The Love of money is the root of all evil

Running a business is good. But the love of money cannot rule our hearts or direct our lives. But this is what happens to some Somalis. They start their stores in South Africa while they are there as foreigners. They start to make money, good money; and they forget about their families. They divorce their wives. The never reunite with their families. They stay locked up in their spaza shops and count their money.

The Bible says: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10.

Money is good. Money can buy many good things. King Solomon says: “A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything!” – Ecclesiastes 10:19

Money can buy many good things. It can buy food, clothes, it can pay rent; money can pay for schooling or hospital bills. So money is very useful and very necessary part of many people’s lives. And God even says that He will provide us with the money we need to live.

God says: “For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” – Isaiah 41:13

When Jesus’ disciples were not able to pay the tax that they owed to the authorities here is what Jesus told them to do: “However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” – Matthew 17:27

So be wise if you are a spaza shop owner, or if you are someone who is putting their trust and faith in money. If you put your trust in the things of this world – like money; you will see your dreams disappear like a burnt out spaza shop.

You cannot love God and money

My greatest desire is to make my Lord and Saviour God pleased with my life. I do not want to put anything above my Lord. If God wants me to do something then I want to do it. I don’t want to put anything in my heart that will take anything away from respecting or honouring God.

The Bible says: “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” – Proverbs 3:6.

Jesus said:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

God should have all our hearts and all our mind and strength and focus. We should focus our hearts on Him and who is He and what He wants to do in our lives.

God will provide for us

God will provide all our needs. This is what the Bible promises. God promises us: “I will provide.” God does not want our hearts to be taken up with money and the things of this world. He wants us to be free from the love of money; the worries of this life; and to serve and live for Him.

Jesus gave this story about a farmer who went out to sow seeds in the fields. This is what it says:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” – Matthew chapter 13

Many people hear the words of the Bible and like the chance to go to heaven. No one I think wants to go burn in hell forever. Of course not; who would want that?

But Jesus said that the word of God will fall into the hearts of many people who will very quickly lose the salvation that they had because the things of this world – money and pleasure – will take over their lives. They will hear the gospel message and will even call themselves Christians; but they will very soon get tired and bored of the Christian life and will turn their hearts and lives to the things of this world. They will look for pleasure and money and lose their relationship with the Lord.

You may get lots of money and lose your soul

Jesus told a story about a man who was very rich; and there was a poor man who used to eat the garbage that the rich man didn’t want to eat. The rich man and the poor man died; let us listen to the story that Jesus teaches

“Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead.There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

So don’t be like the rich man. Don’t live just for money. Don’t hoard money and hold onto it. Put God first in all you do: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be given to you.”

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© Somali Christian Ministries, 2014
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