Posted in christian

Alive again

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Tony’s teacher had died. On a Monday morning, while the community awoke and bustled to do business, the man was asleep, drunk. Even in sleep, he fought to stay under, away from the light. He was running from the nothingness that awaited him in the day. You see, with his teacher’s death, all hope of a career in teaching, his reason for being was gone. He stayed under, reveled in it, grateful for the darkness.

“Tony, open the door.” Someone was trying to beat down the door.

Tony woke up, eyes closed, head pounding. He groaned as he tried to open his eyes, the pain was intense, had he gone blind?

“Anthony, come out here now!”

Tony sat up and opened his eyes, then winced. He crawled out of bed and looked for clothes to cover himself. His mother could not see him in this state. He opened the door slightly, the rays from the sun had decided that their task for the day was to blind him, Tony moved away from the door.

“Enter, mama. Welcome.”

His mother entered with Tandi, Tony wasn’t expecting that. He turned away from them and gritted his teeth.

“Why did you bring her here?” He asked.

“I wanted to come. I forced your mother to let me. I had to see you, husband.” Tandi said, her speech quiet. An oddity for such a lively girl.

Tony didn’t turn around. “Mama, as you can see, I’m not in good shape. Teacher has died and I must look for another way to survive and provide for the family. Let Tandi return to her family, I give her permission to…to marry another.”

His mother walked up to him, turned him to face her, and slapped him. “That was for disrespecting your teacher by the life you are living. For disrespecting me and Tandi, who has been waiting for you for five years. How dare you?” She turned away from him, tears falling from her face and looked around his room. “Get out. Your wife and I will clean this filth and cook your breakfast, then we will talk about our reason for visiting.” She strode to his bed and started removing the sheets.

The slap was still ringing in Tony’s ear, he didn’t spare Tandi a glance and walked out. He went to the foot of the Orange tree in the compound and sat, face down, his spirit beaten. There was no way anyone could go any lower than he had.

An hour later, Tandi stood before him. “Husband, food is ready. Come and eat.” She stood there, waiting for him to speak or move. When he did neither, she turned back to the house, her own tears falling.

“I will only cause you pain, Tandi. I don’t know where to go from here or how to take care of my immediate household. I have failed as a provider, and I care too much to allow you to suffer as well.”

She strode back to him. He could feel the anger with her every step towards him.

“My life was never in your hands to decide my fate. God gave me to you, and only God can cut this relationship off. I choose you as you chose me five years ago, when we exchanged hearts. You have no right to throw me away, no right.” She strode back to the house. 

Tony got up from the ground and dusted the back of his shirt. He smiled at her anger and the depths of her love for him, the first smile in a while. Something else, an extinguished light, flickered on in his heart. It was a low flicker, almost imperceptible, but it was there. He walked into his room and breathed in the fresh air and the smell of washing soap. The windows had been opened up, and all the dirty clothes washed, he could see them drying on the line behind his room. 

His mother walked in.” Sit down, Tandi is bringing you water.” She said as she laid the tray of rice on the floor by his bed. He sat on his bed, head bent, unwilling to look at her.

“Eat, we have much to discuss.”

Tandi walked in with water, and they sat on the floor by his bed and watched him eat. They were quiet, and Tony wished they could be loud in their anger. He wanted them to curse him out for giving up on himself and on life. Tony only got silence, and it was killing him. He pushed the food aside, unable to make it past half the plate. “Why are you here, mama?”

His mother turned to Tandi, who got up and took the tray of food and the empty cup away. She searched through her purse, then handed him an envelope.

“Read this, and let’s talk.”

Tony hesitated, then collected the envelope. Maybe she didn’t understand that he couldn’t deal with any more bills at the moment. He would read whatever she had brought out of respect, then return to his darkness when they left. He missed it already, his safe haven.

It was a letter written by his teacher. His mind went blank as he read, and later tears dropped from his eyes. He could feel them scald his cheeks as they descended. Tony couldn’t finish reading, the tears wouldn’t let him. So stood up to leave the room, his mother couldn’t see him cry.

“Stay. I know.” She said.

He looked at his mother through his tears, what was she on about? How could she know the contents in the sealed letter?

“Your teacher asked me to come here and deliver this letter a week before he died, he knew you would do this to yourself. He explained his plans for you in detail, in the letter he sent to me and asked me not to delay.” She got up from her position on the floor and walked up to him. With the tenderness she reserved for only him, she rubbed his back. “Didn’t he tell you not to be afraid of the future? Did he not tell you he would not leave you on your own, Tony? Why, why did you lose all hope, were you getting ready to die, to leave us, my only son?” She asked, crying again.

“I didn’t know…” He wept with her. “Mama, I didn’t know the plans he had for me.”

“What does the letter say?” She asked. Tandi had returned to the room at the sound of their crying. Tony cleaned his face as he turned away from her, then looked at the letter again.

“He asked me not to be afraid that he left me a helper, another teacher, to guide me through to become everything we had planned. The person’s name and address are written here, and he is expecting me. Mama, he also got me a job in a friend’s school, to do what I love. How can I thank this man, how?” He asked as he broke down, unable to control himself. All the fear and heartache he had experienced at the death of his teacher was for nothing. There was a way, life to be lived again, a family that still wanted and loved him. Tony’s knees crumpled to the floor in worship. 

The teacher had died but yet lived in him. He had left him a helper to guide him through to become all that God had planned for him. He was alive again.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Dwelling Place

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’ Psalms 91:1 

A light bulb plugged into the source is defective if it doesn’t produce light, so is a Christian who is plugged into Christ, but has not made himself/herself a dwelling place for the light/Jesus.

Imagine a man running up a mountain, away from mountain robbers, with no hope of help in sight. He keeps looking up for help and down to see how far the robbers are from him, his heart almost exploding. He climbs a ledge and sees a church, and runs forward, energized. He can hear the mountain robbers getting nearer, but there is hope. He races into the church and crashes through the front door, where there are several priests assembled in a meeting. The priests see the hoard of robbers running into the church and advance, to guard the man and to ensure the interlopers understand that they are on sacred ground, where nothing evil can befall a dweller. If you were the man, would you remain in that place, protected by God?

We are expected to dwell/remain/live in the presence of God. Life happens, but Jesus said that we are to be of good cheer, He has overcome, which means He is already victorious over life. How do we live victorious in Christ? By remaining in God’s presence at all times, avoiding arrows, pestilences, etc. However, the dwelling place is not available just for eating, sleeping, and living out our lives in rest and comfort. It’s there for us to understand that a transformation is expected of us. The man who found safety in God would have to leave the church and return home, but if he leaves without an understanding of where the peace, security, and rest he experienced came from, he missed it. 

In Christ, we are the light bulbs of the world. We are not only to dwell in Christ but to make room for His Spirit to dwell in us as well. We are to walk with Him all the time, and that’s the only way our lives can make sense. If the truth of who Christ is, is not seen in our lives, we are just defective light bulbs that are plugged into the source, unable to give light. What do you do to those? Take them out and trash them, then fix in working bulbs.

This is the truth of the gospel, one none of us can run away from. Christ is not seen in our talking or writing, but in the way we live. The Holy Spirit is there to help, guide, correct, and lead us into all truth. We are like the man that ran to God for help, and we are to continue on our way with the Holy Spirit because we know that it is only in Christ that we are safe, and even in death, He is glorified.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Choice (2)

‘Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. ‘ Matthew 27:32 

Please read the first post here – https://transformationplace.blog/2020/01/08/the-choice/

The soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to bear the cross, he was unwilling. The man was reluctant, and therefore, not a follower of Jesus. He didn’t understand the benefit of such an act and the reason for the pain he would have to endure, so his answer was no. This man’s name is written in all the history books and the Bible for the role he played, but it was not his choice. He became a helper, and burden-bearer for the Christ, though unwillingly. He carried the cross of Christ with all the ramifications it bears, and went all the way to Golgotha with Jesus. Nothing is coincidental with God, so why him? Of all the people in the crowd, why was this man chosen and forced to help our lord? The answers will not be found here, but I see death in this man’s story.

‘But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”‘ Luke 10:42 

Mary made a choice that disregarded the dictates of society and set her apart. She prioritized one thing, above all others, following Jesus, another death. To live in Christ is to die to ourselves, to remain plugged in and able to do God’s will. This is impossible with men, but with God, all things are possible. To understand that the life you live is in Christ and you have no life of your own is a difficult situation to grasp, but it can be lived out. How?

‘Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? ‘I Corinthians 6:19 

The follower of Christ houses the Holy Spirit, who Jesus called the helper. Jesus also said in John 16:13, that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. He is all we need. From when we wake up till we go to bed, we should be communicating with Him and being led by Him, because, without Him, we are still living our own lives. 

We may bear the external features that give away our identities, but internally, our spirits should be renewed continually to be more like Christ. God has provided grace and mercy, new every morning to aid us, and the Holy Spirit to guide us, so we are without excuses. Simon was not given a choice, yet died to himself, and Mary chose death by herself, so what choices are we making today?

God bless you as you listen to Jonathan McReynolds,’Cathedral’ – https://youtu.be/tfodIpQMtMc

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Our Sufficiency

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

“Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.’ 2 Corinthians 3:5 

Basic acts of living, like waking up and getting out of bed, dressing up, and leaving the house, are taken for granted. People go about their lives ignorant or not willing to consider the fact that they are not in control. There is a constant struggle to exist, to live better, and to hold on to what we’ve got. We don’t spare these activities any thought, most of the time, we just do what we have to do. In other words, we have become sufficient within ourselves to exist, live better, and succeed. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” John 15:5 

If we can live our lives as we see fit, why does Jesus say that we can’t do anything apart from Him? Scripture has taught us that there are different ways to live, in the vine (Christ) or in the world. To live in Christ is to wake up, get out of bed, dress up, and live in Him, by His grace, taking nothing for granted. To live that kind of life is to live in continuous praise of the goodness of God. That person understands that daily existence is by faith in the grace of the Father.

You can’t live in both worlds, that’s self-deceit. That’s living out your own will and believing that your faith in God will make it come to pass. We have all lived like that, imposing our will on God and expecting His stamp of approval, it doesn’t work. We must choose where we belong because the more you sit on the fence, the more the jagged edges torture your flesh.

How do we know that we are living in the vine?

  1. A daily walk with God that sustains and humbles
  2. Wisdom to direct and keep you on your path
  3. Total dependence on God’s grace
  4. Peace

We are not sufficient/enough in ourselves to live, life would be too hard. Our sufficiency must come from God, the Father, and our burden bearer. Our whole existence must be dependent on Him, or else, regardless of what we have achieved and become, we merely exist.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Case of the Do-Gooder

Photo by Eran Menashri on Unsplash

‘How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. ‘ Acts 10:38 

All through the New Testament, not much is said about the physical features of Jesus, the Christ. Most of us rely on the statues, films, and pictures generated over hundreds of years by the Church and artists of old. Over time, we realize that who He was had nothing to do with what he looked like, and everything to do with what he did and how.

Jesus knew what was in the heart of men; still, He did good. He saw their weaknesses, hypocrisies, and prejudices straight up, and yet, he dealt with empathy. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and fed the hungry, knowing that they would turn around and crucify Him. Let’s not forget his disciples, we know their stories, and yet, the Acts of the Apostles happened.

He made a choice in Gethsemane before Judas brought the soldiers, Jesus had chosen death. So He stood there as Pilate repeatedly tried to secure his life, and said not a word. Jesus did not call for reinforcements from Heaven when His own people screamed for His crucifixion. He knew he was God, but was bantered between Herod and Pilate as a common criminal, all in the bid to save a world that hated Him. He didn’t bat an eyelid when the people he had come to save chose a murderer over him, their God.

He didn’t stop there. Crucified with common criminals, he still had the heart through His pain and agony to save the one that believed; to pray for the ones who wanted Him dead, begging His Father to forgive them. He did not speak up in His defense but withstood the blame, the pain, and the sorrow, and when it was time, died. It was finished, He had run and finished His race, a real do-gooder.

The following characteristics are evident in His life:

  1. Humility before God
  2. Wisdom and understanding
  3. Love for men, that overlooked their weaknesses and failings
  4. A willingness to do the will of God, at the cost of His life

A real do-gooder is one who walks with the Holy Spirit and is therefore led by God. Doing good as we all know it is not easy, people turn around and bite the hands that fed them or don’t want or appreciate the things that are done for them. People have changed from their ‘giving ways’ because of acts of the ‘ungrateful,’ who are really us, all of us. 

The twenty-third chapter of Luke shows that doing good was the lifestyle of Jesus Christ. It was part of His DNA. He lived and did what He saw or heard from His Father, it wasn’t about Him. To live like Christ in a day like this is to be led, even in our giving. To walk with God is to walk with wisdom, understanding that we are giving not for ourselves, but for God. Jesus Christ gave of Himself, it wasn’t just about what He did, but how He did it too, he lived to give. He would go hungry to talk to the Samaritan woman. He fed thousands when His cousin John died. He put back the ear of the soldier, his disciple cut off in error, amongst other things that He did just before He died. Giving or living as led, with understanding and wisdom.

May the living water of the Holy Spirit continue to flow in and through us in Jesus’ name.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Bearing Fruit

Photo by Thomas Grübler on Unsplash

‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. ‘ John 15:16

What does bearing fruit connote?

  1. An internal process
  2. A state of being
  3. Birthing/producing
  4. Fruitfulness

The Cambridge dictionary defines bearing fruit as ‘being successful, especially after a lot of work or effort.’ Therefore, anyone that puts in a lot of work or effort can be successful, right? I wonder why some hardworking people, who have put in time and effort, sacrificing family, have been disappointed. Is bearing fruit or being successful really about a lot of work or effort?

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. ‘ John 15:4-5 

That’s the ‘secret.’ To bear fruit, be successful, fruitful, and to flourish, for God’s children is to abide in Christ. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word abide in the following ways, amongst others, as shown below:

  1. To remain stable or fixed in a state
  2. To continue in a place 

Sample Story: Nassim sought God about buying a product, and God told him to go ahead and how much to spend. He took off, confident in the fact that God had sent him. He got there and experienced problems paying, his account was debited for the amount God told him, but he couldn’t access the product. At the end of the day, Nassim had to pay a second time, but this time, a lower amount, not sure that the same problem would not crop up. He went home confused and depressed, not understanding if he really had heard God or if his mind had been playing tricks on him.

My questions:

  1. Is Nassim the first person God has sent out that encountered problems? No, the Bible and most Christians have stories of God sending people out and the challenges they faced doing God’s will
  2. Does facing challenges mean that God is not with us? No
  3. What was expected of Nassim at the point where he encountered the problem? To stay stable and fixed in and on Christ. Respond and not react.

To be firm or fixed in Christ is to be grounded in our faith that He is and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him. It was okay for Nassim to go with the flow when everything was working out, but when challenges came, his Spirit took a blow. Stability is to build on the rock, that is, Christ. An unyielding belief in God’s goodness, revealed by His Spirit.

What fruits are we expected to bear as children of God?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.’ Galatians 5:22-23 

A natural man cannot bear these fruits, no matter how much he forces himself. They are spiritual and can only be borne in the Spirit, as we stay fixed in Christ. Our parents taught us to lead good lives, lives worthy of emulation. The world, as we know it, has nothing to do with good, the ‘thing’ is money, goodness never fed anybody. God has prepared another way that has nothing to do with being good or having money. A path for the chosen in Christ, the ones that will bear fruit that remains, whose lives will continue to speak, inspire, teach and bless, even after they are long gone. 

As we continue to celebrate life in Christ, may we bear fruit as we walk in the Spirit, with diligence.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Reality of Resurrection

Photo by Anuja Mary Tilj on Unsplash

‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. ‘ Galatians 2:20 

What does it mean for someone to be dead? No longer living; devoid of life; lifeless.

Imagine with me for a moment. Think about waking up and being unable to feel yourself breath, unable to touch/need/want anything else for that matter. You try to get up, and you are floating, you have no weight, and your body seems to be hovering, you also cannot help yourself. People walk into the room, and you try to talk to them, and they can’t hear or see you, there is no way to communicate anymore. Nothing you own matters anymore because they are of no use to you, and nobody you know can help you. 

Paul says nevertheless or in-spite of the fact that he had died with Christ, he still lived. Now imagine going through death as shown above, and still be human. In Christ, we are enabled to die to our flesh, which yields a spiritual life, the resurrected life. This is possible because Christ lives in us, and He, therefore, enables us to live by faith. In essence, Christ gets to live out His life in and through us, and we die to the life that we lived, which was about us. 

Who can live like that? God says we can.

‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ John 1:12-13 

If we have shared in Christ’s death, we also took part in His resurrection. Even as He rose up from the dead, defying all laws and natural limitations, so we are to rise up and shine (Isaiah 60:1,2) We are to rise into who we are and the fullness of the things God has prepared for us. 

‘Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.’ Isaiah 60:1-2 

If our lives are hidden in Christ, then this period of resurrection is not just about Christ, it’s about us. It’s about the power of God that has raised us up to sit in Christ in the heavenly places. It’s about taking our rightful places in the kingdom and living out God’s will on earth. We may not fully understand, neither did Abraham, but that didn’t stop him from leaving everything he knew, in search of the promised land, whose maker and builder is God.

If you believe you can live beyond the person you are and in God’s will, tell our Father in heaven, and the Holy Spirit, the enabler, will help and guide you.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Process of Death

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Matthew 26:2 NKJV

By the time Jesus made the statement above, he knew everything about the process of His death. He was aware of the following:

  1. It was time
  2. The authorities were getting ready for him
  3. The people required to play different roles; the woman with the alabaster flask, the owner of the inn, Judas Iscariot, the chief priests, and his disciples
  4. The reason for his death

Most of this information, he gleaned from scripture, with the help of the Holy Spirit, others he got as He was led by the same Spirit. He did as required and set everything in motion, then got to the decision point, in Gethsemane. He laid his will, pain, and sorrow before the Father three times. Three times, he sought and submitted to the Father for the next phase of his life. He understood the reason, heck he believed in it because the scriptures had to be fulfilled and He was the man, but that didn’t make it easy. After the third time, Jesus stood up, relinquishing all for the cross, even his humanity. He died first before His Father.

Easter reminds us of this time. A time when a man chose the will of the Father over His and brought salvation to mankind. This period also reminds us that He did not die in vain. Everyone who believes in Him will go through this process to ensure that this redemption continues. 

How did Jesus do it?

  1. Wisdom and revelation: The Holy Spirit provided Him with all He required
  2. A knowledge of who He was and His reason for being
  3. Love for and an understanding of humanity 
  4. Humility before God: This enabled Him to chose God’s will over His.
  5. He walked His path alone, but with God.

‘I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. ‘I Corinthians 15:31 

Our example of this is Paul. He went through the process as shown by the Holy Spirit, knowing who he was and the reason for the choice God made in him. He laid down his life, so God’s will would be manifest on the earth. Note, death doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, but for us to take part in the resurrection, our humanity has to go, piece by piece, till there’s nothing left.

In this season, may we submit every part of our lives daily to God so that His process of transformation might enable us to live.

God bless you.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Another Way

‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.’ Proverbs 3:7 

Why did Jesus live and die?

He lived to introduce us to the new man, one that lives in righteousness and holiness i.e., a man that lives purely by God’s grace. God knew that people wouldn’t believe that life possible, so He lived it out, as a man. By His death, he made that life of grace accessible to all, not to some, to all.

From the Old Testament to the new, there are records of men who lived lives a lot of people think impossible. They lived by godly wisdom, which flows against the tide of that of men. Think about the sojourner who acquired wealth as he moved across lands, what about the slave turned prime minister, or the people redeemed from slavery, not by their might. In one story, a boy killed a giant with a stone, and in another, a prisoner of war became a king’s Chief Adviser. There were stories in which men were supernaturally sustained. Birds brought a man food, and a widow and her family lived through famine on next to nothing. A lot of those stories abound, then we have Jesus, that raised the dead and paid his tax from the belly of a fish. Note, these were all men, not characters from fiction, human beings.

Can we live sustained by God’s grace, depending on His wisdom alone? What are those fear factors that enable us to put God in the back seat to ensure that we work things out ourselves, because in our minds if we don’t sort them out, game over? What are the pictures or lies painted in our minds about problems, past, present and future, that take pre-eminence over God? The sad truth is that if we don’t bring them before Him and look them straight in the eye, they will make us keep the Redeemer in the back seat, while we (the false gods) keep tussling and thrashing about.

There is another way. Those lying pictures that keep our eyes trained on us and our lives are enabling us to live in our world, surviving on our own wisdom. Proverbs says, fear God. Let the fear of God be ever before you, let Him be your priority. Depart from evil or living in your way/wisdom/righteousness and submit to Him. The benefits are immense, and some are:

  1. Peace
  2. Health
  3. Grace – favor/covering
  4. The God-life that Jesus enjoyed

How do we start? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Go to the Father and lay those lies before Him, start with one, two, five, or all. Have them written down, so you don’t forget if that helps. It’s also important to note that you are going to your Father, not some judge, without feelings for you. This Father wants you to come, He wants to help, and He loves you.

‘But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. ‘I Corinthians 2:9-10 

Join me on my quest for another way, a better one.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Watch!

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

James sat up as the cock crowed, his usual wake-up time. He checked the alarm, it was 7 am, and stood up from his bed. He stretched as he went to the window and pulled the curtains apart. With daylight streaming in, he looked out to the road, a habit he had developed. Nobody was coming, as usual, so he went to get dressed and ready for work.

It was 8 am when he opened the store and took the ledger from the holding post on the wall, to begin his count.

“Ah, James, I’m not surprised,” Tobias, a fellow servant, said from the floor and hit the buttocks of the naked woman lying by his side. “Wake up sleepy head, the master’s storekeeper is here. We have to leave before he reports us.”

James didn’t say a word. He was done explaining to people who had an agenda. Since the master had still not returned and may not be coming back, he was doing the work assigned to him, whether they liked it or not. It was in the seventh year that James started believing in the tales that spread through the household and on the streets, that their master may never return. He kept working because their salaries were paid on time, and maybe, one day, the managing company may decide to audit.

“Keep working, James, I know the master will reward your service, when he returns from the dead.” Tobias took the lady’s hand, and they walked out of the store, laughing.

James dug his thumb into his palm and made a fist. He didn’t know how long he could tolerate the other servants, but this had gone too far. Using his store like that was out of the question. He dropped the ledger and walked out of the room, locking it behind him. He would report Tobias’ behavior.

“James, he was only having a little fun. You would have enjoyed the party last night if you would only cut yourself some slack. We invited you to Anthony’s call to bar last night, and you wouldn’t attend, why? The master is not here, and we, the servants, should band together in case anything happens. We all feel that you are an outsider with all these reports you come up with, jeez, they are tiresome! Live a little, James, it won’t kill you,” Maurice, the Head servant, said.

“Is that your response to my complaint?”

“How else do you want me to respond? Do you know where I slept,” Maurice asked, “In the master’s bedroom, with my girl.” He paused to let that sink in. “Join us, James. Are you not tired of being mocked and slighted at every turn? Of being left out and side-lined? You have known these men for more than ten years, and you know they are good people. The problem is you, James. When you behave like this, we don’t trust you.”

James nodded. “I understand. I’m sorry, but I have my personal reasons for my behavior. Be assured, that I am not the one disclosing the conduct of the staff to the public.” He walked out of Maurice’s office.

Lunchtime, James was out of the house and in the market place. His wife had a store there where she sold pots and cutlery. She smiled when she saw him approach, James entered the shop and kissed her cheek.

“How are you today, busy man?” She asked as she returned to her pots.

He sat on a bench provided for customers. “I don’t know Eliza, I don’t know how much longer I can do the master’s will.”

She smiled and sat next to him. “The master left his house to you in trust. If the others don’t understand that, you do. We are faithful people in our household, we keep our word. Why do you think I allow my husband to be gone every weekday, to return during the weekends? To keep the faith. The stories of all the happenings in that household are all over the place, but it will not be heard that my husband is a part of it. Keep the faith, dear, and teach your sons to do the same. They are watching you.” She pecked him and stood up, walking to the back of the store.

James smiled and looked upward. “Thank you, again.”

Eliza walked back in and set the food flask she was carrying on a nearby stool. “Hungry?”

Back at the house, James continued his work. Out of habit, he kept his daily work on a ledger, he had amassed a lot of ledgers in ten years, and the system helped him track his work and supervise areas with problems in the store. James had been able to track thefts and keep the storehouse going, improving the system over time. Nobody else cared to know what he did or how he did it, he only did his job, and he did it well.

He looked at his watch at 6 pm and closed the store for the day. He had bought new padlocks, which the seller had sworn were state of the art and had called in a blacksmith to change the locking system. He did all this with his money. He knew Maurice would not give him a second glance. The house was run on the money the store provided as the other servants had slacked off work. They sold the stock from the store weekly, and Maurice, as the head servant, kept the money for ‘expense’, as he called it, James kept records. 

He passed the main hall, which was empty and wondered where everybody had gone. A noise in the Leisure room upstairs alerted him to what could be their whereabouts. He debated what to do, the leisure room was where the master received VIP guests. James was not surprised that the servants were using it, it wasn’t the first time. His debate was about showing concern and being mocked, and in the end, interest won over fear. He took the stairs two at a time and turned into the hallway leading to the room. He stopped in front of the door and looked upward. “Here goes.” When he opened the door and walked in, the noise stopped.

“James, right on time, good man, come and try this whiskey. Come, come before one of these men beat you to it,” Maurice said, smiling.

All eyes were on him, waiting. 

James cleared his throat. “I heard some noise and wanted to investigate. Since you are the one’s here, I’ll take my leave.” James turned and took a step.

“If you leave this room, you will be out of this house by tomorrow morning,” Maurice said.

James turned back. “You have no right to fire me. I can only be sacked by the master.”

“Or the managing company. We could send a letter stating how things have been missing from the storehouse and found in your wife’s shop. We could find many people to collaborate with this story, James. Remember, it ‘s your word against ours.”

James was speechless.

“Make up your mind now, man, we haven’t got all day. For god’s sake, this nonsense has to stop. Why do we have to tiptoe around one man, who the heck do you think you are?” Maurice said.

James made a decision. “Do your worst.”

“Oh, we will. You’ll see, we’ll make sure you never work in another farm for the rest of your life!” Maurice was shouting as James had left the room. 

James stormed off to the garden, to the spot where the master could be found when he wanted to be alone and blew out a breath, maybe it was better this way. He noticed for the first time that darkness had taken over, the daylight was gone, and he wondered if that was the case in his master’s house as well, had darkness won? 

James deliberated on staying in the house or going home. He would have to tell his family about what the other servants were planning before the news broke.

“James.” 

He turned round in shock, he knew that voice.

“James, it’s me.”

For the second time that evening, James was struck dumb, the master had returned.

Till next time, be transformed!!