Not my circus, not my monkeys

By Linet Wanjira

This is a modern phrase for Levites and Pharisees of our age. People who pass on the other side, minding what they think they ought to. It’s been a while since the preaching about the Good Samaritan but I have been thinking about it and especially in light of two incidences that happened recently.

I got out of work on Tuesday at 7:30pm. It’s a weekly thing so I am well prepared with “weapons of mass destruction”-flat walking shoes that can do 100m/min. While in town, a small street boy approaches me and I shake my head furiously-something about walking fast makes me furious. I have no food today and I don’t give out money. He quickly moves on to the lady beside me. She’s amazing. She gives him some juice she’s having. He insists on more and she opens her purse, takes out a few coins. He insists. She is getting worried and starts to yell, just before, she sees a battalion of street children ahead. She has no chance of getting out. By this time I’ve applied my brakes and visibly stood on the road watching the exchange, the harassment. I decide to go get her by the hand and pretend we are friends and I’ve been looking for her. But then obvious vertical challenges (I am a short person) beset me. Should the attacker/s turn their attention to me, I will not stand a chance. As I stood there, I watched as 4 people pass. None bothered at all that a lady is being forced to give money. Not their circus, not their monkey.

A colleague unjustly makes accusation about another at a place of work. They are your friends, both of them, but confronting what is obviously wrong will slow you down at your own work. You watch as the pain and hurt grows. You think it’s immature for people to have conflicts. So you shove it aside and straight up ignore it. Act like everything is fine and somehow it will be. ‘It’s not my conflict, it’s not my call, they are not my mistakes, it’s not my job, it’s not my character, it’s not my reputation, I’m not Jesus, it’s not my circus, they are not my monkeys’

Minding your own business means completely two different things in Christ and in the world. In the world, minding your own business means doing the best for your name and your reputation. Minding your own business means living in a cocoon of self where the highest good for self is to be sought for nothing else matters. When someone who is not a believer says he’s “minding his own business”, he can be excused within his own worldview if he lives comfortably even in the midst of the pain, deception, corruption, loss and loneliness of other people around him. It doesn’t matter to him, it’s not his circus, and they are not his monkeys.

However, in Christ, minding your own business means leaving no man behind (A phrase from Man Enough)! It means getting creative to get your brothers and sisters out of trouble the same way you would do for self. It means taking every opportunity to rectify or at least mitigate some of the consequences of sin around us. In many movies, when a single mum is looking for a new date, her first instinct is that, ‘he must be willing to accept me and my children even though they are not his’. If we are to become like Christ, we are to accept Him and all His children even though they are not ours. No matter what we do, they will never be ours and we will never love them the same way God does. Still, we must love them, seek their highest good above ours even when it’s difficult. When we enter a relationship with Christ, they became both our circus and the monkeys within it.

Are you worth your salt? Or have you lost your saltiness? Matthew 5:13-16. Have you been minding your business (other people) of late?