IMPORTANCE OF FINDING YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE!
Profound speech by Chief Justice Hon. David K. Maraga
When I was requested to come and talk to you today, my mind went to my own graduation at the University of Nairobi way back in 1977.
I asked myself: “What would I have wanted to hear, and what have been my greatest lessons about life outside the lecture rooms?”
It looks clear to me that finding my purpose in life and honouring my God and my calling have been the most significant events in my life since leaving university. It still makes me shudder when I look back and ask: What if I never found myself, what if I’d ignored the inner voice urging me to seek greater meaning in my life, my profession and my engagement with my Church and the community?
Let me first tell you a little about my life’s story, and from it you will no doubt see how amazing God’s grace will always be.
Having been born into a rather poor family in Nyamira, I got to wear my first pair of shoes when I was admitted to Secondary School, and that was only because it was compulsory. Worse still, I got to wear my first pair of shorts only after circumcision, at the age of 10. It is perhaps a good thing that those were not the days of today’s pervasive selfies and paparazzi, otherwise I wonder what pictures of the Chief Justice as a young man would be circulating in the social media today. There is one I took with my first car, a Volkswagen beetle which looks interesting. Perhaps I should have it tweeted an I see the reaction.
Although my parents were not Christians, I was baptized and joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1965 while in Primary School, thanks mainly to the great influence of the SDA in the area. However, I got into bad company in Secondary School and slipped in the spiritual sense. While in that bad company, I drunk hard and, except for providing for the bare necessities, I ignored my family and literally mark-timed for about 20 years. I did not bother to further my professional career.
But all that time the Spirit of God kept prodding me to return to Church. When I eventually returned, God pointed me to a path of unwavering purpose that has brought me to where I am today. It is after I discovered my purpose in life that I realised I needed to do a masters degree and I went to class after 34 years.
With this new path, some of my friends started mockingly calling me Pastor because I refused to buy them alcohol. In the Seventh-day faith, drinking or giving others alcohol is a sin. I found that I could not continue keeping their company and still be a Christian.
I started organizing my life.
Other than a small piece of land I had bought in Nakuru which is my rural home, and changing cars, I made little investment. After I crossed the floor as Parliamentarians say, I realized that I could make some minor investments with the same amount of income instead of drinking. After the change, as a private legal practitioner, I got more and better clients. God blessed the work of my hands and as my involvement with communities increased, so did my growth professionally and materially.
When I joined the Judiciary in 2003, I in no time earned respect from my colleagues because of my Christian principles.
Let me not bore you with the story of my life. But allow me to say this. I am sure I would not have been appointed Judge, leave alone being the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya today, had I not eventually found my purpose in life and pursued it relentlessly. And in pursuing this purpose, the principle ingredient was ensuring that I was in the service of God, my family and my community in equal measure.
In a nutshell, my brothers and sisters, I don’t know about you but as for me, I say this: it is great to be a Christian.
Speech by Hon. Justice David Kenani Maraga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya during the 37th Graduation Ceremony of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) on Oct 19. 2018