Mending Our Broken World Of Today
This week, I decided to approach my media discussion in a different way, from a different angle. I decided to do stories instead of the usual hard-driven socio-political issues that I have been accustomed to writing about over the last four decades or so.
In doing this, I want to believe that more people will be interested in the issues raised in these stories and therefore contribute more meaningfully, or I think I should say more spiritually, in the process of mending our broken mindset and our broken world of today.
In our first story, a priest was preaching his sermon on a Sunday Church service. His topic was “Keeping a good relationship with God.” The church was filled to capacity as usual. The priest spoke about how Christians must relate to each other and even to non-Christians as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, classmates, workmates, parishioners and friends. Because, the way Christians related to each other was an epitome of the way they relate to God, the priest insisted that the best form of relationship was not the hot one.
Nor was a cold relationship good enough. He told his audience that the best form of relationship was a warm relationship. He then advised all parishioners to try to keep their relationships warm at all times, no matter who they were bonding with. “But often there are impediments on the way to achieving this warmth in our relationships. In order to achieve this desirable warmth in our relationships, Christians must behave like the children they always teach. Yes. We must behave like our children,” he pointed out.
He adjusted his gold reamed glasses and looked intently at the audience from the pulpit for a few minutes without saying a word. Everywhere in the Church became as quiet as a graveyard. No one had any idea what the priest had in mind. Then, all of a sudden, he asked: “who can tell me what lessons we parents can learn from our children?”
For a fairly long time, no one spoke. No one had an idea. The general thinking was: “what can our children possibly teach us? What do they know?” Then someone in the audience raised her hand. “Yes?” the preacher answered as he looked up. “Obedience.” “Yes. Obedience” the preacher concurred. Another hand flung up. “Love.” “Yes, Love” Another hand: “Truthfulness.” “Yes. Truthfulness.” It soon became crystal clear that there were a whole range of things parents could learn even from their own children, in order to maintain warm relationships with their fellow men and with God.
Our second story was about a prominent American evangelist. This great man of God was billed to come to Kano to preach in a crusade. With the gruesome events that are unfolding daily as the Boko Haram insurgents continue to hit the Northern parts of Nigeria, everyone knew that preaching in Kano was not going to be a child's play. The preacher would definitely come by many obstacles, mostly from those who saw Christians as “unbelievers”. But the man of God was not daunted. He had already sent out a poster of himself in a three-piece suit and the poster practically adorned every conspicuous space in Kano metropolis.
The man of God boarded a first flight from America while a second flight carried his luggage. He arrived at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos enroute Kano and waited for the second flight to come in. An hour later, the plane arrived. But his luggage was not in it. It had been stolen! The man of God was miffed. He did not understand why anyone would steal his luggage when even God Himself knew that his mission to Kano was so important. He turned to pray. He began to ask God why this should happen to him.
A young man at the airport saw the man of God in agitation and asked him what the matter was. The evangelist explained that he was billed for a crusade in Kano and that he had made extensive preparations to that end. But now, he had no clothes to wear, and no money to spend, because all his clothes and money were in his stolen box. “I am so confused, I don't know what to do”, he said in exasperation. “I am convinced that God no longer wants me to participate in the crusade. This may be the way He is warning me.”
The airport worker excused himself and went out. When he came back about half an hour later, he had a locally made national dress with him. He offered it to the man of God and said to him: “Go on to Kano and work for God. He never disowns His own!” Encouraged, the man of God boarded the next flight to Kano.
By the time he arrived, the stadium was filled to capacity with Christians from all walks of life and from every nook and cranny of Kano and nearby cities and villages. They had come for the crusade because they learnt that a powerful man of God was coming to preach from America. The band was playing very melodious songs. The atmosphere was charged.
The man of God mounted the rostrum and began to speak the Word. He had spoken for about an hour when two men came towards the podium. One of them had a gun, the other a locally-made poisoned arrow. They were halted by the ushers and the security agents. They surrendered their weapons and then they began to cry.
When they were interrogated, they said they were hired killers. They had been shown the poster of the evangelist and told “if you see any man in this three-piece suit, kill him. He is our arch-enemy.” They had been paid for the job. But now, they had searched through the entire crowd and couldn't find anyone with that type of three-piece suit. The worst thing was that they would be killed if they got home without accomplishing the mission for which they had accepted money. That was why they were crying.
That day, the spirit of God was made to touch the hearts of the two assassins and they converted to Christianity. Yes. The man of God was sad that some thief had stolen his luggage. But how was he to know that God wanted to save him from an untimely death by using the "service" of a thief?
And then we come to our final story for today. Not really a story in that sense. I think it is more of a discussion and I would appreciate it if our numerous readers chipped in their opinions after reading it. Yes. I have discovered that there are two types of people in our society today. These two types of people are always in an argument. Each type sees the other as foolish. This scenario will illustrate the types of people I am talking about.
A certain man went to a shop to buy a commodity. He bought something worth N200.00 and gave the shopkeeper a N500.00 note. By right, the shopkeeper should give him a change of N300.00. But for whatever reason that could range from lack of concentration to tiredness, the shopkeeper gave this customer N400.00 change.
In one case, the man looked at the money, realised the shopkeeper gave him more than his change and returned the extra money.
There are two types of shopkeepers here. One type said: “Thank you. God bless you. You are such a good man.” And when the customer left the shop and others came in, the shopkeeper told them about the good man who returned the excess change he mistakenly gave him. The other type said the same 'thank you' initially, but when the customer was gone and others had come in, he told them how stupid the earlier customer was: “you can't believe that the fool returned the excess change I gave him.
This sort of people will never get rich!” In a similar vein, the other type of customer took the excess change and said: “God, I thank you because you have buttered my bread today” as he quickly made his exit from the shop.
The question here is: who is wise and who is foolish? Is it the straight customer who did not want to get rich 'by all means' and returned the excess money that was given to him by the shopkeeper or the shopkeeper who saw him as a fool? Or was it the customer who thanked God for buttering his bread? Both of the last two types believe that if a grasshopper does not eat another grasshopper it will never grow – and want to get rich 'by all means'.
My friend, what is your stake on these two types of people in our society who have continuously struggled very hard to outdo each other in controlling the trend of our mindset in our today's broken world?