By Adedara S. Oduguwa (1/11/2017)
Compliment of the new season. Yesterday as I was preparing for a business meeting, this topic came to mind “When You Serves God What Happens To Men?” I called my beautiful wife to discuss it. As usual, she gave very intelligent contributions and asked as usual what inspires my interest in going religious rather than my usual political or economical literary direction. Then, I replied “from my personal experience and scientific (observational) approach to life, masses of our people prefer to depend on wealthy men or others more advantaged than God. This partly accounts for why many cannot become whatever they choose to become. Since no man can make a fellow man richer, wealthier, popular, powerful and more respected than himself. Should such happens, it is often a sheer process of mistake and not genuine willingness.”- I said in retaliation to her question.
My wife smiled, chuckled and said “ Poet what you just said is evident in the book of Jeremiah 11:9 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ Most people don’t believe in God’s plan. They rather believe in what they can see (since they cannot see God physically) than what they cannot see.” She submitted.
Then, I look at how many people have self-limited themselves from true success for ephemeral success, temporal happiness for lasting peace and little growth for everlasting wealth. Then, it was done on me that this piece when written will help 100s of people who are presently suffering from self-limitation as a result of over dependent on men and not God.
Many years ago, I was only a 200 level Business Administration student in the University. I desired a laptop but couldn’t open my mouth to ask my dad since he has too many responsibilities on his neck. My perception of my dad in those days was a very broke man who have more expenditure than revenue. So I spoke to God silently since it was not in my tradition to share my problem with anyone except my immediate younger brother Gbuyi and my friend Mayowa. Around that time, I had some N4500 with me in my World Bank account. I have deep faith in God as a child (even more than ever now). I believe sowing a seed into a needy’s life could get me a laptop. But then, the money must be giving to a needy and not someone who is desperately in need of cash for some bottles of beer or probably to buy clothing for his girl friend. Yes, this is a meager amount but that was all in my World Bank account. Few days later (can’t be précised on whether two or three days), someone came to my mum (for financial assistance). One thing must be said about Mama Dara (as mother was fondly called), she could give her eye to anyone so far she has it. We learnt the act of giving from her. She gives without consequence. Unlike my dad, who is more calculative and economizing. This act of my mum has put the family into unwarranted wants many times. Well, story about the duo is for another day.
Back to my story. Mama Dara couldn’t help at this time. She was broke but promised the woman to come back in few days. I eavesdropped their conversation from my room, and saw it as opportunity for me. Immediately the woman left our sitting room, I rushed out to the back gate. Mum already left to see her husband. I called the woman and asked, “How much did you asked her?” “I need 3500 to start slippers hawking business because of my kids. Their father is irresponsible”- She submitted. I was not concerned about what she wanted to use the money for. Rather, I was interested only in meeting her needs and whether what I have would meet her need. So I pushed out my meager N4500 naira and gave to her. And said to her “Please take this, its N4500, don’t see me and thank me for this so that nobody (my mum inclusive) would ask me questions.” She almost wept to tears in appreciation but I told her it’s ok. I had peace within me. Immediately I gave her that money, I became a zeronaire (my word for being broke to nothing). But was happier than before.
Surprisingly, some two days later, a brother of mine brought two new Acer laptops for sale to my dad. The laptop originally worth 120,000 naira each at the time but sold at 150,000 naira. Father called me and transferred ownership. He added this token of words:
“I know you will need a laptop as a university student. It was your brother that brought it for sale and I have paid him N300,000 for the two laptops. One for Sola and the other for you. You are a responsible child, keep it up.” I was so elated and thanked him. Of course any child would be happy for such gift especially in a polygamous setting where fingers are not equal. But then, I was more thankful to God than to my biological father. God did it as usual! He made my dad to spend outside his budget. That experience still rings bell and this is not the first time I will be sharing this particular story with friends.
When you serves God, he will work for you same way an employee works for his employer. God is capable of meeting all your needs than the richest man in your town or in the world. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Like magic, everything will work. As a young man, I have tested and tasted God more than any and I thank Him for the privileges. The shocking thing is that, He has never failed me even for once. I have never depended on anyone but God. Whenever I need anything, I asked God quietly and He often use any man for me even the most foolish, wicked and irresponsible of all.
Serving God is a process. Which include:
- Going to Church and or becoming a worker in church
- Preaching to others about salvation and doing good
- Giving to the needy
- Putting all your faith in Him
- Serving God with clean conscience.
However, out of the aforementioned ways of serving God, I have combined 3, 4, and 5 as a tool for serving God. For instance, when I was in SS 2 at Remo Divisional High School Sagamu, I was not anything close to brilliance. I often pray to have 2 Credits and 3Passes in order to pass to the next class. My examination results were nothing to write home about. I was happy the day my dad gave all my primary and secondary school report cards to the woman selling ojojo (Yoruba name for water yam cake).
So, at this particular year, it was promotion exam term. I was privileged to see my scores before the final broadsheets submission. I must pass 5 courses at Cs and Ps level if I must promote to the next class. I already passed 4 courses with F9 in Math and C6 in English. Then I was hopeful on Yoruba. At this period , students usually assist teachers with marking (don’t know if it is still the same today) , I remember my friends Sanya Akinyemi and Olamide Alonge (both are men today) were parts of the markers. They showed me my script and I got 21. With 14 in the test that is 35. I broke down. And was preparing to repeat that class. When I got home that day, I couldn’t eat. Mama Dara asked what the problem was, but I said I was feeling sick.
Later, in my room, I spoke to God about it “God, I know you are bigger than my problem and capable than anyone including my teachers. I don’t know how you will do it, I must not fail. In Jesus name I prayed (Amen).” That was on Wednesday or so. Friday was the last working day in school, followed by the reports’ card week. I was in school and it was time for collection of our Yoruba script. My friend Taiwo Oloyede (popularly known as TJ Lion) picked mine for me. I was not interested since I have seen the score before. He gave me my script and for the second time I looked at the score. This time, surprisingly, the score was different. I got 38 in that exam not 21. Wow! I was so happy. I later learnt that the teacher discovered some irregularities in marking and decided to re-mark. I smiled and my faith in God became firm and increased.
Also, when I entered the University, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) now Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), this time my faith was greater in God and my determination was bigger than my age. My story changed from worse student performance to the best or one of the top 3 positions in class. I have kept 4points from that time to date. At a time, everyone in my class failed a course in UNAAB, I got 43. Out of about 600 students. It was a GNS course. Then I concluded that faith in God is greater than faith in men.
When you have faith in God, God will be at peace with you and the glory of God will shine over you always. Your achievements will be permanent and everything will turn out well for good for you. Men will envy, hate and jealous you. In addition, men will start investigative journalism on what make you thick and how you are this great. In fact, they will be so busy monitoring your little achievement thereby ignoring their much needed opportunities. You will be emotionally and physically contented and stable with whatever you have while men will be emotionally barren and physically lackry even in surplus. But never be dismayed. Faith in God comes with many other value added benefits (VABs):
- You will eat food prepared by others for others;
- You will be more proactive than those who plan the plan;
- You will have everything whenever the need arises;
- No man will have the power to mock or disgrace you;
- You will have power over disappointments;
- And you will never be genuinely loved by your wealthy, older and much influential contemporaries, friends, close or extended family members and neighbours.
However, I am sure not many would agree with me on the sixth point. But in truth, human nature is full of ego and deceit. We love to be hailed, respected and served. From my little experience in life, I have not seen such man that wants you to be richer, intelligent and fortunate than himself. Not even a wish from anyone. Most people prefer to give you plates of meal every day than teaching you how to farm. Since they know that once you can farm there won’t be reason for you coming back to them. Men like you so that you can always depend on them, serve them and remain their errand boy. Yet, the little they have is beyond their control (since only God can determine the next minute). But the irony, only very few people serves God. Many prefer to serve men.
When You Serve Men
Why do men serve men? This is the first question that comes to mind. A simple answer to this is that, men by nature believe in what they can see than what they cannot see. We all know how wealthy Dangote and Otedola are. So why should we serve God who we can’t see His houses or cars. This is foolish reasoning. Arguably, wealthy men have more faith in God than the poorest among us. That is why the poor keep going to the wealthy while they (wealthy men) go to God.
When you serve men, men will like you, feed you and can attempt to make you better than they met you. But not richer than themselves. The best any man can give would be 10-15% of his wealth in the project you. Then you will be happy and satisfy with such. With utterances like “If not for Mr Bell, I can never build a house”. Foolish you! You have just missed God’s promises for you. Because God might have promised to give you 100 houses in order to have more houses than 5 of Mr. Bell , but instead for you to go to God , you went to Mr. Bell. Have we ever wonder why such people are often celebrated by wealthy men? Because wealthy and men of affluence are comfortable that such men can never challenge their authority. Not because they love such men (men that worships men), but because wealthy men like power and authority to controls others’ obedience. From observation, at least 90% of our people fall within this bracket and only some 10% truly believe in God.
About 18years ago, I was then in JSS 2, I was in the car with my dad to the Palace. And one man shouted from nowhere “Lisa Ajua Barego. Kofoworola Omo Oduguwa!” father horned and drove off. I asked my dad what was that for and he said “Dara, Olola ni wa, o n ki wa ni” (meaning: we are wealthy people, he was just greeting us). Then I replied “That is nonsense, because we don’t feed him.” I can’t remember if my dad said anything thereafter. I was down in spirit and it really baffled me that I still keep that memory till date. Then at age 14, I have developed zero tolerance for men of affluence who want to be served than to be respected. I choose it as point of duty that when I am of age, I will serve the poor than to become servant tools in the hand of the oligarchies and aristocrats.
Besides, the wealthiest man in the world today cannot buy good health and do not have control over his own property when natural disaster beseech such (God forbid). But God has control over the waters, seas, lives, the earth and everything thereon it. In addition, a case in reference was when a General in the 1990s was on death row as ordered by the then Nigerian born Adolf Hitler. God in His power took the Generalissimo’s life and the captive General was released. This made him to quit politics and public life till date. God is everything that we need not man. When you go to God, he will speak through the heart of any man to do whatever you have asked of him.
How to know you are worshiping men and not God?
- When you discover that you are dependent on someone or some people for everything
- When your faith in God is shaking
- When you think you are unlucky
- When you have failed more times than you have excelled.
- When wealthy men will always say very good things about your loyalty.
The above are few symptoms of serving men not God. And are also symptoms of penury (physical or mental). You need God at this point!
When You Are Serving God?
Wealthy men won’t like you. Even with little pretence of likeness. This is because they are always afraid of anyone who might question their authority. All they know and have is power to control others through poverty. They might start calling you names like “Proud , stupid , useless etc”. More so, the rage of envy, hatred and jealousy they have for you can only be controlled by your failure or death and nothing else. Remember the Yoruba adage “Inu ni bini ko ko aimo iwa wu” (meaning: those who hate you will hate you, no matter how good or not good your behaviour can be).
The Good news is that, never be disturbed, face God and be happy that you are not one of the fools that beg for bread from men rather than going to God for bakery. The irony is that, the oppressors themselves know who their captives are and who will never be a captive. God is all that matters! According to the book of John 15: 7-8‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you …’ Trust Him and for sure you will have many testimonies than mine.
Adedara is a Christian and writer from Sagamu, who is inspired by his personal life experiences.