Friday, January 06, 2017

Make it mutual

Happy new year! Thanks for visiting. Please enjoy, learn and share.

There is always so much excitement among Christians on the first Sunday of every month. Those Sundays are popularly called ‘Thanksgiving Sunday' or 'Thanksgiving Service’. I have wondered for a while though why it is termed Thanksgiving Sunday and separated as a special day to 'give thanks' or 'special thanks'. Our daily lives as Christians should be a life of Thanksgiving. The thrill of the Thanksgiving Sundays is not always as much as that of the first Sunday of the year as it is the only Sunday when Christians, especially workers in some churches, get to ‘dress their best’ (traditional attires majorly). Everyone is always looking so radiant and beautiful especially the women with their headgears, heavy jewellery, colourful faces and all. Me sef, I baf up small. I wore iro, buba and gele (a native Yoruba wear for women) for the first time. The Pastor and ministers are not left out; they can wear any native outfit.

The first Sunday of this year was not any different from the typical first Sundays. As a matter of fact, the excitement was twice as much because it was also the first day of the year. During the service, a minister announced that it was time for testimonies and whoever had a testimony should raise their hands. The ‘testifiers’ were given numbers. Some testimonies were mind-blowing, amazing ones. We all have reasons to thank God, agreeably. However, there was something I picked on in the course of the testimonies. There were some testimonies of absolute materialism. I love these people and as much as I want to, I refuse to quote them. They will probably read this anyway. There was someone who talked about a list she made the previous year of things she wanted God to do for her and how God did only 70% of them but that she was really grateful. Another person said almost the same thing except that God gave him 100% of all he asked for. Thank God for that. There were other similar testimonies too and statements like “God did this, God did that”, “this year I trust God to do this, to do that”. I was just sitting there like “God, how do you feel right now?”

While all these were being said, I knew I had to say something but I could not, of course because we were in church. You know, you have to behave yourself na. I then realised that it was not just me; the Spirit wanted me to say something. He was asking me to say something. I felt reluctant and I struggled with it, stood up and left the service briefly. When I returned, the impulse to speak was more so I beckoned to an usher, mehn God bless those ushers, they are very efficient. I told him I had something I needed to say. He thought it was a testimony and told me it was quite late as the minister on the altar was concluding that session. I had to tell him it was not a testimony; I just needed to say something. He informed the minister on the altar to permit me which she did. I stood up, walked to the front, took a look at the congregation and then poured it out. I said (not precisely quoted), “Praise God! This is not a testimony. I was led to say this. Everyone is busy thanking God for what He has done and making requests for Him to do more. It should not be a question of what He can do for us but what we can do for Him. I am not saying it is wrong to ask God for what we want. Why not? Go ahead, do. He is our Father. All I am saying is have you ever asked what you can do for Him? It is a relationship between you two. Everything should be mutual and not one-sided. When you made a list of what God should do for you, did you also make a list of what you will do for Him?” There was serious silence here, agreement nods and heaves of sigh here and there as I looked straight in the eyes of some while I spoke calmly. I continued, “I know this is ministering to one or more persons here. Now, a new year is here I bet you have new requests and most likely a new list but do you also have a list of what you will do for Him? Why do we even need a list of wants anyway? We have all we need in Christ already! We have eternal life! (exclusive to believers only). We live the life of Christ. We are in Christ and Christ in us. We have what He says we have.”
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” –Romans 8:32

A friend of mine said, these earthly, material things only makes us happy not God; what truly makes God happy is the salvation of souls. I totally agree. Read Luke 15:4-10
"Likewise I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents." -Luke 15:10

Not that it means God is not happy when we live in abundance or when we have what we want. Of course He is, that is why He blesses us but we should also do things for Him too.

“And He said to them, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15

That is our primary assignment as Christians. This is what brings joy to God. I rounded up what I said in church with these questions which I am also asking you. Let the answers be between you and God. “What are the things you did last year that you can do better this year? What did you do last year that you should not do this year? What did you not do last year that you should do this year? These things include service to God personally and in your local church, commitment to God’s work, preaching and teaching, ministering to others, helping out and making yourself useful in the house of God etc. Does your New Year resolution contain spiritual goals too? Ask yourself these questions, answer them, do the needful and work hard at them. Do not be self-centred in your requests. Do cheerfully for God what you should do for God, your reward is certain. Remember, it is not always a question of what God can do for you but also what you can do for Him.” Ponder on these things. God bless you.
Have a fruitful year!