May 18, 2023

Feeling thirsty, sweaty and dehydrated at the Ilorin Airport on my last visit to the city where I grew up, I approached a kiosk for a drink, only for a young man (Lawrence) to come and pick up the bill. The air conditioning system had been put off for a while and I could feel the consequences. I expressed my distress to Pastor Sam Enesi, who was playing host to me and he approached the kiosk with me to buy me a drink, that was when the kind man quickly asked for the opportunity to pay for it. Moments later, after passing through security, he approached me with a love gift of $200. By now, my curiosity at the purpose of his generosity was growing, to which he responded ‘I was taught well sir, I am a member of COZA’.

It will not be the first time I was being a beneficiary of such honour as a minister of the gospel. Many members of Global Harvest Church delightfully pick up bills for me and many outside of our ministry have also done the same over the years. However, what was worthy of note for me was the pride with which Lawrence said ‘I was taught well’. Like a son who is proud of his upbringing would allude to the parental nurture that shaped him, the young man referenced the teachings of his church family. As a beneficiary of the generosity of their leaders in time past with gifts in cash and kind, including a car gift, it has become the culture in their church. This practice which has become a norm and house culture is a product of teachings and modelling before disciples. I began to reflect on the amount of influence spiritual and secular leaders wield on their followers. As positive as this culture of honour and generosity is, so are negative values propounded by various leaders around the world. The encouraging side of it for me is that shaping culture is something possible.

Teaching and modelling are very powerful. They have led many people into fulfillment and blessing and on the order hand, led others to their destruction. David Koresh led over 80 people into their untimely death in a standoff with the FBI in the USA in what is known as the ‘Waco Siege’. In the Guyana massacre , over 900 people took a poisonous substance and died with the leader(Jim Jones) before government’s intervention could reach them. The Twin Towers of the September 11 attack on the United States of America destroyed by terrorists who also perished in the two air strikes with over 3,000 others, were caused by extreme religious teaching. It is amazing what people can do positively or negatively as a result of teaching. The answer to the above question is nothing but the result we see in the lives of our followers. What we are teaching and demonstrating before them reflects in their lives. The late Kenneth E Hagin said ‘If you want to see anything in your church, teach it’. Every life and every church is a product of teaching. If as a believer you want to see certain types of results in your life, focus on teachings on the subject matter. The more you hear them, the more they shape your values and consequently your life.

This leads me back to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19;

“to make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.”

The summary of the Great Commission is to teach people the message of Christ till they are transformed into the character and competence of Jesus Christ. The objective of all disciples is that they would be reflections of their masters. Lives that will reflect the love, compassion, selflessness and miracles of Jesus Christ should be the result of our teachings. If only all professing Christians of my native country Nigeria were like Christ, what a wonderful country we would have. Imagine all professing Christians in the world are transformed people who reflect the character of Christ, what a wonderful world it will be.

I pray this same exhortation will get into the ears of our political leaders who need to revisit educational curricula from primary to tertiary levels so as to insert civics into them. In a nation driven by greed and avarice, the solution to corruption is not only found in making scapegoats of a few politicians as a deterrent to others. There must be a reshaping of the national psyche from the warped and corrupt mould that is producing such poor character in our populace, to an invasion of our minds with teachings that will reshape our thinking. I do hope that governments will take responsibility for the young, so our nations and societies can reap better results.

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