‘Stay where God wants you to stay, do what God wants you to do, and say what God wants you to say.’ These are borrowed lines from one of my wife’s songs in her second album, titled ‘I am a plus’. The summary of the song is that you will be ‘a plus to your generation, a plus to your family, and a plus to your nation.’ Indeed, she ends it with ‘I am a child of God’. That means a child of obedience, hence she is a plus because she obeyed and did as God commanded.
Somebody then asked me how he would know where God wants him to stay if he does not try his hands in several things, even if he does not have the expertise.
In Abuja, the story was told of an Igbo man who worked as a bricklayer for fifteen years, with contentment. He married a wife who did not give him much problem, and they both managed whatever he was able to bring in. They sent their children to the schools around their area, living within their means.
But one day in his place of work, one big man who came to buy blocks was talking to his boss. He wanted to buy land in Apo area of Abuja and this bricklayer happened to know somebody who owns a land in that area and wanted to sell. That was how innocently, he became a middleman to honest Nigerians, who ended up paying 10% on both sides. The man was given cash and he almost went mad with joy. He opened a provision shop for his wife in Wuse market and bought himself a car.
There was a lot of drama on how he almost ran mad with about N3 million cash under his bed, on top of his chest, inside the ceiling, inside the drum of water, until it was dawn when he was advised to open an account immediately. The moral, however, is in the fact that for 15 years, the man stayed where God wanted him to stay. He did exactly what God told him to do, and in spite of the low income and the low status of his job, he did it happily and with satisfaction.
That is not the case today with a lot of people who flow with the wind, ‘anywhere belle face’, as we say in football. If they are selling yam and suddenly their neighbour selling orange is making 200% returns on oranges, they immediately change to orange. If their neighbour selling plastic buckets begins to make profit, they change again and when pure water begins to ‘move market’, they change too. They forget that the people selling those items have also made sacrifices and must have incurred some losses at the beginning. But these people are looking for short routes. They want to drive flashy cars, live in gigantic mansions, and ‘carry the chromest of babes’.
And for the women, they want already made men, not minding how he is making the money.
Reduce your greed
My friend used to organise ‘Christmas Jamboree’ in most primary schools in the FCT every December - Father Christmas, two clowns, and two cartoon characters - and they move from school to school. It was their idea and they were the owners; that was how my friend paid his staff and raised money for the beginning of the next year.
But suddenly, because he was making profit from it, almost all the school proprietors closed their gates to him and are now organising these events themselves. They have hijacked somebody’s idea and added it to their own. They have a school, they collect school fees. Now, they have collected the little means of income of this young man. How do you want him to stay where God wants him to stay?
In fact, that was exactly what I told him. That is not where God wants you to stay. That is not what God wants you to do. As a theatre practitioner, the world is open before you. When you get to where God wants you to stay, believe me, you would know. First, learn a trade or chose a vocation that you enjoy and stay there. No matter how poor the profit is, with consistency and continuity the heavens are bound to smile on you too.
But this ‘grab all and acquire all syndrome’ is what is leading directors who earn monthly salaries to be struggling with the genuine contractors. They are like the school proprietors, not allowing some people to know where God wants them to stay. If you reduce your level of greed and I reduce mine, perhaps, it will be a better place for all.