Last June, I worked with some brethren in the local church assembly to plan and execute a picnic. God in His infinite mercies enabled us to raise the funds and execute our plans. All went well. The brethren were happy. The kids loved it. We did not spare anything to give them the time of their lives. As the organizing team, we prayed that the kids would always remember this picnic and at the same time remember Jesus. I had this experience as a kid and I wanted the same for them. All in all, it was a good good great time in the presence of God and the brethren.
This December we want to have another go at it. Almost the same ensemble cast has been gathered and we have churned out a plan but there are issues. Many issues…mostly economic.
If you have been around Nigeria, you would know that so much has changed about the economy, especially on food prices and disposable income. Official inflation rates put it about 25–30% between then and now. However, the fair prices of good items on the streets have almost doubled. That is a 100% haircut. This is coupled with the fact that incomes have not grown in consonance with inflation. Inflation dancing to “Higher” while salary is gyrating to “Konko Below” but God pass both of them. 😎😂🤣🙌✔
Projecting the economic realities on our new plan can be compared to planning to go to Mars on a bicycle. As we planned and brained-stormed, it was palpably obvious that we were on a very long journey though we had a short period of time. Time was a luxury we could not afford and hence we needed to ramp up the activities, pay vendors, and get booked. This is the festive season and many parties are being planned with the same vendors.
When we showed our budget to the approving body and they realized that our budget had doubled, we were told to cut out a number of things. It was unsurprising.
We were told that the economy is not looking good.
We were told to be realistic as a number of people have lost their jobs and some are underemployed.
We were told to look at the time and season — as there was an ongoing NLC/TUC-inspired strike.
We were told to look at the inflation and how it has decimated disposable income.
We were told to look at many things and adjust. All in all, look and adjust was the mantra. The mandate was cromulent.
Then one sister said something that moved me. She said that in all these “we need to look up to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.
There was laughter when she said it.
At that point, I realized that even I was not looking at Jesus. I was looking at something else. Her “joke” strengthened me for the day.
The risible had brought forth profundity.
The jocund birthed sagacity.
The fecundity of speech had engendered growth.
The word came forth.
It was a pointer to the truth.
It seems that verse was written for such a day as today when there were many other things to look unto except the risen Messiah — Jesus Christ.
You see, life wants us to look at many other things except Jesus Christ.
It wants you to look at the moral decadence in the society.
Life wants you to look at wars in Gaza and Ukraine.
Life wants you to look at the instability around you.
It wants you to look at only the natural disasters and be despondent.
These things are the winds of life.
Do not get me wrong; they are real and in front of you. They affect you directly. You do not need any explanation because its effects are direct.
But we have to look at what God has commanded.
In the midst of all these….look unto Jesus.
As you witness man’s inhumanity to another and seem to lose faith in humanity….look unto Jesus.
As your take-home pay does no longer take you home…look unto Jesus.
As you hear and see respectable religious leaders defile their office and do the abominable….look unto Jesus.
As brothers slain brothers….look up unto Jesus.
As the unprintable happens and you are lost for words …look up unto Jesus.
In looking up unto Jesus … there lies your hope.
In looking up unto Jesus….there is our salvation.
It can be akin to the Israelites being told to look unto a bronze serpent so that the effect of venomous snakes would have no effect on their bodies. The instructions defy logic BUT by faith, we understand that the word of God is the only way out.
In times like this, let us always remember that there have always been times like this and there would be times like this. The only cure to times like this…..is to look up to Jesus. Amen