Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Ghana, founder of Action Chapel International is one of the most influential Pentecostal leaders in Africa. He acquired global fame when invited to lead the Inauguration Day Prayer Service for President Donald Trump, becoming the first African preacher to pray for an American President. On New Year eve, I virtually “crossed over” to his church in Accra, and watched him on Dominion TV as he preached a powerful end-of-the-year sermon on fear to usher in 2021. He is one preacher I will definitely love to interview:
I say to everybody here listening to the sound of my voice: Success has nothing to do with how much money you saved and you made. True success has nothing to do with your cars, your possessions, your houses, your commitments and your deals. But true success that gives you a place in eternity and place in history has everything to do with the difference you made in the lives of others. And if you claim you are blessed and your blessing does not reflect in the lives of anybody but you and your immediate family, the Greek civilization calls you a very interesting name: idiot!
This is what they said. There are three people in every nation. The first kind of people are the idiots. And the idiots are those who are educated, achievers, successful. But are self-centred, greedy, selfish, inward-looking, desensitize, don’t care about anybody, but themselves, their immediate family. They call them idiots. They had the opportunity to make a difference in life, to have a place in eternity, and to have a place in history, but they missed it because they became selfish.
The second group of people, they call them those who only live for their tribes. They are tribal leaders. Their whole living in life is about their tribe, their political party and their religion. That is all they live for and care about. Their tribe. And of this tribe, “we are superior.” Like Hitler. Like Germany in the days of Adolf Hitler. They thought they were superior to any other tribes. Massacred millions of the Jews. Took over all of Europe. To prove that they are strong. Was more superior to any other tribes. This second group of people, all they believe and live for is their political party, their tribe and their religion.
And the third group, the Greeks call them the citizens. And the citizens are those who put their country first. Love for country. Fight for country. Live for country. They don’t live for themselves, their tribe, their party or their religion. It’s about country.
And I add one to the third to make the fourth group. I call them the global citizens. Citizens of the world, who care more than their country. They care about other countries, other nations of the world. This pandemic began in China. And in a matter of hours and few days, it invaded the entire world and brought princes and princesses to their knees. And it incapacitated economies and proved to the leaders of our nations and the world that without God, everything they claim to be is sinking sand. It means that no one is safe until everyone is safe. So, it is dangerous to just be a citizen only. You must be a citizen of the world. We live in a global village today. And we need to be bigger than just being citizens of our country and have a heart for other countries and for other nations. And until we do so, we are not generational thinkers, and we may end up not having a place in history. For those who have a place in history, are those who care. Not just about themselves, but care about others. I never get tired of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela when after twenty-seven years had the opportunity to go home, stood at the gates of time and said: “I realize that as I stand in the door to my freedom, if I don’t leave behind me my bitterness and my unforgiveness, I would walk through this door of freedom and still be in prison.” I pray for everyone listening to the sound of my voice, that you will not leave in unforgiveness and in bitterness. Because unforgiveness and bitterness would make you a prisoner of your past. You will never be a citizen of a country, of your world, of generations yet unborn. I refuse to be bitter. I refuse to be unforgiving. I refuse to be cold. I refuse to be mean. I refuse to be insensitized. And I refuse to dishonor others because someone who should honour me dishonoured me. If you honour me, it’s good. And if you dishonour me, it’s good. Because you reap what you sow.
Years ago, I was travelling with Archbishop Benson Idahosa and we were flying. And I said to him: “Papa, why is it that a lot of people don’t like you? Why is it that you have too many enemies? A lot of my friends fight me and they don’t want me to have a relationship with you.” And he looked at me and he shook his head. And he said: “My son Nicholas. Hippopotamus. The child said to the mother: “Mama, wetin make your mouth big like that?” And the mother said: “My child, bamba you go grow.” I am still growing. As began to I grow, I realized that my spiritual sons and daughters also have friends who don’t like me and tell them: “Don’t have anything to do with this your archbishop.” Then I remembered what I said to Bishop Idahosa: “Why do you have so many enemies?” You want to know why? By and by, you will grow to know.
I was talking to one of my bishops and he said: “Papa, I am tired of praying. All this pray, pray, pray.” Then I said: “Son, stop acting like a kid. Wake up and grow up. If you think I am going to sympathize with you, I am not. Look at the Muslims. They pray five times a day. Whether they are sad or happy, whether they have money or not, it’s a duty, and they do it. And the Jews. I have many Jewish friends. They pray three times a day. All their lives. Whether they are sad or happy. We are the only religion that we do things on our own terms. We complain about everything. And we are the only religion. When you go to Dubai, by five in the morning, you go to a mosque and you will see all kinds of cars. From the Rolls Royces, name them. From the rich to the poor, everybody is there praying. At the same time. It is only in Christianity and in the church where people become powerful and they have money and deep pockets. They begin to isolate themselves and think they are better than somebody else. You are not better than anybody, just because you have power, influence and money. We relate to people based on what they have. We stop relating to people based on values and the content of character. Martin Luther King Jr. said the other day: “I have a dream. That one day, my little children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but the content of the character.” I look to the day that we would relate to men and women in this country and across the nations of the world and in the church, not based on an anointing or a gift, or a talent, or money, or position, or contact, or influence. But based on their values and the content of the character. Put your hands together and thank God.