I have always wondered why the Lord Jesus, Who knew no sin, was made sin for me. Why should He suffer and die for me? I do not forget to appreciate God, particularly, during the Holy Communion, as I remember what it cost Him to provide what the bread and the wine represent. Uncle Paul asked the Corinthian Church,”The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
As the last born and the only male child of my family, I understood, even at my early age, what preferring one another meant. I knew that my mum preferred me to herself. Each time, malaria or any fever attacked me, she would wrap me with her body, pleading with the sickness to leave me and attack her rather. She went also the extra mile of forcing all our household members to be doing the same. Imagine! “Osondu of yesterday,” they would be sighing in grief and when she was away from home, I would pay dear for that.
In one of the folklores, we were told how the birds were going for a party in the sky one day and they invited the tortoise. In his usual tricky manner, he compelled each of them to choose a name he would bear. He chose, ‘All of you’. Each time the hosts served them with different types of food and said, ‘It is for all of you’, he would claim it to be his. At the end, none of them ate anything reasonable, while he fed sumptuously. Going back home, the bird that loaned him the feathers he flew with, demanded them. All the birds flew back home in anger, leaving him behind. In an attempt to fly without feathers, he fell from the sky and had his shell broken in pieces. All tortoises today are still paying for it, having broken shell, a worthy dividend for selfishness!
I was always delighted, in those days, watching my local birds in the farm, moving about in search of food. When they were successful, the mother birds would not eat until her young ones had eaten. Preferring one another! Most mothers are like that, not eating food until their children have eaten. Some fathers may remember that they have children only after eating. If a child needs a kidney, a mother is sure to offer hers first. That could be the reason, why it is the mother, and hardly the father, that the children invite always for ‘Omugo’ in the US, Canada, France, Britain, et cetera.
In 1956, after my primary school, I was the oldest person living with my master, a school Headmaster. One night, I noticed that our soup was small and would not go round. I served him food, served his two young daughters and my fellow houseboys. I did not eat. If it were today, I would have found something to eat. In those days, the menu was simple: fufu was three times a day, yams on Saturday mornings, while rice was three or four times in the year. Pretending that I had eaten, I went and thanked him, not knowing that his daughters had spilled the beans, informing him that I did not eat. I paid for that personal sacrifice, receiving some strokes of cane for preferring others to myself! Chai!
Preferring one another is strange to the piggery family. If any quantity of food is thrown into their pen, the mother pig will eat them. It is only when it is tired that it will lie down and the babies will suck its milk or eat any leftover food! Some pigs may not allow their babies to suck their milk. If a school teacher wants to teach his students what selfishness means, the best place to take them is a pig farm. Every pig seeks its comfort first. A pig can deliver many piglets and may eat them all, especially, if it is not fed. Selfishness!
I recall with pathos, how Mr. Mike Awoyinfa and Pastor Dimgba Igwe, founding gurus of the Sun newspaper and its first Managing Director and Deputy, respectively, challenged the world. They proved beyond measure that it is possible for two men from different tribes to become one man. Preferring one another! They once applied for land from the Lagos State Government and only one of them was given. That one refused to accept it unless his ‘twin brother’ was given. And they obliged! Nobody knew which of them preferred the other more than himself. They were all the same. When my first son was going for NYCS, one of them gave him N5,000 and told his ‘twin brother’ to do the same. And he obliged!
Preferring one another is an example the Lord Jesus left for us to follow. Paul told the Church in Rome, “In honour, preferring one another,” Rom. 12:10. We are not pigs but people made in God’s image. The two great men above were doing this joyfully before Pastor Igwe went to Heaven. It was God that stopped his ‘twin brother’ from following him.
David and Jonathan were another set of ‘twin brothers’. Jonathan, the heir apparent, stripped off his royal robe and gave it to David, the youth, most envied and hated by King Saul, his father. He gave David also, his sword, bow and girdle. The king nearly killed him because of his love for David, and was angry that he preferred him to himself. He warned him that he would not be the king as long as David lived. It did not change anything till Jonathan’s death.
When God joins a man and a woman in marriage, He expects them to be one. In most cases, it is not so. They may be behaving as if joining them was a punishment by God. Each of them may be interested only on the things that concern his or her parents. This is most unfortunate. We thank God that there are couples, who honour God in their marriage, each of them, preferring the other in every aspect of their lives and in their marriage. During the ‘Odd and Even’ number days in Lagos, I allowed my wife to be going to work with our two cars, while I would be going by public transport. I did not feel it as it even gave me the opportunity of sharing God’s Word in the bus. On the contrary, my Christian neighbour was using their two cars. I will even like to die before my wife, after all, I am quite older than her. She will run the family better than me. If it were the other way, I will not run the family better than her and the temptation for a remarriage will be rife, even in my very old age! Imagine!
Some spouses sacrifice their personal needs for the needs of their partners. I like fufu, my wife, in the past, would not stand close to it, but when through her mother, she knew that I enjoy it, it has become a regular food for me in our house. She does not pinch her nose when she is preparing it. The beauty of it all is that she even ferments cassava tubers from our farm for its preparation. Preferring one another!
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]