It is possible for somebody to point a man to a youth and tell him that the man is his dad. The youth may, out of excitement, be doing his utmost to please the man. He may even learn to speak, walk and dress, like him. The youth may change his surname to reflect that of Uncle while his friends may be referring to the man, in public and in private places, as his dad. These beautiful gestures are good but it is the man, and he only, that knows whether or not the youth is his son. The youth’s zeal towards him will not change anything.
I gave my life to the Lord Jesus on April 16, 1972, and the next Sunday, I invited myself to the Christian Union Fellowship of our Campus – University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. I gave the testimony of my salvation. During the Long Vacation, I joined the Scripture Union Fellowship in Enugu. From that time, I started to minister zealously, being also invited by various branches of the Methodist Church, such as my town, Ahaba, Aba and Enugu. Not long after, the Christian Union election was close. The leaders told me to be praying, as I was being considered for a leadership position. It was my zeal that they considered, since I was regular and punctual in our fellowship meetings. They forgot that I was still young in faith, knowing little about God. Not being involved in sin again and being very active are good, but I realized that Christianity is beyond these. I rejected the offer.
In 1976, when our beloved brother, now late, Prof. Francis Onofeghara joined the staff of University of Port Harcourt, because of my zeal, I was nominated during the election for his replacement as an Elder. I was still new, not only in that branch, but also in the denomination, ECWA. Of a truth, it was the Church the lady I was proposing to marry was attending at Enugu. An Elder in that Church, who was a member of the fellowship I formed and was leading in PZ PLC, recommended me to minister to them. After that, I joined the Church. A very beautiful Church, they saw my zeal and then listed me on their Preaching roster. “Since Texaco Overseas Petroleum Oil Company has no other place to send me outside Lagos, I would then be in this Church till my retirement. Yes, one day, I will be an Elder but not now,” I rationalized within before turning down their nomination.
Some years after, I realized that God does not use able men, but available men. All the disciples of the Lord Jesus were not perfect men, but they were growing in the spirit day by day as they worked with Him. I pleaded with God for forgiveness for refusing a leadership position in the university and also in that Church. I determined that it would not happen again. And by His grace, it has not and it will not. Knowledge, however, is still essential in God’s ministry. Great impact is made when zeal is backed up with it.
The zeal for God may compel a young convert to be shouting when praying at midnight, not minding that he is disturbing his neighbours. It may result to his landlord sending him packing from his apartment and he will interpret it as persecution, but it is not. There is nothing wrong with praying aloud, but wisdom is required in considering its effect on other people. As the young convert grows in faith, and in the knowledge of God, he will know that God answers us when we pray aloud or silently. It will make him know that there is a time for the application of each. On the retreat ground, or in church compound, we may shout as much as we like, when praying because nobody is disturbed. The Lord Jesus used both methods and so did the Apostles.
One of my cousins surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus in my house. Overwhelmed by it, her zeal drove her to throw away her musical set because she was using it in playing worldly music. She did not know that she could use it in playing Christian music. Zeal without knowledge! We recovered the musical set for her. She later, started using it for Christian music. Unfortunately, some people who threw away some bad things, including their girlfriends, would go back to their vomit later. It is sad to notice the converts of some great preachers of God’s Word in the past, going to preach to them now because of their life of compromise. God forbid bad thing! I told Him that when, if I will go back to my vomit, like a dog,with and my converts, coming to preach to me, that it will be better for Him to recall me home.
When I was young in faith on the campus, I visited a brother in his hostel and a sister was placing her hand on his shoulder. I left immediately in agony and started to weep. “How can a sister be touching a brother?” I mourned. What I forgot to consider was whether the man was sick, and since the two of them were medical students, the lady was carrying out medical procedures on him. Zeal without knowledge! At that time, we had very few married believers. Most of us were thinking that we were more spiritual than our married brethren. We were looking down on them, often wondering what married brothers could be doing with their wives, when the saints were standing on tip toe of expectation for the rapture! We were told how a certain brother’s hand started rotting because his brother’s wife touched his hand one day.
During the burial of my Senior Uncle, his younger brother, who was still stinking for abandoning his wife and then eloping with a married lady, told the village people that he was no longer one of them as he had joined a certain church. Zeal without knowledge! They mused. He died after six months. I travelled home to inform them. Their response was that our family should decide what to do. I summoned the family and his sister said that he should be buried by his church, where he lived with the lady he eloped. God’s wisdom guided me in handling the situation as the zeal he exhibited was uncalled for. Thank God for guiding me in handling his elder brother’s burial. Not compromising my faith, I refused to offer the alcoholic drinks they demanded. With divine wisdom, I related to them amicably all through, ensuring that everybody was taken care of and was well fed.
With that friendly posture and respect to the elders, the burial was still done by my terms and conditions. A few days after, I wrote a letter of appreciation to the Chief and also to the community. That was why the Chief, in spite of hostile opposition, ordered the men to dig the grave of my younger uncle, who broke his relationship with our community. They buried him without requesting anything, not even food.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]