I am a notorious sinner. Like David, my sins are always before me. However, with faith and trust in the Ocean of Mercy, I, too, can boast of a certain level of relationship with God, one in which I can at least look up to heaven and call him ‘Father,’ and have him, in response, look upon me with a kind countenance. I’m not so familiar with him as to have him drink tea with me, nor am I grown up enough to hear him with my naked ears. Even at that, he still speaks to me, albeit differently: through the Words of Scripture, uncovering his things to my mind, and speaking to me through my friends. In a way that I can’t really explain, I know when he comes calling. Like this morning.

I’d just finished getting ready for church when all of a sudden I found myself assuming a familiar sitting position, the type that works well with a favourite soap running on the screen. Interestingly, there was a screen – at the back of my mind – on which was being projected my past: the environments, the people, the troubles, the everything; good, bad, and ugly. And then these words seemed to accompany each slide, “I was there.” Lemme confess already: it was annoying to find that the worst things that have happened to me also bore “I was there.” Yes, I remained angry and only stopped being so when the meaning of everything arrived.

Lemme take this off me already and delve straight to the point. There is a process of growth God has been taking us through, one that was set in motion at our conception. He’s been there as all manners of things happen to us, thereby shaping and refining us into a fitting mould to hold the liquid of his purpose he intends to eventually set in us. For instance, he’s let human beings disappoint, backbite and betray you, so as to leave you in no doubt how desperately wicked the heart of humans can be. He’s left you experience pain and suffering so your capacity for handling them could expand and your dependence on him for help increase. What’s happened in your life in his absence? Ask Moses, and he’d tell you it was God over the 120years of his life. Ask David, and he’d tell you that even his affair with Uriah’s wife came with a humbling effect.

Ask me, and I’d tell you that not one day has gone by without God letting me profit from my foolishness. This one is on a lighter note, though.


It’s quite easy to have God forgive a human being. It’s harder to have a human being forgive another human being. But guess what? It’s war when it comes to forgiving oneself. Trust me, we’re merciless judges of ourselves; there’s this annoying way we get to condemn ourselves whenever we err, far worse than God or other human being condemn us. Trust me, this doesn’t smell nice one bit.

Boy jilts girl and she spends forever taking it out on herself, blaming herself for everything that went wrong, and adjudging herself ‘problem girlfriend’ going forward. Student bags third class, and s/he concludes that brilliance is not one of his/her heritage. Someone gets to lose big in business and ends up tagging him/herself ‘big failure.’ And I ask you, what’s that one thing you feel terrible about yourself right now? What’s that major screw up that’s left you doubting your ability to make it to your next level of significance?

It’s OK, dear.

Lemme share with you what I do to that judge inside my head whenever it passes judgement on me for screwing up so badly. After reeling out all the cases against me, sometimes to the tune of 10 count-charges, and asking me to register my plea, all I simply say in response is: “How could I have known?” How could I’ve have known he was gonna betray me? How could I’ve known the relationship was gonna go sour? How could I’ve known that MMM was gonna pack up? How could I’ve known that he’s a fraud? How could I’ve known he’s a big fat liar? And then I’d say to the judge, “If I’d known better, I’d have done better and you know it.” And guess what? I get acquitted 90% of the time – the remaining 10% being those times when ignorance is not an excuse.

You see, the problem is that we take ourselves too seriously, that we expect too much from ourselves, that we overestimate our ‘know-what’ and overrate our ‘know-how.’ And then reality dawns on us! Our eyes are then opened to see how terrible we can be, how much the very best of our intentions can backfire, and how really much we’re yet to know.

Just try not to be so inconsiderate with yourself that you suddenly forget that to err is human. Don’t take yourself too seriously that you forget that there’s nothing really serious about this life.

I ask you, “How could you have known?” Cut yourself some slack joor.


Yesterday was quite a day, a day like no other. I suffered. I spent money. But it ended in praise. I’d gone in search of my classmate. A classmate who was my very good friend. A classmate and friend who was my school son. Interestingly, I found him somewhere close to where seemed to me like the tail end of the earth, and I hope this imagery gives you an idea of what time and money my journey must have taken from me.

And then there were too many things to talk about, having to catch up on the past 11 years, having to count our blessings – naming them one by one. Of course, it did surprise us what the Lord has done.

And then we talked about ‘relationship with God.’ He shared with me a principle that has guided and sustained his relationship with God, one that has left him always meaningfully encountering God. He said to me:

“Before I go to God in prayer over any matter, I imagine God coming down to ask me, ‘What have you done about it yourself?’ And if it turns out that I haven’t done enough, that I haven’t reached the end of my human strength, I don’t make the prayer. Instead, I first go get what I have to do done, so I can have the confidence to approach God. Sitting before God, I like to have that assurance that what I’ve brought to him is something only God can do – and not something I should’ve taken care of myself.”

Could you please read the above paragraph as many times as you need to have it sink in? I think Homer was right, that the [gods] are not in the habit of doing for humans what humans must do for themselves.

You need God to fix your finances? What have you done? You need him to fix your health? What have you done? Your education, relationship, career? What have you done? Frankly, the worst hit on Nigeria’s Christian experience is the mentality that we don’t have to do anything, that we just need to wait on God to act, that we insult God by meddling with divine intervention. God must have been laughing at us all along, saying something like, “Poor Nigerians.” lol!

I recommend you test your confidence before tabling your matter to God. And you can do that by simply asking yourself: “What have I done?”


On a very serious note: If you haven’t read “The Richest Man in Babylon” wetin you gain? In fact, if you happen not to have read that book, oya ask me for my account details so you pay your fine already. Or… Start avoiding me. lol! Frankly, that gospel according to St. George Simon Clason only narrowly missed making the 67th book of the bible. I mean, if you take my opinion seriously, then I insist you engage that book ASAP. And it will surprise you how much one well-written book can do.

By the way, this piece is not really about “The Richest Man in Babylon.” All I want to do is use it’s central idea, “a part of what you earn is yours to keep,” as steppingstone for the idea I desire to share with you. Mind you, that central idea, as simple as it may appear, was enough to make Arkad, and Agamish before him, the richest man in Babylon. It equally holds the power to transform your financial lot. I repeat, even as I insist all the more, read that book – whatever it takes. If you’ve read it, but a long time ago, I can assure you a second, third, fourth, or umpteenth read may do you even more good. Yea, this new you deserves to be reintroduced to those ever-true ancient words.

When your salary lands in your account, how do you spend it? Pay for food, transport, and other utilities. Pay your tithes, support family and friends. Fulfill obligations to worthy causes. Look good for yourself and show off some bit. And then you’re back to square one, to repeat this routine in the next & subsequent months. Sadly, year in, year out, the story is not different. And all the more sadly, nothing is left to your name, you who are in the middle of everything, who get to put your life in the line on a daily basis. Frustratingly, one’s life becomes pretty much like everyone else’s cash cow, the same cow that gets to become beef after she’s run out of milk.

Free advice: Always pay yourself, and first. It’s in that book; read it.

The point for today: Just as you need to pay yourself, and first, in order to be well on your journey to financial freedom, I’m humbly requesting you to endeavor to always have some fun for yourself. Kindly don’t make your life pretty much about paying bills. Matter-of-factly, we can’t escape the bills, as next to everything has to be paid for. But we can surely do better than spend the dawn to dusk of every other day meeting the financial demands on us. We can do better than that joor. We can create time for fun, and have it for ourselves, without having to feel an iota of guilt.

Lemme stop already. But always remember that it is always ‘work,’ ‘pray,’ and ‘play.’ And for me, none is more important than the other, or is one most important than the other two.


< …for your own good >

Year in, year out, the gospel reading for Ash Wednesday – Catholic – is Matthew 6:1-6,16-18. There, Jesus outlines the terms and conditions applicable to having heaven reward piety, illustrated with almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. ‘When you give, don’t let as much as your left hand see what your right hand is doing’ – not to talk of a full human being; ‘When you pray, shut the door and do so in private’; ‘When you fast, don’t advertise it through gloomy looks’: these gestures are addressed to your heavenly father, and as such be known to him alone. Hence, human applause and admiration over them only serves to water down the graces they confer, the rewards they accrue.

Now, the problem is that many pious fellows fail to see the limit of the application of the above text, failing to realize those times when the rewards of certain actions, good deeds so to speak, are within the province of fellow human beings, and as such shouldn’t be done secretly or kept so, as human beings are incapable of seeing what was done in secret or knowing what’s been kept away from them. And should they not get to see or know about them, how then are they expected to reward you? Dear friend, we need all the wisdom to know when blowing our trumpet by ourselves is both right and just – and even a duty we owe ourselves.

Recall that fateful day when Saul fell into the hands of David. His men kept urging him to take advantage of the opportunity God had just given him to take out a king that was after his life with as many as 3,000 of the finest soldiers in Israel. And David refused, particularly on the grounds of not laying as much as a finger on the Lord’s anointed. What did David do next, I ask you? Keep it secret so that God who saw what happened in secret would reward him? Not at all! David knew enough that the reward he sought was in the king’s hand, to spare his life. And then he goes faraway, from where he announced to Saul what kindness he’d just shown him, how he refused to cash in on the opportunity he had moments earlier to slay him. Read 1 Sam 24 for the full gist; Saul even wept.

My point exactly: You need to be clear about the source of your reward per time. Know when it is God, and keep your deed secret, ensuring that the applause and admiration of fellow humans don’t rob you of your reward; know when it is fellow humans, and make it known to them – with discretion. If you do good to friends, siblings, spouse, colleagues, boss, neighbours, etc., be sure you make it known to them in some way – for the record. To them, not the general public, else your reward could also be watered down by their comments, applause, and admiration. Yes, I think people like to know what you’ve done for them so they can queue you up for Reward Day. And this reward comes in various shapes and sizes: upgrade your status, like you better, love you more, get you promoted, help advance your cause or move your ministry to the permanent site, forgive you more easily should you screw up in the future, speak graciously of you going forward, go all out to plead your cause, generously refer or recommend you, etc. Of course, cash is not exempt.

In these evil days, those who go out of their way to do good deserve some accolades – whether from God or fellow humans. Just know which counter to go cash your cheque; none deserves to bounce.