FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, April 24, 2018
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TAKE TIME TO REST

od is the Alpha and Omega. He has neither a beginning nor an end. He is the Supreme Being and the Creator of heaven and earth. He is also tireless by nature. According to the Book of Genesis, God completed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day. If God who is tireless could rest, who am I not to rest? Obviously, God did not sleep while He rested. Had He gone to sleep, things would have gone wrong. God never sleeps.

Rest is Godly, human and medicinal. A very busy tycoon broke down suddenly on one fateful day. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where the nurses on duty conveyed him on a stretcher into the emergency room. The doctor placed him on oxygen in order to resuscitate him. After an hour, he opened his eyes and smiled. He sat up and asked, "What am I doing here? Why am I here wasting my precious time? My container has just arrived at the Apapa Wharf. Please let me go and claim it." The doctor glanced pitifully at him and remarked, "My friend, calm down. Health is more important than wealth. A corpse does not do business. You would have been in the mortuary by now, if you were not urgently attended to medically. Your diagnosis shows that you are suffering from acute lack of rest. Therefore, I am placing you on bed-rest for two weeks." The sick businessman was infuriated. He angrily asked the doctor, "Do you how many billions of Naira I can make in two weeks? Please if it is a joke, stop it!" He rushed to the door to leave by force. But his two younger brothers held him back. His wife in tears appealed to him to obey the doctor's instruction. He slapped her and shouted, "Stop talking rubbish! I am the breadwinner. You are nothing but a lazy consumer. Time is money!" His two brothers talked sense into him. Then he reluctantly accepted the bed-rest.

He rested violently on his hospital bed for three days. On the fourth day, he hatched a hidden plan. He rudely asked the nurse on duty to allow him take fresh air outside the ward. She obliged him. He pretended to walk round the hospital premises. At a lonely area, he looked left and right but didn't see anyone. He scaled over the wall and sneaked away. While running to catch a taxi to travel to the wharf to claim his goods container, he slumped suddenly. Passers-by rushed to resuscitate him. On the way to hospital, he breathed his last. Coincidentally, it was in the same hospital where he was admitted for bed-rest that he was rushed to. The medical doctor examined him and confirmed him clinically dead. He also recognized him as the stubborn patient who jumped admission. Hence the doctor instructed the mortician to give him (as corpse) thirty-six strokes of hot cane before embalming him. Pennywise, pound foolish! What would the late busy businessman tell God at the judgment seat? Is he worthy of heaven or hell? Well, God has the final say.

The late businessman's unfortunate story is a food for thought for you and me. Indeed I do not want to be comatose like the late stubborn busy businessman. After the busy Easter ceremonies, my birthday celebration and book launch, I decided to take a short mental and bodily rest in order to avoid sudden slump. That is why my write-up did not appear for two weeks. Some of my regular readers called me on phone while some others sent me text messages, asking of my where-about. I told some that I travelled to Galilee to see the Risen Lord. To others I categorically stated that I needed time to rest my mental and physical organs. I want to go to heaven but not so soon.

Apart from the economic and security problems we are now experiencing in our country Nigeria, we also suffer from lack of adequate rest. Jesus Christ, despite his tight pastoral schedule while here on earth, found time to go to a lonely place to pray and rest. We Nigerians are busier than Jesus Christ. We rarely spare time to rest. Even while sleeping at night, some of us do not actually rest. A certain rich man and his wife were sleeping one night. The rich man was tossing and tumbling on the bed throughout the night. He was shouting in his dream, "My money! My money!! My money!!!" His wife was disturbed and couldn't sleep. She pushed the restless sleeping husband from time to time asking, "Papa Mike, what is wrong? Keep quiet and sleep!" After some minutes, the restless husband began the shout over and over again. An idea came into the wife's mind. She grabbed her holy water container and sprinkled the holy water on the sleeping restless husband. It yielded instant fruit. The restless sleeping husband calmed down and started shouting, "My God! My God!! My God!!!" Then he kept quiet and slept peacefully till daybreak. Holy Water is very efficacious. Keep it beside you always.

If God did not create night, most of us will be working without end. More mortuaries would have been built here and there to contain the corpses of those that would have been slumping in great number due to lack of rest. Animals are even more sensitive and reasonable than we human beings. The fowl says that it is not because of being satisfied that it goes to roost at nightfall, but to respect the Creator who made the night for rest and sleep. Most animals that operate during the day go to sleep immediately it is dark. Only nocturnal animals operate at night. Some of us humans sleep late at night and wake up very early in the morning due to the desire to amass wealth. How many of us do live long to enjoy the fruits of our restlessness?

A certain middle-aged man was dying and crying. He was shouting, "No, death you are a liar! I can't die. I must live to enjoy the fruit of my labour." Death replied, "My friend, your time is up. Since you were worn out due to lack of rest, I am taking you by force to go and rest in the grave." A fierce fight ensued between the man and death. Death carried him shoulder high and smashed his head on a concrete floor. The restless man gave a loud cry and died at the spot. The vultures gathered round to give him a befitting burial.

Few days ago, I casually went into a morgue to visit the dead. Corpses of all sizes littered here and there. Some of them were looking very ugly. They might have died regretting over their commissions and omissions. With my spiritual eyes, I saw restlessness written on the foreheads of some of the corpses. They might have died due to lack of rest. Now they are forced to rest forever.

The final academic degree we obtain at death is R.I.P. For some it means Rest in Peace. For some others, it is Rest in Pieces. Will you rest in peace or rest in pieces? If you spare time to rest while in this world, then you will rest in peace. On the other hand, if you have no time to rest here on earth, then you will surely rest in pieces. Those who made good use of their time in this present life will rest in peace at the end. But those who made bad use of their God-given time on earth will rest in pieces. Make your choice now. A stitch in time saves nine.

The old leaders and politicians recycling themselves in the governance of Nigeria at all levels should think twice. They should leave the seats for the younger generation and go home to rest. It is better to leave the stage when the ovation is still high. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those intoxicated with power will slump politically. The old civilian and past military leaders, who have clocked seventy years and above, should retire, go home and rest. If I were President Buhari, I would toe the path of honour like late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa who went home and rested after serving meritoriously for first tenure of four years. Even though the second tenure is constitutional, it is neither obligatory nor a do-or-die affair. Age and health must also be put into consideration. Generally, most Nigerians are fed up with the Buhari APC-led administration. The promised Change has become a mirage after almost four years. There is hunger and anger in the Land. The blood of innocent Nigerians is being shed on a daily basis here and there by the Fulani herdsmen terrorists. None of the perpetrators and their sponsors have been arrested and persecuted. Nigerians are presently living in fear. When will the messiah come?

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