FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, October 3, 2020
amos.dada@gmail.com
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MY MONTH OF CARE

welcome you with great delight in the name of the Lord Jesus to the month of October our month of Care. Care is one word that we all long for, we love to see someone care for us. we are stingy with our care for others.

We cherish caring for ourselves, particularly our body, ladies pay special attention to their faces (you can confirm that by the frequency of the usage of their mirrors) sometime we care for our soul, and at times we take time to care for others and our community. Care like the word love is one word that we need but we have abused.

It reminds me of the story of Jacob and his sons. In an attempt by Jacob to show that he cared for his other sons he sent Joseph to take food to them and he was put in emotional pain and agony for years.

"Soon after this, Joseph's brothers went to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem. When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, "Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them." "I'm ready to go," Joseph replied. "Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along," Jacob said. "Then come back and bring me a report." So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron." Gen 37:11-14. You know how the brothers of Joseph were eating the food when they kept him in the pit! You know the rest of the story how they sold Joseph to slavery and presented animal soaked cloth of his to his father Jacob. This typifies the way we have turned care upside down in our generation.

It is interesting that Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins by dying on the cross and to show us how to care. Christianity simply means the art and science of love and caring. God wants us to understand care in all its ramifications and put it on our radar and life curriculum and practice care as we progress in our Christian journey. That is our focus this month.

Happy Birthday Nigeria!

Let me seize the moment to wish Nigeria Happy 60th Independence Anniversary. How I wish we have cared for our mother land, how I wish the leaders cared for the led, how I wished the privileged cared for the under-privileged, the lecturers cared for the students, fathers cared for their sons, how I wished the politicians thought beyond stomach infrastructure beyond election times, how I wish pastors genuinely cared for the members, how I wished contractors cared about executing the contracts after collecting mobilization fees.

I read a story of how a governor gave his ministry officials a contract of getting a face mask at 60 naira a piece and gave them 60 million naria. And how the officials immediately pocketed 40 million and awarded the contract at 20 naira a piece! How I wish we cared about our conscience!

How I wished we were never amalgamated and colonized and there would not have been agitation today for secession and restructuring, but now that we have been put together by providence how I wish we understand that the only way forward is for the Hausa/Fulanis to care for the Yorubas and the Yorubas to care for the Ibos and versa, how I wish we realized that a little care for one another and not killing one another shedding unnecessary blood will make us a better nation.

It was Theodore Roosevelt that was credited with the saying "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care" I wish we as Nigerians in our little sphere of influence we care for Nigeria and see what Nigeria will turn around to become.

I wish Nigeria and Nigerians the spirit of CARE!

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Happy Special Month- October -The Month of my birth- 10/10/2020- what a date to celebrate birthday!

What is care? An online dictionary defines care as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. Another one defines it as paying serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk. Care is the ability to look after and provide for the needs of.

You have a duty to care

Galileo Galilei said "we cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves." My focus is to help you discover the need to care and to help you discover that you have the ability to care. We are all products of care. Think for a moment when you were born physically if nobody picked you up, cleaned you up, fed you, will you be what you are today? Even spiritually, can you imagine that after you gave your life to Christ nobody cared for you, no church to attend, no pastor to pray for you, no "Philips" to ask you "do you understand what thou readest?" As he said to the eunuch of Ethiopia. Imagine that nobody wrote any book where you can have a better understanding of different subjects? It means you will not be where you are today! The bible tells us the process of caring for believers and how the church grew in its early stage. Let us learn some principles from Acts of Apostles.

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:41-47

Behold how the spirit of caring helped the church. They were just 120 faithful brethren and the church exploded to 3120. They quickly developed a strategy of care. Vs 42 means they followed the brethren to follow the doctrine of the church. The brethren taught them how to fellowship, they taught them how to partake of the Holy Communion and pray rigorously for one another.

Verse 43 means that when we care for one another in prayer, we experience supernatural interventions, God begins to demonstrate himself in unusual ways. Today we don't see much of signs and miracles because we practice more of murmuring, gossiping, schism, acrimony therefore the atmosphere for miracles has disappeared. We need to bring back the spirit of love, we need to care for that young convert, care for that single mother, father, that brother that fell into sin. My wife has just finished watching a Christian movie on NETFLIX called Greenleaf. There was the son of the Bishop named Jacob. Jacob had lived a life of unfaithfulness to his wife for twenty years; unfortunate circumstances presented itself, his wife Karissa had a one-time affair and Jacob on the basis of that divorced his wife! I am not an advocate of infidelity in any way but why can we not care enough to forgive each other knowing fully well that none is perfect. Jesus was approached one day- "we caught this woman in the very act of adultery" Jesus' action simply said why will you not rather care about this woman by looking inwards at how you behave yourselves? One of the tracts of Yemisi Ogunjimi one of he invited singers during the International Gathering o Eagles conference 2020 was -"Don't let the wounded soldier die" Why is it so difficult for us to care for backsliding brethren?

Back to Acts 2 Verse 44-45 we learnt that "they had all things in common, sold their possessions" How people care! Sell your house to care for church members! How people put their money in what they believe! I recommend for you to read a book entitled - Forgive me Natasha by Sergei Koudakov. It teaches what it means to be a caring believer. We have a duty to care, we know it costs money to take care of new converts, orphans, the destitute, but are we willing to care with our resources? Love is costly. Love is the root of care. We have to love (not just like) one another. Vs 46 "continued from house to house" One thing we have lost due to COVID-19 and the practice of social distancing is that we are no more able to go from house to house. Small group ministration helps people to care for one another. Vs 47 gives us the result of care. If we care for one another the church shall witness steady growth. Within nations if we care for the underprivileged the economy will grow. If husband cares for his wife the result will be growth in their relationship. If you plant any seed and you care for it, it will grow. Care is a magic wand for growth. The opposite is also true if you don't care for your business, your marriage or ministry it will wither instead of growing. Care is glue even for the most incompatible relationships.

Why we don't care

The story was told of a young girl with a jar of cookies among her classmates. They were glad when they saw it trusting that she will share it with them. When she started eating it alone, they all left her one by one, then she wanted to play with her classmates they refused. She asked why were they not willing to play with her and they asked "why did you not share your cookies"? She said "if I gave my cookies away who will give me cookies"? One of the boys said "the one who gave you cookies in the first place." We fail to care because we think we don't have the means, the time, the money, the talent, the resources, we think of exhausting our resources, we have forgotten that whatever we have is given from above. Never be afraid to care. The great provider is above. It took Abraham a while to get Isaac, and one day God told him to go and kill that boy. He went on his way with Isaac in obedience. At a point Isaac puzzled about the lack of ram for the sacrifice asked his father "where is the lamb for the sacrifice", Abraham said "the Lord will provide". Did God provide? Sure, he did. Let us learn to live a life of faith and obedience. When God sends you to care for someone, he knows how to supply what you will need to care. Let us look at some specific areas of care.

Areas of care

Care for different categories of people are not the same. There is no one cap fits all and this list is inexhaustible. The only common denominator is people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So, make it a life goal to care. We all know Jn 3:16 but we hardly acknowledge 1 Jn 3:16. Until you know "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 Jn 3 16 by heart not just head knowledge, you cannot practice care and until you learn to care your Christianity is shallow.

Care for your family (nuclear and extended). Being a father or mother is a privilege. God is the owner of those children you are just a caretaker. Be a good care taker. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov 22:6. There are two important things you need to provide for your family: First, care enough to give them a good education, so that they will not be stranded in life. After I finished teaching on this subject during our International Gathering of eagle's conference in Uganda, a woman held on to me for so long people had to beg her to release me! She had gotten it! Second and most importantly, care enough to let them know God for themselves. The things I am sharing I learnt them from the church. That is where they will learn the love of God, love for people, care for the community, for their siblings, and respect for the elderly. The society rarely teaches these values, they are from the sacred books. There could be some children that will refuse to learn but they are in the minority. Some may be defiant during their juvenile years but they will turn around, as God turned me around. Take care of your aged parents. Don't give excuses not to take care of your parents. Don't label them as witches and wizards. When a rodent gets old it sucks her children's breasts!

Care for people/community

The level of atrocities in our generation is unbelievable. People pull guns and kill innocent people, rape people even in church premises! Friends let us practice love. Let us care. The bible defines Love and care as follows:" Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" 1Cor 13:4-7. Replace care wherever you see love in the above scripture and you will never go wrong

Care for the poor

Jesus said "For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me" Teach all the principles of self-development, wealth, financial growth, wealth creation, some people will still be poor, and disadvantaged. Fingers are not equal. We don't choose where we are born. Poverty will always be on earth. The only way to cushion that effect is to help someone in need. There are many humanitarian organizations, Red Cross, World vision, Compassion, the one in your nation, but more than that your neighbor. That staff you are in a position to promote, do so. A friend once told me how as a shift manager in a factory during a night shift he caught one of the staff sleeping and the company policy is to sack such a person. He said the staff followed him to his office and begged him saying "sir if you sack me, I will lose the means of caring for my family". My friend said he told the staff; he had a personal policy that under no circumstances will he recommend anyone for a sack. He warned the staff "if you keep on sleeping on duty you will be found by a manager that has no such personal policy, and you will be sacked instantly" Do you have a personal policy to care for the poor? To be poor is not just someone that cannot feed himself it is someone that you are better off in one area of life or the other. Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her. Esther 2:11. Take care of that house girl she can become the queen tomorrow! Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife's story about how Joseph had treated her. 20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king's prisoners were held, and there he remained Gen 39:19-20. Don't throw that immigrant to prison without investigating the matter, he could become Prime Minister tomorrow!

Care for the youth

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; Isaiah 40:29-30. From above scripture it is clear that youth needs some cares. We need to care for them so that they will not stumble and fall in choosing careers, life partners, ministries, professions, jobs, and business pursuits. The youth of today are under a lot of pressure, so many legislations and legalizations have made them vulnerable, things that were considered abominations in the past centuries are being celebrated today, that leaves the youth confused. Elders at the gate, ministers on the pulpit should not add to their burden with prosperity, get rich quick, materialistic messages that can further compound their complex lives. They should be closely guided to discover the joy of discipleship, serving God with their lives. Like the psalmist they need to be taught to say- "I was glad when they said to me,

"Let us go to the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1. The youth of today need to be taught to depend on God. They need to be taught that the church is relevant to human existence, because man is a spirit with a soul and lives in a body. They need to be encouraged to live holy lives, pleasing to God and to run way from all sins. They need to be encouraged to use their talents and treasures to serve God and not waste their resources like the prodigal son. What the youth of today needs is care and encouragement not condemnation

Others to care for. Care for the orphans, for people who are not of your tribe. What led to the genocide in Rwanda was lack of care for other tribes (thank God for the reconciliation that is taking place in that country now). The killings by herdsmen in West Africa and especially in Nigeria is due to lack of care for other tribes. Care for people of other faith. The killings by the Muslims is lack of care for the sanctity of life of people of other faith. You cannot claim that Islam means peace and you slaughter people as goats and chickens. Care for your environment. Care for seniors. Young man, get up for that elderly person on that bus or train. Help him to clear his snow in the winter, cut her grass in the summer, help carry his heavy bag. Do groceries for them, don't just abandon them in a nursing home, go there and take care of them. Government, care for your citizens. Politicians, civil servants, stop taking advantage of the people you are to govern. Use government resources, tax payers' money for what it is allocated, that is caring. Jesus taught us to care for our enemies and pray for them. He discouraged us from the Law of Moses when He said "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also". Matt 5:38-39

The greatest Care. Care enough to preach the good news. Care enough to ensure that your friend, relation, colleagues, ex, parents, children, spouse, pastor, president, boss, subordinates, church members do not go hell. Sharing the gospel may totally change the trajectory of that person's life. To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Jesus said "Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! Matt 10:7-8. Care enough to follow up that new member in the church. Care enough not just to be a pew warmer in your church or arm chair critique. Pastors, care enough to pray for your members. Care enough to pray for your pastor and address his or her needs without him/her begging you.

Conclusion: I read somewhere that, "nothing makes life sweeter than making people happy" The people you help today become your soldiers in the battle of life tomorrow, to invest in properties is good but to invest in people is far better. Try to make money, but try also to make people great, your greatest trophies are the tears you wipe away from people's faces not the things you acquire, your greatest achievement should be raising achievers, people will defend, stand by you and honour you when they realize you value them, don't let an ingrate stop you from making others great." Your caring means much to someone. Jesus cared enough to give your life a meaning and a purpose, go ahead and care for someone today. Someone needs your emotional, spiritual, material, logistic, physical and financial care, go ahead and be a blessing. This is your month of care as you care heaven will care for you as well.

Shalom.

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