Some people are born with a silver-spoon, some without set of cutlery at all, and others manage to somehow lose their theirs along the way of growing up. But this post really isn’t about finding silver spoons or cutlery. Not really.
The flamboyant pastor of a really popular church that is based in Abuja has a peculiar rule of not allowing it’s female church members get married to a guy who lacks a verifiable source of income or is currently in-between jobs (a euphemism for being called unemployed). Apparently the senior pastor of the mega-church conducts interviews on the intending couple and if he isn’t satisfied that the husband-to-be isn’t financially ready to cater to the needs of a family, he doesn’t give his blessings.
When I first heard of this rule, I quickly thought it was quite presumptuous and pompous of the senior pastor to make that type of decision on behalf of its members. I was quick to condemn and taunted one of his church members saying, “Aha! Your prosperity based preacher is no longer fighting poverty but now condemning poor people to remain lonely and undeserving of love and marriage. Shey na so Jesus for do?”
But upon further reflection, I figured there has to be a good reason for not allowing poverty to have a multiplier effect especially on a young couple. Besides Abuja is an expensive city to live in and adding school fees and house rent only further compounds an already complicated situation. So this church pastor has put in place a system that helps it’s members, especially those seeking to get married, find a job and settle down to marital bliss. Money may not be everything, but it does matter if you want to eat 3 meals a day, attend good schools and have comfortable accommodation and a great car. A lack of it can quickly erode all feelings of love and make cohabiting a lot more tougher than need be. Not to mentiom
Broke vs. Poor.
When your out flow in a particular season quickly overtakes your income, you can end up becoming cash strapped. When there is still too much month left at the end of your salary, you are effectively broke, at least temporarily. When the bread is more than the butter available, it’s a problem.
Now anyone can experience this temporary cash squeeze as a result of several mitigating circumstances or just a lack of a proper budgeting and a lack of a savings habit. Popular sports players, companies and even countries have been known to pass through this rough phase.
However there is a need to distinguish between being labeled as being broke or actually being poor. Being broke is a temporary state of affairs. Being poor is a state of mind. Neither state needs be a permanent cross to bear, although the latter would require a significant subconcious shift in the individual’s mindset to overcome.
Being poor has its root in an individual’s seeming lack of opportunity and knowledge. An individual’s poverty can be both inherited or assumed. When you’re born in the ghetto and raised there, you might assume you are destined to live and die there.
On the other hand, if you are born in a poor community and your parents could not afford giving you sound education and you think you possess no natural abilities nor skills to gain meaningful employment or start a busines venture, then your poverty can be said to be generational or inherited. Where you lack both resources and resourcefulness, you are said to be poor.
Luckily this is a great time to be alive! Because in the Information Age, with the abundance of information now available at our disposal, it is imperative for responsible citizens, corporate bodies, non-profit organizations and countries to relentlessly seek new innovative ways to educate and enlighten it’s people on how to uncover value and seek to become creators or problem solvers. When people learn the art of being able to earn money, keep money and multiply money then they are on their way to financial independence and ultimately true financial freedom.
If each one can volunteer to teach, train or sponsor an individual through school, I figure the nation would be a much better place. If more people would take out time and resources to help one another, in the long run posterity shows that we would indeed be only helping ourselves; for Ignorance, Corruption, Religious intolerance and Crime are indeed all borne from the same mother- Poverty. And poverty can only be combated effectively by a combination of a proper education and entrepreneurship development.
Being broke happens sometimes. Staying broke however is an option. After the embrassment that comes with being broke, a person could determine to spend less, save more or earn more. Just about anyone can pick and learn any one of these as a strategy and with some discipline become effective at it.
However with poverty, the victims can be compared to a drowning person, they often need a helping hand and shortly afterwards maybe swimming lessons. Or a hungry man living by the same river who just needs a fish to eat and later on a lesson on how to fish. So let’s never be just satisfied in giving alms, food or old clothes to the poor and needy; instead let us continually help in reorientation and enlightening our people on how they too can become successful. It’s about teaching them how to carve their own spoons.
The following people are doing a great job in this respect and I doff my hat to them and perhaps next year, we would be nominating each one for a CNN Heroes Award:
1. Kai Orga who runs the CORE Development Initiative where she organizes enterprise and employability skills trainings for youths to equip them with tools and skills to start a business and become self-sufficient. All her programs are entirely free to the end-users and sponsored by a network of committed individuals and corporate organisations. Kai is an inspiration to hundreds of leaders and yet her humility and unassuming nature is simply amazing to behold. More on what they do can be seen on: www.coredevini.org.
2. Meibaka who although she works as a civil servant in a government agency, moonlights as a radio talk-show host and producer and self-funds a program on Love F.M where she interviews successful entrepreneurs and with the right use of questions, soon draws out salient lessons and secrets of success and shares to thousands of her listeners weekly. Her commitment and dedication to such a thankless role is heart-warming and worthy of emulation.
3. Kingsley Bangwell who is eternally devoted and committed to the personal development of young people. His personal conviction that the youths are the secret to unlocking Nigeria’s greatness is infectious. He runs the organization: Youngstars Foundation.
4. Olumide Adewakun who runs an NGO Cyrus Foundation and is regularly engaged in organizing free medical outreach programs and distributing medical relief is disaster zones and war-torn areas. And no he isn’t a multi-millionaire philantrophist with truckloads of money to burn. He is a medical doctor working in a government hospital (and he doesn’t have a private clinic). But what he does have is a huge heart and a keen desire to contribute massively. His boldness and generosity is overwhelming and matchless.
You don’t need to be like them. I’m not asking you to drop your daily schedule and start your own foundation or non-profit. But perhaps you can consider partnering with any of the individuals listed above and give of your time, treasure or talent to those less fortunate than you are. Or you could choose your own neighbourhood charity or favourite NGO and partner with them to assist the less fortunate in your own community. You will soon gladly discover that the return on investment is invaluable emotionally, socially and spiritually. God bless you.