YOU NEED TO GIVE TO BE GIVEN!
I grew up in a small two bed room bungalow with a very huge population. And at any point in time, we had lots of people; uncles, aunties, cousins, relatives, friends, strangers, etc., living with us. But, we were happy, even though we had very little by way of possessions. Sadly, our seeming deprivation, made me to hold on to whatever I had, since I felt I would never be able to replace them, once they were gone.
That was how I was when I entered Government College, Ibadan, Nigeria (GCI) as a form one student. Apart from being stingy, I did not behave too well too, so I was always in trouble. But, there was this tall and unassuming Lower Sixth Student, a born-again Christian fresh from Eastern Nigeria, who accepted me as I was. He was very patient with me, and he took good care of me. He even allowed me to sleep on his bed a few times; a mind-boggling treat in those days. Two other senior boys, Bro Fisayo Fagbemi (of Powell House (one of the fives boarding houses in GCI), and brother of Ayokunle Fagbemi, and Sina Fagbenro-Byron (Carr House), also allowed me to sleep on their beds in later years.
Shortly before lunch one Monday afternoon, my cousin Ayodele Akingbade, brother of Kole Akingbade, and Akinwale Akingbade, and our mutual friend, Jide Adedeji, brother of Bro Dokun Adedeji, both mess boys from Grier House, gave me a small measure of Garri (aka African Cassava Flakes), which I planned to consume with my meal of Beans. But, that was not to be, as something very interesting happened, which changed my life!
The aforementioned Lower Sixth boy decided to sit beside me in the dining hall that afternoon, and before I knew what was happening, he took over my Garri completely. Initially, I thought he would only have a few spoonsful, but no, he just went on and on, till I left it for him in protest and deep seated anger.
Then after lunch, he held my hand gingerly, and led me to his room; meanwhile, I was still boiling with anger inside. He also tried talk to me once or twice, but I ignored him. Why should I talk to a Lower Sixth boy who wouldn’t leave me and my Garri alone? I muttered to myself on and on. Eventually, we got to his room, and what he did next blew my mind totally!
To my utter shock, He brought out a small sack of Garri from under his bed, and gave me a good helping out of it. Then, he said ‘Adegbulu, you need to give to be given! This Garri is meant to ‘reward you for giving yours to me’. He then went on to lecture and convince me that giving begets giving (Luke 6:38).
Firstly, I could not believe my eyes and ears. Secondly, I never expected such level of generosity from someone I had just tagged my number one enemy, and I was truly ashamed of myself. Immediately, I apologized to him, and he accepted my apologies, but charged me to go out and give for my own sake. That was a huge counsel, which became a part of my life since then, and I can attest to the fact that it is truly profitable to give. He taught me other valuable lessons of life too, which prepared me for life in and out of GCI.
Since that day, I have tried my best to give, many times sacrificially, and I can attest to the fact that God truly rewards givers. Friend, are you a giver? If you are not, please start giving from now on. Give food, give money, clothes, time, energy, love, comfort, concern, advice, smile, hope, expertise, etc.; just give anything! Please don’t wait till you become very rich before you give, and don’t be tired of giving, because in due season, you shall reap (Galatians 6:9), in Jesus name. Amen.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me to honor a very supportive, sympathetic, brilliant, and calm old boy of our school; a high jumper of note, and a thorough bred Scientist/Christian; LAWRENCE ONYEAWUCHI.
My Teur (Teacher), if you are reading this piece, please know that we appreciate your love and kindness, plus the teachings you gave us during your short but unforgettable stay in GCI. We trust God to reward you richly day by day, in the name of Jesus Christ who you adore so fervently. Amen.
Dr Adedayo Stoney Adegbulu (Dr Stoney)
Medical Practitioner, Author, and Speaker