I made an observation.
Mediocrity is often associated with two entities. Africans. And religious folk. But I speak from the religious perspective of the Christian faith.
The average African, homeland bred or in the diaspora, is religious. Or at the very least, ‘spiritual’.
This causes one to wonder; is the African nature the origin of mediocrity or is religion the origin? Is the African mediocre because he is religious or just because he is African? Has religion made mediocrity out of Africans or was it Africans who infiltrated religion with their own innate smallness?
Well, I observed the religious population of other races, particularly American Caucasians (I still speak from the Christian perspective), and I realized that it is the same story. American christians also struggle with mediocrity, and as a result they are not as powerful/influential, in the matters of secular state as the non-religious folk are.
The Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, Steve Jobbs, Mark Zuckerbergs of America are not religious. A good number of them are even atheists. Yet…they continually churn out so much excellence that christians find shelter in. Christians use internet for ministry and give testimonies in church of how they acquired iPhones and cars manufactured by the ‘heathen’.
These matters are worth thinking about, don’t you think?
2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS…
The ‘wicked way’ implies both evil in morals and evil in the things of nature. (Strong’s H7451). That is, the wicked way does not only refer to morality, but it also means living without adhering to the principles in/of nature. That means, for example, you may be a person who forgives others, but if you are a lazy person who is not diligent in your work, you are wicked.
Matt 25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
To pray while you flout all the principles that make life work is wickedness. It is the way of twistedness; the way of ‘anyhowness’.
And christians, we do ‘anyhowness’…a lot.
Oh, we pray and walk in love…but we pay no mind to principles of nature. We neglect science. We neither propound it nor do we encourage reliance on it. A person who praises science is deemed un-spiritual.
Call for a prayer meeting or a miracle conference and Nigerians will throng the place. Call for, say, a health seminar and the same people will be nowhere to be found. We prefer miracles to instructions. We would rather pray than live right. It’s easier.
We fail to realize that living a life of responsibility is what will yield godliness in us. Because, indeed, you are godly (God-like), not just when you forgive, but when you are healthy. Lack is not godly. Poverty is not godly. Please note that I did not say these things are sin. Not everything that is not godly is sin. To not be godly largely means to not meet up with the divine ideal, and some examples of this may be sin against God while others are not. Sickness is not godly, but it is not sin.
The blessing is commanded on us so that we may be blessings to others. Thus, we are godly when we are prosperous so much that we can give to others who do not have.
So then, if christians are not being blessings to their world, it only makes sense to presume that they themselves are not experiencing The Blessing. You cannot give what you do not have. Thus, if you are not giving it, it is because you do not have it (yet).
This is why I criticize the christianity of Nigerians the way I do. It is not rocket science to discern that christians who have not yet been able to figure out how to make a developed nation out of a decaying country like ours are not living the blessing yet. There is something terribly wrong with the christainity we practice in this country!
The Blessing is that which overflows. It is that which flows out of its carrier into the environment and makes things better. “The blessing of the Lord makes rich.” “How God anointed Jesus Christ with the Holyghost and power and He went about doing good” (Prov. 10:22, Acts 10:38).
That blessing that only solves personal problems cannot be the true blessing. Those are mere bread crumbs. That which only produces a car for you, while the road on which you will ride it remains rickety is not the blessing. It just cannot be! That kind of faith that does not invent anything, but that can only help you ‘claim and receive’ that which another person invented, cannot be the best brand of faith that there is. It is an ill. I will explain what I mean.
It is this ill that has affected God’s children since the beginning of time. That ill where once you are aware of the existence of a God, you immediately enter laziness and complacency mode. The ‘let go and let God’ mode. The religion mode. Not the faith mode. Not the God kind of faith. Religion is when a person is so obsessed with acknowledging some power greater than himself that s/he gets lost in that acknowledgement and forgets to do anything else that is equally important. Religion forgets to take responsibility. It forgets to respond to the ability of that same Higher Power that lies in them waiting to be tapped. The spirit of religion often presents as devotion, but it is actually laziness. It hides its complacency in ‘trust’ in the Divine.
But the spirit of faith is different. It takes responsibility. It says, “if it is going to be, it is up to me.” It looks at mountains and says, “I am going to move you from here to there”. And because she says so, the ability of God within her is released and the earth has to respond.
The spirit of faith is why Cain would leave the presence of God and go ahead to build a city. Think about that!
It is why his (Cain’s) descendants, heathen as they were, were the only ones in that generation who came up with inventions. But the descendants of Seth, wrapped up in the spirit of religion, only worshipped God, with no corresponding evidence of this God in their immediate environment (read Gen.4:16 all the way to Gen.5:32).
It is why even without the blessing, Esau found his way to prosperity much earlier than his brother, Jacob. Yet it was Jacob who was carrying blessing. This same spirit of faith God acknowledged at the Tower of Babel (Gen.11).
Paul and King David, it appears, were the few Bible characters who found the healthy balance between grace and diligence; the presence of God and principles; signs and wisdom.
The spirit of religion shows in our prayers. We say, “Oh God, a little effort and an enormous harvest, let that be my testimony!” And He answers. So, we keep getting only ‘miracles’ that is characterized by little effort, leaving those who do not know how to pray, but know how to put in a lot of effort, to perform the real miracles. Or have you not realized that Facebook, Google Map, are miracles? Or is that operating software on your smart phone that you prayed for not a miracle?
Oh, it’s a miracle too, that God gave you that car. But the greater miracle is that a human being like you thought it up and manufactured it so that you can ‘believe God’ for it.
And yes, it’s a miracle that Africans keep obtaining visas to migrate to developed countries. But the real miracle is that those countries we run to were once upon a time like the one from which we are running now and it was human beings like ourselves that sat down and figured out how to build their own countries to be the wonders that they are today.
It is not their genius that makes us appear mediocre, it is our own complacency. They had, and still have faith. We have religion.