HOW RICH IS YOUR BANK OF GOODWILL?
As elections are approaching, politicians are on their best behaviour – honouring invitations, donating in kind and cash to organisations and communities, etc. They want to create an image of altruism for themselves. They have their aides writing superb speeches and lectures analysing Nigeria’s and their locality’s problems and proffering solutions. Anything to sway the electorate is on the cards for now.
But where were these politicians a few months or years ago? Are the problems they are dissecting new? What did they do in their previous elected or appointed positions to tackle them? Where was this overflow of care, insight and concern to make Nigeria better they are currently showing before? These are questions the rest of us need to ask in order to gauge their sincerity.
It is not only politicians who need public help and support. None of us is an island. Everyone of us will at one time or another need to rely on our neighbours, kinsmen, work or business colleagues and other associates for something. Gaining their co-operation usually depends on the pre-existing relationships we have with them. Do they know us? What are their impressions about us? Can they say we are wise, thoughtful and benevolent or do they see us as empty, crafty and mean? Is there anything they can say we did for them or others in the past, something positive? If we have occupied an influential position, are there people we have lifted or have we only benefitted ourselves and our families?
(Related: What Can I Do For You Today?)
In other words, how rich is our bank of goodwill? I remember the late MKO Abiola. He traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria for years with his philanthropy. When eventually he declared his presidential aspiration, he had widespread support befitting such a high office and was eventually acclaimed to have won the presidential election in 1993, the results of which were however annulled by then military president, Ibrahim Babangida.
For want of a better example, I hereby share some obcervations I made recently. They relate to a colleague who contested the deanship election in our faculty. A very brilliant professor with enviable academic achievements and international connections, she was however relatively unknown, especially among younger colleagues due to her frequent overseas and local travels. She was also unpopular among some older colleagues, especially in her own department. She had done some good quite alright but it was farther afield and didn’t quite count in the faculty as a constituency.
Joining the race very late, she worked tirelessly to connect with the academic staff of the faculty and provide mentorship opportunities in the form of interactive sessions with prominent guest lecturers for those who would attend. Unfortunately, it was too little too late because her opponents, though not with intimidating foreign credentials like hers, were eminent professors as well. But most importantly, they were well known and had personal connections with and positive impact on many staff over a long period speaking for them.
Expectedly, one of her rivals won the position. I believe if she had hung around and built relationships with members of faculty for a year or more, she could have won. But as things were, she didn’t stand a chance. (I have not shared this story to denigrate the lady involved. She is my friend and I personally know her to be a wonderful Christian and very kind but she wasn’t widely known in the faculty before she ran for office.)
(Related: What Is The Value Of A Person’s Life?)
I’m not suggesting that we should tie all our good deeds to an expectation of future return from the recipients. That is not the Christian thing to do. The Bible clearly teaches that we should “do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return” – Luke 6:35 (ESV). What I’m recommending is that we do good everyday, that we add value wherever we are, that we build lives and be a blessing continually. This will enrich our bank of goodwill and if ever the occasion demands, we won’t need to race against time to fill it up. Note that I’m talking to myself as much as to others on this.
And whatever the case, we should not rest our confidence on that bank no matter how rich it is because ultimately it is God who determines what we get in life, not necessarily those we have blessed. Let him guide your aspirations and pursuits and He will prepare you to be ready to claim them when the right time comes.
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:35
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” – Proverbs 3:27
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. – Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” – Hebrews 6:10
The scriptures in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
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