Before Valentine, let’s talk about quick somethings from church today, shall we?
First, an observation.
When it is announced that it is time to give our offerings, there is a general low rustling among the congregation comprising people dipping their hands into their pockets, purses and wallets and sifting through the currencies they carry and deciding which of the denominations would take the journey into the offering basket.
It also comprises people dipping into their pockets, purses and wallets to find empty spaces and less than offering-favorable balances and deciding that their lives are enough offerings as it is. They would be glad to offer even more by passing the offering basket to the next worshiper without dipping their hands into it and taking for themselves, as God would not like that.
With the advent of technological ways of giving offerings and tithes, “Offering time, blessing time”, now also means people whipping out their phones and opening their mobile banking apps and some other *737# moves to transfer money into the church account.
And where there are children involved, this is another deciding moment on whether the big guy upstairs getting offerings every Sunday deserves it this time or it’s the turn of the ice-cream man just outside the church gate.
Some of those kids already decided that the moment they woke up and the Sundayness of the day dawned on them.
Some parents give their children offering money before they get to church, others wait till the ushers are standing with the baskets before doing so and that also contributes to the low rustling of this ‘special time’ in church . Each to his own.
The questions I have today border on ownership of offering and ensuing blessings accrued to the giving.
We give because we want to give to God and to the work He is doing through the church and the leadership of the church. We also know that when we give, we are opening portals of God’s blessings on our lives.
Give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Yes, we do not give as a bribe or some sort of choke hold on God or blackmail but our hearts are expectant in some way or the other.
Now, two scenarios. Or three?
- When a mother/father gives her/his children money to drop into the basket as Sunday offering, who does the blessing come back on/to? The original giver or the other giver. And who is or what determines who the original giver is.
- While the offering basket was being passed today, a young man missed dropping his envelope into the basket probably because he was not ready. He stood up and followed the basket to where an usher was. Instead of handing the envelope over to the usher, he stood beside her and waited for the basket to make about two rounds till it got close enough for him to drop the envelope himself. Why? This young man is not a child, so, let’s strike out the typical Yoruba respect angle. Why do you think he thought it absolutely necessary to drop the offering into the basket by himself?
- Have you ever found yourself wondering about this too? What was your conclusion?
Let’s hear you in the comment section.
Now, about Valentine. What did you get and what did you give?
I wrote about my first experience of valentine on my Whatsapp status and I think I should share it here too.
It was 2003/2004, I was the fairly used, oh, sorry, fairly new girl at the school, having transferred mid-term due to family relocation due to …let’s not go into that one today.
So, I had settled to some extent, at least, enough to give the then reigning champion of 1st position a run for her throne and to also shock the other two men who had been claiming 2nd and 3rd into the realization of the possibility of 4th position. And you know the way most reward systems work, you all did well, but the first, second and third should have all the accolades.
Well, the beautiful thing about childhood is the genuine spirit of friendship and sane competition.
We all wanted to be the best but we were not going to stick out our feet just to make the other person stumble. And when the winners emerged, the others were civil enough to accept not winning with their chests.
I liked the three of them because they kept me on my toes and still played with me on the playground, swings and merry-go-rounds and play ladders and all.
So, valentine came that day and Tomiwa, one of the boys, surprised me with a gift.
I did not know what valentine was, who St. Valentine was, what those two things had to do with love or why people thought red was the best color to put on that day. I was just thrilled to be getting a beautifully wrapped cute cup.
Very exciting stuff!
I could barely wait for closing time to show the gift to my mother and watch her smile and ask who gave me and then I’d point excitedly at Tomiwa, who most times was also late in being picked up by his parents.
Imagine my shock then when my mother went into the whole speech about the inappropriateness of the gift and how she was disappointed at Tomiwa’s parents for allowing him do such a thing.
‘You have to return that cup.”
I must have thought my ears deceiving me. Staring at her, I tried hard to understand the why of such an instruction.
What had he done wrong? Why was the gift… wrong? Could a cup be more than what it was? A cup?
I got no explanation. And I demanded none.
Shamefacedly, I took the cup back to school. I returned it to him with some incoherent jumbled words of an apology.
… Still returning the cup, are we?
Today, some 16 years later, I still see all sorts of arguments on the appropriateness of Valentine’s Day. I marvel at how some things never change.
Why should an innocent day be whip-lashed into something demeaning just because it bears a title? It’s the same logic some people have about not seeing the usefulness or significance of New Year.
Truth is, these days are, as some would love to proclaim from the mountain tops, ordinary days. They have no more than 24 hours.
While the specifics therein might change, the basics remain the same. Yes, people use the restroom on Valentine’s Day too. And even more on New Year’s because of all the ijewuru.
Yet, they have been given some sort of significance by, Hehehe, ‘world people’.
So, what do you do?
I think we spend too much energy contradicting the opinions and stance of others while having none of ours. We let the need to be right at all costs blind us.
We choose not to learn or educate ourselves on the reasons for certain things and deciding if we agree or not.
We’d rather disagree first, then, still choose not to learn or know more.
This is the close mindedness that restricts the proper inflow and outflow of information and knowledge between people. Even between lovebirds. Both parties are bent on being ‘yes, yes’ people. They do not even want to have intellectually stimulating opposing opinions.
Parents, some of you still did not use this past valentine to let your children know more about love, opposite sex relationships and sex.
You would rather they just wear red. Why not also let them know what gifts are?
This brings me to my last point.
Some people are so gift-deprived! If their very first gift comes on Valentine’s Day, they will likely hold as truth whatever the giver declares the day to mean.
I am grateful to my brothers, David and Jonathan and my cousin, Pastor T. They ensured my sister and me had surplus of gifts and outings to those ‘special places’; Mr.Biggs, Big Treat, Tantalizers, Chicken Republic, etc.
They were not stupendously rich. But, they made us realize that we could have those things without begging or trading our value.
As we started getting our own monies via saving and working, they encouraged us to take ourselves out often.
So, getting gifts from a special person on those special days is exhilarating and heartwarming. However, not getting, due to whatever, does not reduce our self-esteem and should not turn us anti-Val’s advocates.
So, I am an advocate of seizing moments to our advantage. Of learning and relearning, sincere, specific and random gift giving within families and relationships and self-love.
Against these, there is no law.
…Waiting for your responses in the comment section. Merci.
Check out this Valentine couple.