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unwanted gift vanityfairdotcom.jpg - 80.24 Kb Nigeria: Jonathan's unwanted gift (Image: Vanityfair.com)


I recently came across a piece of writing by King Solomon, to which I had previously not paid much attention. In Ecclesiastes 2: 12-17, Solomon speaks about ‘The vanity of wisdom/living wisely’. According to the man most famous in human history for his wisdom, “Wisdom excels folly… [yet] as it happens to the fool, so it happens to [the wise], then I said in my heart, this also is vanity” WHAT?!! I mean, WHHAATTT?!!! This is the man who sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings (considered at that time to be the most extravagant worship by any King before him in 1Kings 3: 4-14) in order to gain access to God. When he did get God’s attention, he revealed that his sole purpose was to ask for an understanding heart to rule God’s people. In other words, he desired wisdom. In response, God gave him that and much more! Yet, here he is in his private thoughts wondering what good this spectacular gift had been to him.


At some point or other, we all what something. There are times we want things that we desperately need. At other time, we want things we may not need, but once our desires are set on something, it becomes hard to imagine life without it. We plan, we envision, we dream, we pray… When we finally receive those things for which we prayed, once the thing we wanted so badly has become ours, we tend to value and cherish things like marriage and children more when we have waited long for them. The value we place on such a thing tends to be directly proportional to how long we waited for it. People who hustled and endured repeated rejection waiting for a chance to get a break in tough careers like music and big screen, or those who studied long and hard for specialist professions like surgery and programming, tend to be more level-headed in their management of success than those who arrived at it without toil. Perhaps that is why the saying goes: “Anything worth having is worth waiting for”. What happens though, when we are given things we did not seek, when we get things for which we did not ask or after which we did not desire? Perhaps the human psyche is designed not to place that much value on those things for which we did not labor. We tend to take for granted the things that come too easy. Perhaps in our mind, we feel that it could not have been of much value if it was simply offered to us as soon as we asked for it. In fact, we tend to place even less value on those for which we did not even ask. The undesired, unexpected gift is perhaps considered to be of less value than the much sought and much anticipated one. Could this be the case with you and I? Could this be the case with Nigeria? We have a President who did not desire office. In fact, it is said that he did not even so much as desire the office of Governor. It was thrust on him by destiny. All he ever really desired was to be Deputy Governor and from that modest ambition, fate catapulted him from one level of glory to another until he arrived at the very top. He is like a man who was suddenly shoved into the limelight of the stage, who arrives blinking at the brilliance of the lights that are shone on him.


Could this be the reason that Goodluck Jonathan did not know what to do with his opportunity to be Nigeria’s President? Did he like Solomon think: “What good is this gift to me? What am I supposed to do with it now?” President Jonathan has been infamously quoted as saying that he is no David, at a time when Nigeria desperately needs a David – a brave, new arrival who is willing to take on the Goliath of our nation and by faith, deal it the death blow that would set our people free from its tenacious clutches? Jonathan did not really want to be President – perhaps until 2014. Until then, I never saw him make an unscripted speech. Until he started his bid for re-election, he always seemed a little apathetic to me, looking a little lost and disconnected at public events. Stories abound about his comportment in private and although I will not allude to rumors, I have it on authority from one shocked eye witness that the smoke was not without fire. So, it appears that finally, President Jonathan wants to be President but is it not too late? Has the milk not been spilled? He has already despised* the gift and heaven took note of that fact. The proverbial calabash is broken and the water is lost. When King Saul despised God's gift, it was taken from him (2Samuel 6:21) and the steward who despised his Master's assignment lost his gift to another (Matthew 25:28).


Solomon’s Father, King David was “a Man after God’s heart” (Acts 13:22). Bible scholars to this day continue to study King David’s life to understand why God testified of him in this manner. Some say he endeared himself to God because of his worship of God, others say it was his tender heart. Whatever the reason, it is instructive that President Goodluck Jonathan did not seize the day when history thrust the opportunity on him to be Nigeria’s David. By rejecting this call, he sealed his fate. It is time for Nigeria's faulty foundations to be uprooted and new ones built. God will use whom He can find. God was looking for a David for this purpose in Nigeria. Jonathan said: “Not me”. A few months later, his handlers compared him to Jesus Christ. They need to get better acquainted with the Bible. David was the forebear of Jesus. Without David, there would have been no Jesus. The Bible tells us in James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights”. Even if he did not think much of the office of President, President Jonathan should have exalted the Giver above the gift. He should have desired to be God’s man by stepping up to the plate to do God’s bidding for “a time like this”. When God did not find in President Jonathan a David, he chose for Himself a Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28 - 45:6) to deliver Nigeria. The kingdom has been taken from him (Daniel 4:31) and given to another. May God's will be done in Nigeria.

*despise verb
  1. feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.
    "he despised himself for being selfish"
    synonyms: detesthateloatheabhorabominateexecrate, regard with contempt,feel contempt for, shrink from, be repelled by, not be able to bear/stand/stomach, find intolerable, deploredislike;
    scorndisdainslight, look down on, pour/heap scorn on, deride, scoff at,jeer at, sneer at, mockrevile;

LB, Sunday 1 March 2015 07:57

Lola Balola writes from Abuja, Nigeria.



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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 April 2015 19:07
Written by Lola Balola

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