I stopped by the fourth stall in the market that had what I was looking for. It wasn’t really a stall. The Hausa man in charge of the goods just had an umbrella which shielded him and his goods from the onslaught of the hot sun. This left customers like myself in the hot sun. Just as I bent down to touch the first good that caught my attention, I heard the voice of a man over a megaphone. I was used to the locals advertising their goods with the aid of megaphones, ranging from insecticides to herbal drugs that supposedly cured infertility.
I turned around to see the person who was advertising his wares. It turned out that he wasn’t advertising any wares. I caught a glimpse of him just as he disappeared into the crowd. He was not very tall and I could clearly detect a strong Igbo accent as he talked. He was a street preacher. I couldn’t hear his message clearly. This was due to the fact that the market was boisterous and mainly because the megaphone battery was almost dead. I turned back to the man who had what I wanted to buy and started haggling over an initial price that I had thought was simply absurd. I totally forgot about the street preacher.
Imagine my surprise then when I saw another woman with a megaphone in another section of the market that I had gone to. She was headed toward the same direction that I was. This gave me the opportunity to look at her properly. What immediately caught my attention was the fact that she wore a green jacket. The only church in Nigeria that I knew of that wore green jackets was The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Ministries International (that’s the name that I know of). Her jacket had somewhat faded, but I could clearly spell the word C-H-O-S-E-N written boldly with red ink at her back.
This woman preacher was clearly Igbo, judging by the way she pronounced words. The battery in her megaphone was also almost dead. But I was able to pick out some of the things that she was saying. “Holiness” and “righteousness” were two words which she used often. In my mind, I said that I wasn’t surprised. I know of many churches in Nigeria that we the younger generation (who don’t attend those churches) refer to as Holiness Churches. Simply put, a Holiness Church is one where Holiness can be preached every Sunday for five years and the pastor won’t feel the need to change the style of his sermons. I currently attend a kind of Holiness Church so I can relate a little with such messages. My uncle is also a pastor in one of such churches.
But what struck me was the way she used words. She mixed present and past tenses, without any obvious regard for the grammatical rules that govern the English Language. I have one big weakness: I can hardly sit down and listen to people make grammatical errors without correcting them. This annoys many of my friends, but I somehow cannot stop. It’s my Achilles’ heel. And I looked at a woman preaching and inwardly mocked her due to her weak command of the English Language.
Just as I was about to leave that part of the market, I was reprimanded by the Holy Spirit.
“At least she’s obeying my command. She’s doing what you’re not doing.”
At this point, I had to ask for mercy. I had been wrong. I had been terribly wrong. The man and the woman were clearly obeying the Lord’s command and I was mocking them. The female street preacher then went on to lead those who had responded to the Gospel through the Sinner’s Prayer. I knew that no one was probably listening, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was her obedience.
How many times have you looked down on those who do ministry or serve the Lord differently from you? Maybe they don’t sing well enough. Maybe they don’t teach or interpret scriptures well enough. Many they don’t even know how to dress well when they minister! Folks, what matters is that they’re obedient.
Dear Minister, the Lord still considers obedience to be better than whatever you think you’re sacrificing that the others aren’t. When last did you obey the Great Commission?
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Rom. 10:14 (NIV)
I’ll like to hear from you. Have you ever looked down on a minister? Do you think that certain ways of sharing the Gospel are better than others? Don’t forget to drop your contributions in the comment box below.
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017