“THIS IS A LONELY place and it is now late. You should send these people away, so they can go to the villages and buy something for themselves to eat” suggested the disciples but Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.” Mt. 14:16-17. In the process, Jesus fed about 5,000 men beside women and children with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

Bode came to an eatery one afternoon with the intension of eating food before leaving for Lagos. The food seller said a plate of food was N300. He begged to be served N100 worth of food without meat but the woman refused. While Bode turned to go, Solomon beckoned to him and asked the woman to serve him a plate of food. After eating the meal, Bode brought his N100 but Solomon offered to pay the bill. Bode thanked Solomon for his generosity and left.  “He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Prov. 28:27.

A year later, Solomon left for Lagos to buy goods for sale.  He encountered traffic-holdup somewhere in Lagos, came down from the bus and tried to take a shortcut to his destination. Shortly he found himself in a dead-end where area boys snatched his bag of money and telephones at gun point. Onlookers and passersby did not rescue him.  What a mid-day darkness!

Suddenly, a young man emerged from a nearby building and headed towards them. To his dismay, the boys laid down their arms and paid special respect to the man. The man in question came closer to Solomon and looked steadily at him. This development made Solomon to expect the worst to happen to him. Miraculously, the man almost prostrated before Solomon asking for pardon on behalf of his boys. 

“Oga, I’m sorry for this unexpected harassment. Do you still remember me?” he asked Solomon in a calm voice. Solomon was so confused and afraid that he could not look at the man’s face nor answer his question. “I left Agodi prison in Ibadan where I served my jail term and had only N100 on me to eat and that woman refused to sell food for me. Then, you paid for my food.” Bode turned to his boys and ordered them to return all they had taken from Solomon and set him free.

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers: that you do unto me! When I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink, now enter into the home of my Father.”

“The best way to judge a person is by what he gives. The test of generosity is not necessarily how much you give but how much you have left. If you have, give. If you lack, give.” says John Mason. When you give a helping hand, your savings account in heaven will increase.  You see how N300 saved Solomon’s life apart from hundreds of thousands of naira they returned to him? Heaven helps those who help themselves. If you are financially buoyant, remember the needy around you. The resources God allocated to you is not meant for you alone: use it well and you will be given much more!  “Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” Lk. 12:48.

We are in Lent and most of us are fasting as recommended by the Church. The savings you are making from your fasting could be used to save lives. Feed the hungry around you, especially in this season. Store up treasures for yourself in heaven. Solomon has vowed to be more charitable than ever before. Joseph Onyeka says, “Help the needy in your capacity and you will not regret it.”

Sometimes, people feel reluctant to help others with money because of some practices in the society.  A friend said, “When I’m about to help the needy I’ll cover the gift with the Blood of Jesus. There is power in the Precious Blood of Jesus! And with that strong faith, no one can use my money or gift to bring misfortune to me. If someone takes your money to bring bad luck for you, God of vengeance will avenge you. It has been working for me and will as well work for you in Jesus’ name!”

Jesus tells us during Stations of the Cross, “Lift the burden from another back. Each time you do that, you lift the cross’s awful weight that crushes me.” He adds, “Can you be brave enough to wipe my bloody face? ‘Where is your face?’ you may ask me. And I will answer, ‘Everywhere: at home where eyes fill up with tears; at work when tensions rise; in the classroom; on play ground … wherever suffering exists. My face is there and there I look for you to wipe away my blood and tears.”

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