They say money is the root of all evil; but I honestly think otherwise. Long ago, I never had money of my own. I relied solely on my parents to pay for this and that. I couldn’t wait to get a proper job so I could have my own money. Strangely, when I started working and earning, I still didn’t have as much money as I wanted and needed – one big buy and my account would be in the red! I wondered what the rich folks did to stay rich!
I learnt a life-changing lesson from a friend right after we started our NYSC. While I was busy trying to save all my money in the bank, and looking forward to my end of the month paycheck, she gave the whole of her first salary to the church! Personally, I thought that she was crazy, especially since she had some financial challenges at the time. She called it her “first fruit”, which she must give God. I tried to make her see reason. I thought that paying one’s tithe i.e. one-tenth of one’s salary/allowance was commendable enough. Why give it all and then starve to death? My friend ignored all I said to dissuade her and I felt sorry for her. Why was she “overdoing it”? Abi na she kill Jesus? Later on, I did some soul searching and realised that secretly, I was envious of her faith and commitment to God. I resolved to pay my own “first fruit” also, once I got my first real job.
My first real job was at a location that was way out of my comfort zone, which made it difficult to pay my first fruit, but I was determined. On that Sunday morning, just before I dropped my envelope into the collection basket, I said a prayer; I told God, I didn’t want to have to search for a job after paying my first fruit. I always wanted a successful career, but the hustle of jumping from one interview to the next and distributing CV’s was quite daunting.
I had faith that God heard me on that day, and He sure did. I successfully completed my tasks on that job and hoped for an even better one. Soon enough, I got a phone call to resume work at the exact place I had always dreamt of. I found it hard to believe that God really heard me, and answered my prayer to the letter. I walked right into my dream job and I didn’t even have to formally apply for it, nor did I write a test to prove my capability.
Of course I have experienced challenges while at work, but with each passing day, I have trusted that God will come through for me and He always does. Once I started my new job, I was ecstatic, so ecstatic that I signed an erroneous contract – according to the contract my income was quite less than what I had initially expected. As a result, I barely earned more than the office driver for well over a year. Instead of complaining about it, I decided to do something different. I had found out how much my real salary would have been if my contract had been correctly drafted and I paid my tithe as if I was earning my ‘entitled’ salary. I continued to do this for a while and just as I was about to quit, my contract was reviewed and upgraded. A few months after that, my pay grade was subjected to another review and was doubled again! It was all going very well, and I could clearly see the benefit of my earlier sacrifices. Little did I know that there was more to come.
A few months ago, my boss informed me that the organisation no longer had enough funds to retain a number of staff- including me. I couldn’t believe it! I went home feeling super hurt, depressed, unappreciated, confused, … the works! I called my parents and siblings and they said all the wonderful things that I thought they’d say to make me feel better, but the truth was they couldn’t help me. Only God could and I knew it. I said a prayer and went straight to bed – sleep is one true cure for an upset state of mind!
I returned to work the next week only for my boss to offer me a better position with an affiliate organisation, which pays an even higher salary, and opens doors to a new set of opportunities. Apparently, a vacancy had resulted in the affiliate organisation over the weekend and my boss saw me as a worthy candidate to fill the role.
Today, aside from my growing career, as a hobby, I manage a thriving clothing business and I am a writer. Simply put, I no longer need daddy to pay for my meal the next time I visit my favourite restaurant since God has taken over. Personally, I think my sacrifices have paved a way for a brighter future. Although that doesn’t mean I won’t have challenges, it just means ‘after’ those challenges are overcome, there is an even brighter path ahead. I know not everyone would agree with me, and I can understand that. After all, even I thought my friend was crazy for giving all of her first salary to the church. But if my personal experience is anything to go by, it’s definitely worth a try.