Many years back as a fresh graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, I was doing my clearance in order to be shortlisted for the next batch of the National Youth Service Corps. One of the conditions to be cleared by the school is the presentation of receipts of all financial obligations from first to final year. I could not find my reparation fee receipt. This was the money we paid when some students rioted and destroyed the school’s assets in my second year. I only needed to get a duplicate of my payment from the bank. For two years (from 2nd to 4th year) I was frustrated. They always asked me to return next week or next month. Just that I was in financial straits after losing my Dad otherwise I would have just paid a second time.
On this fateful day my helper located me. After a transaction, the teller asked me if there was something else she could do for me and I told her about my trouble. She left her cubicle, held my hand and took me to the man that has frustrated me all this while. She stooped and whispered in his ears: “Please help my friend.” With a parting caress on his back she left me with him. And in less than five minutes I got what I couldn’t get for two years.
Imagine your life without helpers. If no one had helped you secure that job or contract. If no one had helped you with your school fees, feeding, house rent, transportation, avenge your enemies, put in a good word for you, and no one had helped you when you were frustrated and depressed. Where would you be today?
Life answers to careful application of principles. This makes the world a complex but interrelated web of principles. One of such principles is giving and receiving. When we are bestowed with favor and we do likewise, we keep the cycle unbroken. And what perpetuates and strengthens this flow is the expression of gratitude. But ingrates will have theirs run dry.
‘So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except for this foreigner?” ‘(Luke 17:17-19). Just like Jesus, everyone who shows favor expects some form of appreciation from the beneficiary. It is a natural response that will make the giver be pleased and probably do more. “Arise go your way. Your faith has made you whole.” This is the reward to the one that showed appreciation. He will never be leprous again because it is possible for one to lose his miracle due to ingratitude and exposure to what caused it in the first place. The nine exhibited entitlement mentality.
Let us consider the case of Moses and Jethro’s daughters at a well in Exodus 2:15-21. After murdering an Egyptian in defense of his fellow Hebrew, Moses fled for his life to the land of Median as a fugitive. Now thirsty, hungry and homeless, he needed help. And when the situation presented itself, he relegated his needs to help the women fight off the bully shepherds and watered their flock. These are nomadic aggressors in the like of Fulani herdsmen in present day Nigeria. Moses didn’t exploit the weakness of the women to satisfy his needs before helping as some would do today.
“Why is it that you have left the man? Call him that he may eat bread.” This was the reaction of their father after his daughters shared their encounter with Moses. His daughters never remembered to show appreciation. You would think Zipporah being the eldest would have noticed that he was a stranger in need of help. If not for her father’s foresight she probably wouldn’t have married Moses. Her name would not have been recorded in history for posterity.
And Moses by that singular selfless act got not only his urgent need of food and shelter, but also, a wife, a family, a shepherd’s job for forty years, and most importantly, his mission of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Think, what if he had not helped the women? They surely wouldn’t have mentioned him to their father. There wouldn’t have been an invite to dine. He might not have found a good wife in Zipporah. He probably wouldn’t have become a shepherd which made him see the burning bush the way he did.
And think if Jethro hadn’t shown gratitude to Moses for his kindness to his daughters, he might not have had two additional men (Moses and Gershom, his son) in his household to defend them. He would not have had the opportunity to bequeath the world with his concept of Delegated Authority. He would not have been remembered by history if he had not remembered to show gratitude.
I will conclude by asking you two questions and also give you a task to do. Where are the people that have helped you in your life’s journey thus far? Where have you left them? Make a list today of everyone you can remember that has helped you and show gratitude in every way possible.