03 May EPE
A SUDDEN CRAVING for fresh fish prompted us to take the refreshing drive down to Epe, Lagos.
Epe has that rustic and quaint feel to it. The scenic drive with trees on both sides of the road and a view of the lagoon popping in between the trees lifted my spirit. Far from the maddening crowd of Lagos city. The air is fresh and clean especially closer to the marina. The whiff of salty water and fish was all I needed for our quick tension free getaway.
So close to Lagos, yet somewhat ‘uncivilised’.
We cut through the town and headed for the remote waterside. A tiny fish trawler had just pulled away from the embankment and women jumped into the shallow water with baskets to hold out the fishes for viewing.
Trashing about in the baskets were Shiny nose, Croaker, Obokun(I don’t know the English equivalent), Red snapper (Our favorite) and many others I’d never seen before. We haggled and yelled at each other and eventually agreed on a price. I even spoke the local dialect so I could gain a bit of advantage. I didn’t want them profiling me as Ajebutter money-bag(Affluent people with cash to throw around)
We got six hefty fishes weighing roughly 500 gms in total. Elated and satisfied we drove back to Lagos. Fish pepper-soup on my mind!
Although I loved the entire getaway and all, I was more enamored by the people. They had that doe-eyed simplicity that city people lacked. I noticed a few churches sprinkled here and there and I wondered what their messages hinged on.
What brand of the gospel do they preach? The prosperity gospel or the ‘simple’ gospel to a people who just want to live life!
Life in Epe is simple. Simple with regards to lifestyle and outlook, although they do have their own complications, cultural and traditional ambiguities. I doubt if they are saddled with the complexities of the modern social media world. At least not to a great extent.
The closer we are to living a simple life or simply being close to nature, the better the quality of our life becomes.
If I ran my life based on the ‘simple’ gospel:
‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John3:16
Could I live a successful Christian life?
The ‘simple’ gospel has everything I need to live life, God’s way. Why and when did things get so complicated?
Let’s break things down, shall we?
1. For God so love me(Insert your name). That’s the starting point. That’s the crux of salvation. That’s the very reason why I would want to turn over my life to Christ in the first place. Love is the reason and most important motivation. Love is the driving force and God had to demonstrate that by:
2. Giving me the best gift ever, Jesus. Gifts have a way of granting us favor before people. It softens the heart and releases gratitude. And that gift is for:
3. Whosoever (insert your name). Anyone who desires it. God will not impose. He gave us free will and He won’t take it back because He is a God of integrity. So the table is laid and a sumptuous meal is spread out. It depends on you if you are hungry. Grab a plate, cutlery set, and fill up on:
4. Life. Everlasting life with a loving Father.
If the love of God compels me, I would obey the first commandment without even thinking about it. I would love God with everything and love others as well. That means I would hate sin and everything else God hates. I would emulate my Father. If love is my motive for doing what I do with and to people, there’s no how heaven will be denied me.
If I give as God gives. Give of my time, energy, resources, material possessions: apart from God giving back to me, I would be pretty much like God. God is an outstanding giver.
Everything else we do in life hinges on love. Love is the greatest gift of all. If Christianity were reduced to love, it wouldn’t be so complicated. We wouldn’t live complicated lives. Love is the most challenging part of our Christian walk, yet it is the most vital. Love is both a gift and a fruit. The former is easy but the latter is not because we have to cultivate love. Love means selflessness. We don’t like to leave self behind.
We have to spend time with love. The more we do love, the easier it becomes. And love means getting ready to being hurt again and again. That’s the part we all shy away from. Yet, that’s the proof that we ever truly love like God.
The message of the cross is love and sacrifice. A juxtaposition of love and warfare. We receive love but need to fight to enforce the victory. It is still a love message. It is still a simple ‘good’ news.
Once we veer away from that, we preach a different message and miss the mark.
Love and blessings.