Human Societies Are Built, Sustained By Hard Work, Not Miracles

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Having completely lost every hope in the government owing to the myriads of socio-economic plagues bedeviling the country, many Nigerians have decided to put their hopes in miracles as a way out. This of course has given rise to a new business: the selling of miracles. Yes. Demand is the mother of supply. The more you pay, the bigger miracle you are promised.

It pains to see how many Nigerians are into this buying and selling. I ask myself where our generation is headed to with this mentality. I ask myself where we got this bizarre mentality from. It was not practiced by our forefathers. It is not practiced in the land of those who brought us Christianity neither did our missionaries practice or taught us that.

Of course, what else can one expect from a country where quality education has suffered, died and has been buried. A country where people without school certificate rule over professors and where graduates are jobless. A country where workers cannot feed their dependents and where some privileged but jobless few swim in wealth. A country where rumours are preferred to facts.

Rather than putting heads together to see how to solve their socio-economic woes, Nigerians have taken a lazy and cowardice option: waiting for miracles.

If that is how societies are built and sustained, rather than training his apostles for the work of evangelization, Jesus would have miraculously made every human being to believe in him.

Rather than confronting the rulers of his time who impoverished the people, Jesus would have miraculously made them good leaders.

Rather than encouraging human beings to feed the hungry, he could have miraculously made sure that no one suffers hunger or poverty.

Rather than healing only a few people, he would have healed everyone miraculously or ensured that no one becomes sick.

Instead of encouraging us to be peace makers, he could have miraculously made peace where ever there is strife.

Rather than sending his only Son to become man in order to save the world, God would have commanded salvation from heaven.

Rather than demanding his followers to love each other, he would have miraculously turned them lovers of one another.

No. He did not do any of these miracles which he has the powers to do. He rather commanded us to do them ourselves because human soceities are built by human beings through dedication and hard work and not through miracles.

The highest miracle has already been done and that is the creation of man and woman in God’s image and likeness. Being created in his image and likeness means that we were created to be co-creators with God. We are required to continue the miracles with our hands on the ground but with our mind focused on God.

When Jesus performed miracles in the Bible, he did them so that people might believe in him and not as solution to socio-economic challenges. The same is with today’s miracles. When they occur, they are meant to awaken our belief in Jesus as our messiah and the Son of God and not as a way of solving societal problems.

The Bible itself is very clear on this point. Thus, at the end of the miracle narratives by the evangelists, the Bible states, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the messiah, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Cf Jn.20: 30-31. Read it again: that you may believe that Jesus is the messiah. Yes. That is the reason for any miracle.

Show me any progressive and peaceful society and I will show you a people that solved their problems themselves realizing that they are co-creators with God. Show me on the other hand any poor society and I will show you a people who want God to come down from heaven and solve their problems for them or a people waiting on someone else other than them to solve their problems for them. Of course God cannot do that; otherwise he will be making a caricature of his own creation.

Do we really realize the powers and abilities God built in us human beings? Do we actually know the resources God put in our disposal for our own good, that are yet undiscovered and untapped?

It has been proven that we human beings don’t make up to 5% use of our brain. And yet people are still asking for miracle! Do we call that greed or ignorance or what?

It is a mockery of creation when we don’t realize the miracle of our being and the duty to alleviate the problems of our world with it.

Each time we make use of our miraculous God’s given talents; we praise and give glory to God who bestowed us with them. We simply live up to the reason why God created us. Hence the Latin adage: laborare est orare meaning “to work is to pray” Ora et Labore – “pray and work”.

God did not for instance miraculously throw down the medicine to cure malaria or typhoid from heaven. No. He did not throw down televisions, telephones, refrigerators, cars, aeroplanes and so on.  Never, He simply gave us the knowledge and ability to discover them ourselves.

We don’t make these things but we discover them. The verb “discover” or “uncover” means that it has been lying there before now but “covered”. What we have to do is to “discover” or “un- cover” what was “covered”. Most of the miracles we seek have been done long ago. Our duties are to “un-cover” and claim them. If we don’t do that, we have ourselves to blame not God.

Rather than gathering people to be shouting from night till morning for a sick person, go and sponsor a research in the university to discover its cure (if hitherto unknown). Rather than praying for jobless people to become millionaires, simply form a work cooperative organization. That is the only way to meaningfully solve human problems.

Nigerians will be praying for God’s miracle to help them travel overseas where human beings did not rely on miracles to develop. What a contradiction!

Jesus did not come on earth to perform miracles otherwise he would have been seen as a failure.

He did not find the Church as a miracle centre either but as a community of believers.

If miracles and healings and prosperity constitute the aim of Christianity then Christianity is a failure because in the history of humanity no one has suffered more persecution, hate, sickness, poverty and death than those who believed in Jesus.

Wealth and belief in God do not belong on the same page. Otherwise Jesus himself would have been rich, his mother and foster father Mary and Joseph would have been rich, his apostles and disciples would have been rich. His friends Mary and Mather would have been rich.

Those who believe in Jesus are not promised wealth but the kingdom of God. If not, the litany of the saints of the Church would have been litany of rich men and women. Rather than extolling wealth Jesus eulogized poverty. That is why the religious in the Catholic Church take the vow of poverty till date.

Saints like Francis of Assisi and many others were born rich but chose become poor for the love of Jesus. They gave  away everything they had to the poor and followed Jesus.

This however does not mean that wealth is evil. Wealth is praiseworthy as long as it is not acquired at the expense of others and as long as it does not neglect the plights of the needy.

If you are a “man of God”, please do not tell people what God will do for them, (no one knows that even), tell them rather what God has done for them. Tell them to thank God like the psalmist, for the wonder of their being, for the miracles already done which are lying waste untapped in and around them. Help them to discover themselves and appreciate God in thanksgiving for it.

It is very clear that the major cause of the problems in Nigeria is bad leadership. It is the will of God to demand good leadership from leaders through every legitimate means rather than hoping on a miracle that will change their hearts. Jesus did not do that. John the Baptist did not do that. The prophets did not do that. They rather confronted the leaders. As people were buying and selling in the temple, Jesus did not pray for a miracle to stop them.  No. He drove them away with his hands.

When people start going to Church mainly for economic prosperity rather than for cultivating virtues like love of God and neighbour, humility and selflessness, they become ultra-capitalists, envious, egoistic, ingrates, proud and ungodly. They make a caricature of the creation, the salvific mission of Jesus and the identity of the Church as the body of Christ.

Anyone who worships God because of material gains is not a believer in God but a merchant because he forgets God as soon as the problems are solved or refused to be solved. He is a counterfeit Christian. To such people Jesus said: most assuredly, you seek me not because you saw the signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  Jn. 6:26.

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