Sunday Ehigator writes that the focus of discussion as the Methodist Church of Nigeria Council of Knights of John Wesley and Charles Wesley held its 19th National Conference, themed ‘Obedient Knight, God’s Treasure’, was on the need for knights to be obedient to the will of God by sacrificing themselves and their resources for the growth of mankind
The biblical story of Father Abraham is one that easily comes to mind when obedience and faith are being required to be modeled.
According to the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Kanu, whom speaking on the theme ‘Obedient Knight, God’s Treasure’, admonished participating knights with the story of Abraham.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three days long event, he charged them to be obedient to God like father Abraham who obeyed God’s instruction without questioning.
“When God gave him the only child of promise, Isaac, the same God demanded that the boy be sacrificed unto him as people of ancient Middle East do sacrifice their first born to the gods. He did not take it so big to sacrifice to the Supreme God, who is the source being and creator of all things, who of course gave him Isaac.
“However, it is important to note that when God saw the faith of Abraham, he gave him an alternative to sacrifice; a ram, and said in Genesis 22:15-16 that, for his obedience, He would give Abraham as many descendants as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore, and those descendants will always conquer their enemies.
“We can see in Abraham’s obedience and sacrifice what pleased God. It was not the sacrifice he intended to offer but the obedience preceding the intention to sacrifice. We can see how obedience to God is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22b), which is the theme of the 2019 conference. That is to say that even though sacrifice is good, but obedience must precede any sacrifice. However, the inability to obey God, robbed Cain off his blessings because he did not fully obey God.”
Linking the theme to the reasons people are made knights, his Eminence said, “The Methodist Church of Nigeria Knights are made based on their antecedence in the area of commitments to the things of God, sacrifices made to the work of God and proven life of integrity. Our knighthood is therefore not for sale. As a church we see it as a motivation to do more.”
Also speaking at the conference which brought together all Methodist Knights from all of the 36 states and FCT together under one atmosphere, the Special Guest of Honour, Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu described the conference as a moment of refreshing, blessing, and spiritual rejuvenation.
Tinubu who was ably represented by the Chairman, Lagos Mainland LG, Hon. Omolola Essien, said, “As Christians, we all are called to life of obedience, as the bible says in John 14:15, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments. The bible contains accounts of persons who were obedient. Among them are Noah, David, Hezekiah, Paul etc. However, we cannot talk about obedience without talking about our father- Abraham.
“From the entirety of his life, we see what it is to obey without inhibition. But closely tied to the subject of obedience is trust and faith. For how can you obey blindly when you do not trust that the one you obey has good plans for you?
As knights, many people look up to you. Thus, it is important that they see obedience to God’s will. We must also ensure that we use our gifts, skills and abilities for the furtherance of the gospel.”
In an interview with THISDAY, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, ably represented by theChairman, House Committee on Lands, Representing Ikeja II Constituency Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu, said, there was a need for collaboration between religious bodies and the state for a better good.
According to him, “looking at the religious sector, the promotion of developmental projects is no doubt key and essential in making sure that we encourage spiritual growth in the life of people in general. And I want to believe that, at the Lagos State House of Assembly, we are a respecter of faith and the spiritual lives of the people. Be it Christian or Muslim or the traditional worshiper.
“As a point of note, at a plenary section which was our Yoruba speaking day, we spoke about giving the traditional aspect of religion a voice. Not forgetting where we are from, our cultural heritage, promoting the customs and tradition of our citizens, identifying that the importance of spiritualism and religion is a point of note that should be taken into proper consideration.
“The idea of that plenary was to make sure we separate a particular day for the traditional worshipers to celebrate themselves. In as much as the Christian’s have for example, December 25 as a day they worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and likewise the Muslims, have a day they celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad, they celebrate the Ileya festival, the Edil Fitri, the breaking of fasting and so on, traditional worshipers too must have a voice.
“This shows that there is a common cohesion and collaboration that exist in terms of all sectors necessary to keep Lagos state working. Especially at a time when Lagos state government is poised in making sure that we continue to be a 21st century state, a pace setter, a centre of excellence who is a promoter of public interest in terms of economic growth and development. We are pace setters for other states to follow, and we would stop at nothing at the Lagos State House of Assembly to continue to live and rise above every common standard of sustenance.
“So, this conference is coming at a good time when the reports as read out by his Eminence would be taken back to the Hon. Speaker as I cannot give a mandate without getting back to him. So he would know what direction to face, but as a member of the house of assembly, I can only tell you, the little that I know. But just like I always say, according to the book of God in Philippians 4:13, I would do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Also speaking with THISDAY on the importance of the conference to governance, his Eminence, added that “Obedience to God can be like to that of Abraham, which was total submission, sacrificial given, selfless given, and holistic given of self and what goes with it to God. And we saw what he did when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
“So it means offering of self. And if every Nigerians would offer self to God in a holistic manner, there would be no unemployment. Can you believe that, one of our government functionaries they did once, can take him N50 million alone.
“And he has special assistant, personal assistant, special advisers and all others paid by government, and yet, he puts in N50 million to his pocket, do you know that’s what is going on in this country, and accounts for why many youth are not getting job.
“And I am happy with the directives by the president to the federal fiscal allocation committee to cut down on the salaries of the legislative, executive, and judicial arm of government. You have to save money to employ the youth. So many youth are graduates and are underpaid even if they are employed. So apparently, what is causing insecurity is the undoing of those at the helm of affairs. They contribute to insecurity.
“And as Isaac Newton in the study of elementary physics said in the third law of gravitation, ‘action and reaction are always equal and opposite’. So what we are seeing in the country today is a negative reaction from what was caused by the government. If you want to curb these things, let’s return to the level of orders, and share our national cake in a way that each person has a bite, only then would crime end. Lawmakers and others must cut down the cost of governance.”
Also speaking to THISDAY, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Otunba Bolaji Onabadejo said, “We as Knights are officers of the church. In fact, knighthood is the highest reward the conference of Methodist Nigerian can give to anybody, dead or alive.
“When we have been so carefully selected, it very paramount that as leaders in the church, we must be obedient to God’s word, to God’s work, and more importantly, we must see ourselves as treasures before God.”
On the essence of the conference, the Chairman, Methodist Church of Nigeria Council of Knights, Lagos chapter, Dame Prof. Ajesola Majekodunmi said, “The essence of the conference is for all the Methodist Knights in Nigeria, to meet once a year. We are the powerful arm of the church. When we meet, we deliberate on issues and changes that we want in the church. We highlight them, we make communiqué and we send to Prelate for consideration and execution.
“It is all about sacrifice. The theme of the conference is ‘Obedient Knights, God’s Treasure’. The sacrifices we are talking about aren’t only financial sacrifice, but offering yourself for the service of God. Some ways of sacrifice are through giving to the poorer member of the church, those who need scholarship to go to school, and those who need help for treatment. These are the sacrifices we are talking about. So the knights must be at the frontline of these sacrifices.”