(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Most Rev. Friday Imaekhai, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Esan has pinpointed the value system as the reason for man’s feeling of self-sufficiency. He explained that anyone who recognizes the place of material possessions such as money, cars, houses, etc. will not use these things as the basis to measure their life’s success. Archbishop Imaekhai pointed this out during the sermon, which he delivered at the thanksgiving service to mark the end of the third session of the ninth synod of the Abuja Anglican diocese. He said that a person’s value system defines one’s concepts and determines one’s attitude. Therefore, he said that the right value system is essential for one to have a proper attitude towards God and humanity.
Speaking on the synod theme, “Poverty of Riches” as got from Revelation 3:17, the guest preacher pointed out that the passage was written to call to order the people of Laodicea who were so preoccupied with their wealth and physical possessions that they felt that they did not need God or the help of anyone else. The Bishop explained that the people of Laodicea felt so self-sufficient that they eventually brought this attitude into the Church. Thus, he said that it has become common place to measure the Church of God and His ministers based on their financial worth and that people have become so attached to worldly possessions that they have driven God out of their lives. He clarified that the issue was not about being wealthy or having money, but having an attitude that depicts that “money is everything.” He said that this kind of attitude creates a barrier for a life of reliance on God, and further leads to the neglect of biblical values and genuine service to mankind.
Archbishop Imaekhai quoted profusely from the scriptures highlighting that the people of Laodicea did not realize that the things they priced the most did not matter to heaven. Hence, they appraised themselves wrongly, which according to him is a great calamity that prevents progress. Therefore, he prayed that God would help His people to assess themselves correctly to avoid regrets. The Cleric opined that what led the people to evaluate themselves wrongly was the fact that they judged themselves based on human standards, which is often in contrast with that of God. He stated that the people of Laodicea described themselves as rich, wealthy and having no need for anything, whereas God described them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Thus, the Bishop enjoined all to ask God, who is the only faithful and true witness to evaluate their lives and give them genuine assessment of who they are.
The Bishop of Esan Anglican diocese charged the Clergy to be even more vigilant and not get carried away by the positions they occupy in the house of God, to avoid getting too familiar with God and leading other people astray. He noted that many men of God have become too familiar with God to the point that their vision was now blurred and thus, the Church appears blind. Archbishop Friday Imaekhai concluded his sermon with a charge to Christians to find true riches in Christ, instead of centering their lives on comfort and luxury. He said that those who want to be faithful to God must not allow material things to lure them into a false sense of security. Therefore, he encouraged believers to vigilantly maintain their spiritual eye-sight and allow themselves to be led by God’s Holy Spirit.