Monday 23 January 2017
A MAN OF FIVE LIVES
It was a typical evening in Benin City; opulent streets illuminated and livened by the light and sound of revelry. Cars, with lit headlamps wheezed within spurs of ease in the traffic. I engaged my eyes with every action, from the clumsy and insipid to the frantic and vivacious; it had been a very emotional weekend and I was trying to distract myself from a heartbreak, though not in every sense of the word.
Paaaaaaah! Gbaam!! The fall of a young man (a ruffian by every visible detail) who was trying to leap unto the carriage of a moving pickup van interrupted everything. There was a clatter in the bus in which I journeyed, almost everyone had something to say about that hilarious attempt at bravery. But in all, a comment wrenched my thoughts into an entirely new channel, and of this I write tonight.
A young man had, in adding to the amusement, asked rhetorically what it would look like if we each had five lives, and expended each in a lifetime till all five were finished, just like in video games where you keep playing until you have lost all your 'lives', and then the GAME OVER. I now stretch the scene, imagine you had the capacity to live five times on this earth at the end of which God's judgement would consider only the details of the last lifetime, the simple question is what would be your values during the first four lifetimes? I imagine I might choose to pursue money through legal or illegal means, chase after girls endlessly, cut corners, rob a bank when I felt like, get high on drugs, be a rap artist, a gangster, be a football agent, try my hands on kickboxing, and retire to the casino every evening during the first four lives; who cares if I sinned when there would be no judgement for the four lives. But on the day I show up for the fifth life I would certainly surrender to God, and lead the rest of the fifth life in the fear of God.
But, back to reality, truth is our lives have always been one bar, and there is no recharging of batteries when it's battery empty. Imagining what we'd do with a fictional four unaccountable lives might not do much but it would help us assay the sincerity of our hearts or motives in the values we hold in this only life (after which there is a judgement). The life you and I lead today would we lead the same if there was no judgement, no hell, no heaven, no reward and no punishment? If Christ, for example, would we find him worthy enough a cause to pursue in the first four 'bonus' lifetimes, where no judgement awaited us? If holiness, if purity, if integrity, if discipline, would we find them worthy enough causes to pursue if God didn't care, if there was no present or eternal consequence? If there was no present or eternal consequence of sin, how many of us would still not sin.
Think about this.