Hawking is a commonplace on the streets of Nigeria. It serve as a means of livelihood especially among the low-income level citizens. It is the desire of every hawker to sell all his goods as soon as possible. He moves round the street with the hope of reducing the heavy load on his head. I’ve been there before. I still remember how I go about the street selling palmoil in bottles. I want to get the damn red thing off my head in the shortest possible time especially because I don’t want my “wives” in school to see me. Lols!
But my concern today is about the many hawkers in our streets with lousy advertisement who claim not to be selling. How is this possible? How can you be hawking without selling? Why advertise what you are not ready to let go. I’m so sure you came across so many of them today. They are not selling bread neither are they selling oranges. They don’t hawk clothes or shoes. You wonder what they hawk? Their bodies!
You definately know about those who sell their bodies. They are found in the brothels, hotels and red spots. We are not suprised when we see them. We know they are hawking because they want to sell. Infact, some fight for customers. But what shall we say about these barrage of body hawkers on our streets and campuses who claim not to be selling? How can you be hawking without selling? What do you want to achieve? What if you come across a consumer who is in dire need of what you’re flaunting all around? Will you say you are only hawking?
Unfortunately, many of these body hawkers have been victims of hungry consumers. Most incidence of rape is a case of one who wants to die meeting the one who wants to kill. While we condemn rape, we should also remember that rape most times is a reaction to an action; a chemical reaction catalysed by pounds of flesh being fragrantly displayed. Worst still is the fact that, more rape goes on in the hearts of men than those in act. I wonder how many men have slept with you without your consent. Like Jezebel, God’ll definately judge you for seducing men to commit fornication with you in their hearts.
They are not just hawkers; they are hawks with long and sharp claws waiting to pierce through the soul of men at the slightest opportunity. You will never remain the same. It will cost you your very life.
“Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”
I fear men who claim to be “dead to sin.” They are so anointed and Holy Spirit filled they could watch anything. They could touch anything in the name of conducting deliverance for ladies. They seems to have forgotten the Holy Writ which commands “Flee also youthful lusts.” Flee it says. Don’t even try to resist it. Flee!!! I’ve had to literary turn my eyes and plead the blood on my heart on meeting a lady “with the attire of a harlot” in the cab. If the dress is not skimpy, its scanty. If its not skinny, its a see-through. The ladies of my generation do not know the demacation between beauty and nudity. They have lost a sense of courtesy and right judgement. The cliché is now, the tighter, the better or the shorter, the smarter. Like Dinah, they want to see and belong with the daughters of the land. Daughters of Zion also want to be sexy. What a strange language! No wonder, many have been deflowered before the wedding night.
I am not an advocate of shabiness as you may be thinking. I am only asking you to save us of your curves and cleavages. Your butt and boob should be the exclusive reserve of your husband. Don’t hawk what you won’t sell. Only God looks on the heart, men still look on the outward appearance. Stop this advert! Stop increasing the temperature and the blood pressure of men. Stop distracting men in the name of attracting them.
You should be your brother’s keeper. Hear what someone said, “if food is a cause of trouble to my brother, I will give up taking meat for ever, so that I may not be a cause of trouble to my brother” (1 Cor 8:13). Why will you be a cause of trouble to your brother by your dressing? Matthew 18:6 says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Your body is God’s temple; His vehicle that carries Him around for divine assignment. You have been bought with a price, you should glorify God in your body which is the Lord’s. You are not a sex machine. You are not an object to be flaunted. Every valuable gift is properly wrapped only to be unwrapped after it has been presented. You don’t want the receiver to know what’s inside. You want to put him in suspence. If you are a valuable gift, you should always dress in the best “wrapper” only to be unwrapped by your husband on your wedding night. Keep him in suspence. Give him something to look forward to.
I want to tell you four things that should give you a dress sense;
THE SCRIPTURE: There is a Scriptural standard for dressing. For example, 1 Peter 3:3-5 says,
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful…”
In addition, 1Timothy 2:9-10 says, “I also want the women to be modest and sensible about their clothes and to dress properly; not with fancy hair styles or with gold ornaments or pearls or expensive dresses, but with good deeds, as is proper for women who claim to be religious.”
I believe these Scriptures talk about abuse not disuse unlike many have interpreted. It’s talking about the attitude that should guide your dressing – simplicity and modesty! You should be sensible and dress properly. It’s talking about what your priority should be as a woman – your inner beauty. It says outward adornment should not be the source of your beauty but a supplement to it. What is the use of a lady using the most expensive perfume with a stinking character? Who cares about the light skinned home coming queen who lacks courtesy? Why spend money on gold, hairdos and clothes for beauty when your heart is not beautiful? Real men are not looking for charm but character. This is the Scriptural standard!
“Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all (including your dressing) to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 emphasis mine).
YOUR FUTURE: You should dress with your future in view. When Joseph’s brother saw him afar off, they saw a man with a dream; his cloth of many colours distinguished him. He had a colourful future. The way you dress can give men a glimpse into your future. Virtually every young girl I knew, when I was young, who gives too much attention to her appearance did not mean much eventually. Someone of them got pragnant before they got married; others ended up as mere mediocres with many secret wounds. You cannot hope to be the next first lady and be flaunting your boobs and butts; that’s a porn star in the making. There was a clear prescription as to how the priests must dress in the Scriptures, you can easily recognise them just by the way they dress. We know a nurse, a lawyer, policeman, an athlete, a banker, etc by the way they dress. Let people begin to guess your future by your dressing. Dress for your future!
OUR CULTURE: Although there are occasional excesses in our different cultures however there are excellent standards for dressing that is in complete consonance with the Scripture. Our culture, especially as Africans, condemns nudity, seduction and extravagancy in dressing. My mother taught my sisters how to tie their “iro” in such a way that it can stay on their bodies for a long time. She taught them how to sit with their kness covered. Their undies was not meant for men to see. Today we see undies everyday except you are not sincere. It’s become the norm! But you don’t have to be easily adapted to what is in vogue; you are not a rogue.
THENATURE: Anatomically, men are different from women just as they are in many other ways. That’s the natural design! Men come mostly in figure 1, everything is simply straight. Women however comes in different shapes and sizes, sometimes its figure 8, 3, 6 or 9. God made them male and female. They are significantly different. This difference automatically brings a difference to how a man dresses to how a woman will. I have found that almost every part of a woman’s body is electrifying i.e. sensitive. When she exposes too much flesh or displays her shape, the electromagnetic fields in the opposite sex will be activated. This implies that a woman cannot dress the way a man will do. They are different! Paul speaking concerning this difference said, “Doth not even nature itself teach you…” (1 Corinthians 11:14 KJV). This is the question God is asking every female today. The Amplified version says, “Does not the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you…” Lady, you cannot open your chest the way a man will do; you cannot sit down the way a man will do. Nature should teach you! Its common sense! Stop insulting our sensibility! Stop trying to alter nature. You are different “or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (2 Corinthians 6:19-20 MSG).
Recently, a number of questions have been bothering my mind. I have been thinking about the essence of this life. What is it that gives substance, value or meaning to life? What parameters define the life of man? What are the components of a quality life?
I am still a youth and it is my hope to live a meaningful life. I want to be part of those whose life can be reckoned with on the earth. I want to be a force in my field and a voice in my generation. I want to defy all odds and be the best I could. I want to break the barriers of mediocrity and poverty to get to the peak.
In my quest, men and women who are making waves in my world began to trickle into my mind. I remember Lionel Messi and Cristiano Renaldo they have been the world best in football. I also remember Bill Gates; he’s been acclaimed to be the world’s richest. Barack Obama is the first black president of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States of America.
Coming home to my own country, I remember the current Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote; Wole Soyinka, the African to be honoured with Nobel Lauret; Agbani Darego, the 2001 Miss World and Folorunsho Alakija, the acclaimed richest black women on the planet. Time and space will not permit me to mention many more that have made a mark on the earth.
Thinking about these people and how they rose from grass to grace, I gained momentum and was inspired to be the best possible. Then I began to gather myself along the line that my life can only be meaningful if I am the most beautiful or the most famous. I must be the best, the wealthiest, the fastest or the richest if my life will make any difference. I inferred that life is defined by having something so much in abundance than every other person and so far ahead of them.
But just before my conclusion, the words of one of the world’s renowned hit me like rocks. In his days, he was the world’s wealthiest and wisest. He was also the most famous. He was so rich such that his street was made with silver. He set records on the earth that are difficult to break.
Apart from these, he remains the only man who married the largest number of wives and had the highest number of concubines. His passion for acquiring so much was to “find out what was best for us during the short time we have on this earth” (Ecclesiastes 2:3CEV). He wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. He wanted to know what gives meaning or value to life. He was looking for purpose in all his experiments and expeditions.
These were his adventures in his own words, “I did some great things. I built houses and planted vineyards. I had flower gardens and orchards full of fruit trees. And I had pools where I could get water for the trees. I owned slaves, and their sons and daughters became my slaves. I had more sheep and goats than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem. Foreign rulers brought me silver, gold, and precious treasures. Men and women sang for me, and I had many wives who gave me great pleasure. I was the most famous person who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and I was very wise. I got whatever I wanted and did whatever made me happy. But most of all, I enjoyed my work.”
Despite all that Solomon got, he wasn’t fulfilled. There remained a vacuum in his heart. Everything he got through his enterprise seemed not to add value to his life. Therefore he concluded, “… I looked on all that my hands had done and the labor I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it, and there was no profit under the sun.”
He didn’t find fulfillment in being the world’s richest, the most famous and the one who had the highest number of wives. He felt empty after all and I was personally disappointed. I also became weak. I lost my fervor and passion for all my ambition. I told myself, “You do not need to learn by experience since Solomon already told you. All is vanity!”
But meanwhile I knew I’ve not yet come to the peak of my curiosity.
If being the wealthiest, the most famous or the most beautiful do not add value to life, what then makes life meaningful? What is/are the constituent(s) of a fulfilled life? It was at this point that one of the enigmatic statements of my Lord flashed into my mind.
He warned, “Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs (AMP).
Even though at first I couldn’t find what consist a man’s life, I was however able to deduce what it does not consist in. If I know what life does not consist in, it might guide me to know what makes up a life. Jesus didn’t say we shouldn’t have possessions, what he said was a man’s life is not defined, derived or measured by it.
Consequently, the life of a man and his possessions are mutually exclusive. There is no connection or intersection between a man’s life and what he has. The statement of Jesus can be represented as follows; if the life of a man is represented by L and his possession by p. Jesus said, p Ɇ L (i.e. A man’s possession, p is not an element of his life, L). Your life is not a derivative of your possession.
Now, Jesus told me what life is not made up of but I have not been able to clearly highlight what defines the life of a man. So I thought that if the life of a man consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses then the life of a man consists in the abundance of the things he does not possess. He has possessions but he is not possessed by them.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong in having possessions. What’s bad is being possessed by what we ought to possess. It’s this attitude that Jesus warned us against when He said, “Beware of avarice!”
Our lives become valuable and meaningful when we learn not to be driven by getting but by giving. We are not acquiring to store but to invest. We see our harvests as seeds to be sown, not fruits to be eaten. I later discovered that my thoughts align with that of Jesus.
In the verses that followed Luke 12:15, Jesus told the parable of the rich fool whose land brought forth a lot of harvest instead of reinvesting, he thought of storing. His plan was to break down his barn and build a bigger one where he could store his goods.
Unfortunately, his soul was required from him that same night. Then a question followed, “Who then will be the owner of all the things which you have got together?”Friends, unless we invest the resources that God has given to us in the form of time, energy, money, influence and opportunities, they will rot and add no value to our lives. We live when we invest what we get.
Unfortunately, the world is driven by how much you can get above others but Jesus brought a paradigm shift to the definition of what it means to live a meaningful life.
Instead of living to get something, He said,” What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. “Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”(Luke 12:29-34MSG).
Someone might say but the world also gives. Truth! They give so they can get. They deal in profit and loss. Moreover, God’s kind of giving is different from world’s kind of giving. You can’t understand God’s kind of giving except you understand God’s gift. You can’t understand God’s gift until you have received it. God is a giver. He gives generously to all without finding fault. He is the epitome of true giving.
While we were yet sinners, He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. “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.” (John 3:16 KJV). He didn’t feel like giving because of our sins yet He gave.
Today millions of other sons and daughters have been brought to glory. After over two thousand years, His life continues to give life to several lives. He died so others can live. He became poor so that through His poverty, we might become rich.
We can’t understand giving except in Him. Jesus had requested a drink from the woman of Samaria at Sychar but the woman refused to give Him. Jesus replied, “If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 AMP). The woman didn’t know nor recognize God’s gift and so she couldn’t give.
Only in Christ can we find a life that gives and only in Him can we find a meaningful life. After the woman understood God’s gift, she became a giver. She became the channel through which the Samaritans will see light.
May I ask you friend, what are you living for? What informs all your actions and inactions? Why are you looking for greener pastures, higher degrees and better life? Is it a desire to give to your world or to get something out of it? Why do you want to travel out? I just hope you are not travelling out of God’s jurisdiction for your life. Being in UK doesn’t mean you are ok. You can be in the US and not be useful. You can be abroad and not have a broad life.
There is nothing bad in travelling the world if it will facilitate God’s purpose for your life. I also want to but what I’m trying to say is life is not defined by those. Success is not in properties and places but in the fulfillment of God’s purposes. It’s living out the contents of our destinies. You are here not to get but to give something to your world. You are here to donate you gifts, time, energy, resources, and talents to make this place better for the glory of God.
The life of a man consists not in the abundance of what he can get but in the abundance of what he has to give to his world. May we deliver to our world what He sent us to give. May our eyes be opened today to needs around us and may we be inspired to fill these gaps and meet these needs. May we not just count our lives but rather may our lives count for the glory of God and the blessing of humanity. Amen!