Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), on Sunday challenged Ghanaians to dedicate their lives to building a better future.
Speaking at a thanksgiving gathering of ICGC at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra to mark the church's 25th anniversary, Dr. Otabil said life would be less strenuous for future generations if today's generation would challenge themselves to make a difference in the future by planting seeds that would bear lasting fruits.
The celebration saw thousands of members of the church from across the country in attendance, and was also carried live on Joy 99.7 FM.
Dwelling on the theme; Generational Thinking, which he said is an attitude Ghanaians need to develop in order to harness opportunities of the future, he explained that “A generational thinker is one who is able to sew seeds for the future. A generational thinker is not somebody who is only committed to what he wants to enjoy today but somebody who says if 'I run with this race, I must make sure the next generation does not run my race, the next generation must run its own race, I must empower the next generation'”.
The generational thinker, he said, thinks beyond his personal needs. Such people don't run for themselves alone, but they run so that the next generation may run better.
Dr. Mensah Otabil said Africa, as a people, appear to be slow in progress because generations after generations have failed to run even their own races, let alone help succeeding generations.
If we are going to take charge of the future, we have to be generational thinkers. That means therefore everything that you do, you have to think of the person who is coming after you and make sure the person coming after you, will not be worse off but will be better than you are.|Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil
Borrowing from an analogy in describing why Africa doesn't seem to be making progress, he said “It's like running a relay race - there are four people to complete the race. The first person starts with the baton and starts the first leg of the race. If that team that the person is part of must complete the course, the baton must be passed on successfully from one generation to the other to the other to the other.
“But in our part of the world, it seems as if we don't pass on the baton, so one generation starts with the baton, it starts running and running and running, very hard, but somewhere in the middle, it drops the baton and keeps running without the baton because the baton is what authorizes the next person to run. So you get to the next person but you didn't pass on the baton, so the next person starts his race but in order to run his race, he has to go back and pick the baton that was dropped and then start half-way of the previous generation's race in order to run his race. By the time he gets to start his race, the people he was on the line with have gone way ahead of him. He also runs somewhere, and drops the baton, so the next generation has to come back…”
He said by the time the African gets to run his own race, “he is an old man” and tired.
“By the time he starts to run his own race, everybody who started with him has completed, the stadium is empty but he is still running. That is our tragedy as Africa. That is why a person grows to be about forty years before he buys his first car. A person lives to be about 65 years before he builds his first house, sometimes 70 years before he lives in is own house, by the time he is ready to live in his own house, life has battered him so much he moves into his own house and dies. Why? Because he has been running a race that is not for him.”
Central Education Trust
Referring to the famous and time honoured cocoa farmer, Tetteh Quarshie, who he described as a great generational thinker, Dr. Otabil said his vision and desire to build a better future led him to start his cocoa farming, leading eventually to Ghana's first export of two bags of cocoa to become the world's largest exporter.
“If we are going to take charge of the future, we have to be generational thinkers. That means, therefore, everything that you do, you have to think of the person who is coming after you and make sure the person coming after you, will not be worse off but will be better than you are.”
He urged Christians to live their lives committed to the gospel of Christ, live not only for themselves, plans for at least four generations ahead, and transform both their lives and those of all others in order to possess a great future.
The church launched an educational project, the Central Education Trust, to build senior high schools in each district of the country.
The project was launched by the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, who lauded Dr. Otabil's vision and the church's drive, asserting that if all Ghanaians would buy into the exhortations, poverty should not be a barrier to learning.
Story and photos by Isaac Yeboah