I was in the Volta Region in February 2019 to do academic fieldwork, and the host family l stayed with gave me the Ewe theophoric name, Nunana. Nunana, accordingly, means a gift from God. In my over three decades of existence, I see my life as simply a gift of the Triune God. I consider everything I owe to the Lord. This philosophical predilection bleeds into how l find joy in helping those God enables me to help. In my own thinking, l see that life is well lived when we offer undiluted adulation and service to God and humanity.
Since the nineteenth century, scholars have split hairs in their attempts to define religion. Added to this difficulty, human predicament is blamed on religion. In the process, everything religion is repulsive to some people. God is not just a moral monster, but a killjoy.
In the face of the vituperation against religion, l take the definition of religion given to us by the Apostle James. Apostle James wrote that religion is service to God and to humankind. Serving God appears easy because we could be very superficial about it. But service to humankind is a difficult task. This is because, to serve humankind, we need to sacrifice our negative self-centeredness.
Consequently, James said religion is being impartial, supporting the needy, orphans, and widows. In sum, religion is showing sympathy to those on the fringes of life. Jesus Christ encapsulated this as, Love the Lord God and love your neighbor.
Sadly, our world thrives on how much we have acquired. We are respected on the basis of what we have, not who we are. It is this identity crisis that feeds unbridled western capitalism. Western capitalism has blended well with African capitalism. In the end, people take joy in investing in banks and other financial institutions, rather than investing in human beings.
Throughout my life, it has always been my prayer to invest in human beings rather than inanimate beings. If you have the knowledge, freely share; if you have the gift of healing, freely share; if you have the gift of money, freely share. Share whatever you have free of charge because you had them free from the Lord. Even if you are tempted to think you worked for what you have, know that it is God who gave you life - the ultimate resource - to acquire what you have.
The Bible tells us that life rests on three linchpins - faith, hope, and love. But we are told the greatest is love. The reason for the supremacy of love is that when we have ten oranges and we share with nine persons, we will be left with one. But when we show love to nine persons, we most likely get nine in return! We increase when we give love. God saved us because of love, and also because God ontologically is love.
As you go through life, suspend capitalist thinking, and invest in human beings, for we are because of other human beings. This is a lesson to all of us.
To my Ewe family in the Volta Region, thanks for giving me the name 'Nunana'. Edinam Gnofame, akpe and God bless you.
BY Charles Prempeh
African University College of Communications, Accra.
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