I honoured an invitation three weeks ago and was chauffered by my host to the venue a little behind schedule. But already, I had asked my team to go to the venue and wait for me.
While they were there at the venue, they held a brief unscheduled meeting with themselves and reached a decision on what they think would be best for me.
So immediately I arrived, the team leader (name withheld), I know he is reading this, whispered to me, “Oga, we need to talk o.”
“About what?” I retorted.
“Oga, you don big pass some places,” That’s what he said.
“Wow!” I snapped and I asked him, “Why?”
“Oga, you don pass this level,” He reiterated.
Honestly, at this point, I didn’t know what next to say.
I was enraged by his statement. It felt like an affront on our spiritual values. This guy has worked with me for several years now and has performed on stage with me for presidents and at ‘A’ rated events — churches and corporate organizations.
That was why he disparaged this very church and felt that we are more than its settings.
Immediately I was done ministering, I couldn’t wait to to gather the team for a big “sermon on the mountain” — in other words, to scourge them of the pride in their resolution.
However, you needed to see how grateful that pastor was that we stepped into his church. You could see it in his eyes and his expression. For the next one week and beyond, he kept calling to thank me. He wished he had more to appreciate us.
Am just wondering. Waite o! How do u become so big and even bigger than some people who carry in them the God that lifted you?
Gospel artistes, why are you so proud? So some Christians are too small for your level? If you believe that they have the Spirit of God, why do you still think that you are bigger than someone who has the same Spirit that inspires your songs?
Ask those who have worked with me for at least twenty years, e.g Onyema Amadi, who is now a big boy — I do not discriminate when it comes to where to minister, as to the size or influence of the host.
Anyone that can meet the basic requirements for my logistics can invite me. I relate with everyone at their level. Although, there’s a caveat to my simplicity, which is, humility is not synonymous with stupidity. You cannot be at level ten and want us to relate at level one. If your level is one, I will relate with you at that level. But if it is ten, I will not relate with you at level one.
My problem with some Gospel artistes is, how did you suddenly became bigger than friends, brothers and all those who saw you grow? ‘Star mentality’ is a big problem. So because of that your ‘one single’ that is blessing some people, you now want to tell off everyone?
Why should we even have star mentality as Gospel artistes? Most Gospel artistes move like peacocks because they consider themselves as stars. But listen: No Gospel artiste is a star. We are all followers of the Bright and the Morning Star.
As a music evangelist, pastor or preacher, why should stardom make you unreachable to those you are called to reach? You no longer respond to phone calls when you are contacted. You have followers on social media but you consider them too small to relate with. You ignore even those you are called to edify and encourage.
So what is the focus of your calling? You are invited to a place to minister, after ministering, you walked out arrogantly. You no longer have the time for others to minister to you. It’s a pity!
You deliberately come late for ministration because you want everyone to be seated before your arrival so you can be specially received amidst shouts and applause. Who bewitched you? Is that how to represent Christ?
You behave like a rich boy because you now have one or two miserable four wheels and possibly a little house of your own. Have you seen the rich people in Nigeria? Do you know what it truly means to be rich in Nigeria? Story for another day.
Ninety nine percent of Gospel artistes in Nigeria are poor people. Quote me anywhere. Name one rich gospel artiste and I will tell you his/her level.
I have said this severally: secular musicians are not our standard. We cannot model our ministry and profession after secular artistes. Our destinations are not the same. We should not be influenced by their lifestyles and standard. So stop copying the same people that we have been called to evangelize through our songs. Stop importing worldly values into Christianity.
If God has blessed you and lifted you from a certain level, be grateful and conduct your life with humility. There is always a level higher than where you think you are now.
Papa Asu Ekiye