By: Dr. Frederick France
The strength of every lasting structure is traceable to its foundation. Whatever has to be built must inevitably begin with a foundation, and personal responsibility is the requirement for building what is solely yours. Jesus said, “I will build my church…” In other words, I take personal responsibility in building what is mine.
This understanding is what has escaped nation-builders in Africa. As long as we rely on expatriates to help us build our nations, we will continue to remain tied to their apron, and our best will always be their “left overs”. It is high time true Christians in Africa sounded an alarm to our leaders that our trust should not be in men but in God. Jeremiah 17:5 says “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD”. We do not need expatriates to help us build our nation, we need ‘ourselves’ and God. Hebrews 3:4 says “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God”. Meaning, all that a people need to build their lives or nation is their personal effort plus God’s grace. Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians 3:10. He says: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon”. What foundation was Paul talking about? The next verse clarifies it: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. When the true God becomes a nation’s foundation, that nation will definitely excel.
Nothing can be most frustrating than for a builder to continue to build on a wrong foundation unknowingly. Psalm 11:3 says “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” This scripture points to two important veracities. (1) Faulty foundation frustrates even the expert builder. (2) The righteous is the one who builds.Obviously, these essential points have been less considered by our nation-builders. Righteousness is what builds nations and not necessarily expatriates. Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”. Righteousness is what deletes from nations all the counterproductive activities which retard their progress. That is what we should focus on as a nation. Every other thing must be secondary.
Permit me to paraphrase Psalm 11:3 to analyze what I am trying to say: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” This could also read: (1) “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the ‘expert builder do’?”(2) “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the talented do?”(3) “If the foundations be destroyed what can the economists do?” (4) “If the foundations be destroyed, what can technologists do?” Et cetera. Do we not have knowledgeable and talented Ghanaians? Do we not have adequate resources in this nation? How come we keep struggling with the building of our nation? Wrong foundation!
COAT OF ARMS.
Have we even taken the trouble to be sure of what foundation we are building our nation upon? What is our Coat of Arms? “Freedom and Justice”! The question is: From whom do we want freedom? Our colonial masters? From whom do we demand justice? Our oppressors? When we say justice, what we are saying is, we should be treated fairly. Is it not so?, what then is our foundation? : “Begging our oppressors(the colonial masters) to treat us fairly”! How can you build a nation on such a foundation? If you think my observation is false, then listen to the final part of our national anthem: “And help us to resist oppressors rule with all our will and might forevermore!” Is that what we should use “all our will and might” to do? Resist oppressors rule?
This is where we missed it. We allowed our emotions to decide our focus rather than the creator’s manual (God’s Word). Mark 12:29-31 shows us what we are created to use all our will and might on. It says. “…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”. Love for God and humanity is what we are created to use all our will and might on! “Thou shall love thine neighbor as thyself” also means“Thou shall hate thine neighbor as thyself”; “Thou shall defraud thy neighbor as thyself” et cetera. If this understanding is enforced into our educational system, it will expunge corruption in our nation. For if you cannot defraud yourself, then must you not defraud your neighbor,let alone,your nation. Defrauding your nation means defrauding yourself.
LOVE FOR GOD AND HUMANITY
Love for God and humanity should be our Coat of Arms not “Freedom and Justice”. Have we not finally gotten ‘our’ freedom and justice from our oppressors? What are we using that to do? Oppress each other?And why not?What occupies a man’s mind is what he does! “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”(Proverb 23:7).We think oppression so we do oppression! Our politics is targeted at fighting and oppressing each other because we have oppression mentality! In the Scriptures, a certain debtor was freed from his debt by his master. When he got his freedom, what did he used it for? Drag his fellow servant to prison (Matthew 18:23-30). Is this not similar to our case? We are no longer under colonial oppression but now we oppress each other because oppression is what we have chosen to focus on and not love for God and humanity.
America is a celebrated nation on the globe. What is her Coat of Arms? “In God We Trust”. That is scripture from the creator’s manual! Psalm 125:1 “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever”. Why will that nation not become great? Contemporary Americans may have lost their bearings but the fact still remains that their foundation is helping them. The builders of America were Christians who escaped Jewish and Roman persecution to settle in that land. Why did they not say “freedom from persecution”? Their focus was not on man’s attack but on God’s grace, so they said “in God we trust”.They did not say “in politics we trust” or “in technology we trust?”They said in God we trust because God is the only sure foundation for success in life! Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God…”!He is the ultimate foundation! Most Africans refer to culture as their foundation!Culture is not your foundation; the creator is! Practice is not our foundation; a person is! His name is Jesus! “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” This is the foundation we missed! Love for Jesus and for one another (John 13:34-35). – To be continued.