EXPRESSIONS Fiction

When You Go to Rome…

I visited a church recently. After the pastor had preached, he threw a question into the congregation.

“Who wants to be prosperous? Who wants to live a good life in Christ?”

I raised my hand. I expected to see more hands up. The man of God repeated the question, yet my hand was the only one still up. I turned round and angrily asked those within an earshot why they were not willing to tap into the unction of the man. I was fuming but my question was replied with blank stares and yawns. But I was not perturbed. My faith was soaring…I wouldn’t let their chicken faith hold my eagle faith down.

“Now that your hands are up, stand up. We are about to do a little spiritual exercise.”

At this point, I was a bit skeptical. About 200 people were behind me; I was in the very first row. Na sɛ mesɔre na meyɛ yawa ɛɛ? I brushed the defeatist thought away and stood up boldly.

“Now that you’re up, give the Lord fifty Ghana cedis to seal the victory.”

Jesus is Lord! I knew it! I turned round to see if anybody else was standing, aside me. Nobody was. Even the ushers had connived to betray me…they were all seated and were obviously enjoying the disgrace that was unfolding in my life.

When I made no move to give him the money he requested, he brought the bargain down progressively from 50 to 40, then to 20, then 10 cedis.

With each decrease, about 20 milliliters of sweat broke unto my skin surface and my blue shirt soon got drenched in the sweat of shame. The pretty girl I had been admiring asked if I was ok. I wanted to die!

By the time the man got to 5 cedis, the look on his face was an amalgamation of disappointment, scorn and anger. Then he spat out, “Bring whatever you have on you.”

I took the walk of shame to the front of the church and handed him the seventy pesewas I had reserved for my trotro fare back home.

“Ah abranteɛ! Seven taazen? Massa, na dɔkono koraa aa nkyenam ɛnka ho koraa, yɛtɔn ne sɛn?” (Gentleman, only seventy pesewas? How much does even a ball of kenkey cost?)

The laughter that broke out in the auditorium was nothing short of raucous. I tried to explain to him that my salary had been delayed for about nine months, which was why I was broke and needed a miracle from Jesus but the man would have none of it. Finally, he said a half hearted prayer for me.

I took the walk of shame back to my seat, and with each step I took, I wished The Rapture would occur that very moment  but it did not happen and my next fear was how he would use me as a case study on why Christians expect great things from God when they were not willing to give to God.

When service ended, I walked out of the church, took the long walk home on foot and vowed never to go back there. I had learnt my lesson….. When you go to Rome.

WRITER- KOSSI AKPLAH-threesixty writer/contributor.

IMAGE -Google

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