Books & Blogs from Adrian Hawkes Blog
Leadership and the cost – in time and space
It seems to me that there is a great gulf in our understanding of Biblical style leadership. In many ways those of us who think of ourselves as follower of Jesus are more often than not influenced by Greek thinking and philosophy than we are by Judeo-Christian thinking and influence. What is worse is that we think that the Greek way of thinking and its philosophy is actually Judeo-Christian and it isn’t!
We are talking at this time about leadership, and the whole Judeo-Christian Greek thing is another issue, but I have mentioned it now because of the way that Jesus led and I contrast that with what is often perceived when we lead
ing in today’s world. What we tend to do is preach, or perhaps we would use the words teach or even lecture. Usually that takes place from the front of some building and what is really happening is information is being passed from someone’s brain though their vocal cords out of their mouth and into, they hope, their listener’s ears. This then is regarded as leading, and of course it is, but actually it’s a Greek style of leadership.
In contrast the Judeo-Christian style of leadership is much more involved, and we see it very clearly in the servant leadership style of Jesus. From out of his many disciples he choose twelve of them, then said ‘follow me’, and for three years they followed him, or if you like followed His leadership. That ‘following’ is very involved, for Jesus and for the disciples; they are living together, walking together, eating together, watching what Jesus does, sometimes helping him do it, like distributing baskets of bread and fish, and then sometimes Jesus will say ‘off you go and do it by yourself’, and then when they hit problems, they go back to Jesus and say, ‘we can’t seem to do this, please help’. Jesus also regularly spends time in what perhaps we would now call a tutorial group, talking to them and answering some of their questions, often to our modern frustration, with new questions. Yes, Jesus occasionally preaches, but actually that is quite rare, most of the time he is walking, talking, doing and showing.
Here is a couple of my stories to illustrate what I’m talking about; some years ago one of our leaders said to me ‘why does so and so do what you ask them to do, but they often don’t when I ask them, and yet I am a leader just like you’. I didn’t go into detail about leadership but responded, ‘well actually they lived in my house for two years, I saw them every day, they had breakfast with me almost every morning, they came home at night and I was there, in fact I was probably with them more than they were with anyone else so perhaps my life input to them has influenced them strongly and they are therefore willing to help me, or to do what I ask’. The leader replied, ‘Oh but I don’t want other people living in my house and to be involved with them to that extent.’ To which I replied, ‘well then you don’t get the response from them that I do, which is how it works!’
The second story happened some years ago, a young lady came to me and said, ‘this is my brother’, I said, ‘Hi,’ and then she said, ‘I want to give him to you.’ I looked a little surprised and said as polity as possible, ‘that’s fine but thank you I don’t want him.’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘you don’t understand he has been to a Christian camp and he has become a Christian.’ I said, ‘I think that is great, fantastic!’ ‘No, no!’ she said again, ‘you still don’t understand, that happened to him last year and the year before and the year before that, and two weeks after he gets home he is a bad as ever, I know that because I am his sister.’ By now I was very curious and said, ‘so what do you want me to do?’, she told me, ‘I want you to look after him and take him with you wherever you go. ‘
And so I did, much to the disgust of my girl friend at the time, because every time we went out the guy was in tow, it was a pain, but I did try to share with him what little bit I knew, and so wherever I went he went too. And just in case you’re wondering, he isn’t following me around anymore but he is still a strong follower of Jesus, and leading others.
Now what I am trying to say, and hoping you get it, is that this kind of Judeo-Christian leadership has at its heart the servant lifestyle to start with, but also it is quite costly, costly personally I mean, for it will take our time, our commitment, and to have people us a lot can sometimes be a real pressure. What you are really giving to the people that you are leading is, in fact, your life. When you think about it the person we so often claim to be following did just that, gave us his life, that we might live, and lead others. Do you want to be a leader? Can you give your life?
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Editor A Brookes
Leadership 5 – Investment into People
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One day, a little boy was being driven by his Mother along a motorway. In front of them was a large lorry filled with rubbish, it was obviously not going very far as lying spread-eagled across the tarpaulin sheet used to cover the rubbish, was a man. At a guess he was doing this to save the time and trouble it would have taken to rope the tarpaulin to the sides of the lorry, instead the man lay on top of it to stop it from flying away as they drove along.
The little boy studied the lorry and the man spread out on top of the rubbish, he was puzzled by the almost lifeless form of the driver’s mate, suddenly a gust of wind lifted one corner of the tarpaulin causing the man to react quickly to bring the large sail under control by throwing his arm over the offending, flapping corner. The little boy turned to his Mum and said in a horrified voice, ‘look mummy, somebody has thrown away a perfectly good man!’
Leaders must never throw away perfectly good people. Scripture reports that Jesus said, ‘I will not quench a smoking flax nor break a bruised reed.’ What exactly does that mean? I reckon it means that Jesus will not put on one side even the weakest or most damaged person, rather he will use them; they too are leadership material.
Sadly many are tempted to throw people away because they’re not clever enough or too clever by half, the wrong colour, the wrong culture, funny, silly awkward or just plain weird.
Leaders work with people and need to get them motivated, activated, committed and following us because we are following Jesus and of course helping them to develop into leaders themselves. If we, even in our thoughts, dismiss people, mentally throw them away then that is completely opposite to the Jesus style of leadership. Scripture is full of success stories about people whom others had thrown away. If you want to lead Jesus style then you will want to discover people whom others have thrown away that, if taken and carefully nurtured and polished, will turn into diamonds whose bright light will dazzle you. These people, you will find by careful handling, will not only become useful kingdom seekers but also powerful leaders, kings, prophets, priests.
We must learn to love others, be good at directing people, never deriding them, there to help in whatever way possible. Jesus came, we need to remember, to lift people up not to push them down.
We actually need to make people, other people, our offering of worship to God. God has great things in store for all of us, we are called to be his leaders, his prophets, his priests, he kings. All of us! God has put great value on us. He seems to know the value of every person and he is never willing to discard them, he will never throw them away. The only way they can be thrown away is if they throw themselves away. Jesus never throws people away, he died for people, all people and we should never forget that.
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Honest Leadership – i.e. in the family
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For many years I lead large youth camps both in the north and south of England. I often feel I have spent almost as much time camping as Abraham!
What has camping to do with leadership? Which of course is the subject we are discussing; well on those camp sites, with almost 400 teenagers thrown together in close proximity, there were many human problems. One of the camps regularly had young people who were referred from various departments within Social Services, so you can imagine there were lots of pastoral issues and much time spent just talking, answering questions and dealing with issues.
It may surprise you to know that the group of young people I probably spent the most time with, due to their unruly behaviour, usually after midnight sitting on a hill around a fire (well it was a summer camp) was the church leader’s kids.
My conversations with many leaders’ kids over the years became very repetitive, it went something like this. ‘I know your father and mother, they lead that large church in Anyshire, now why is it that amongst all these young people you are giving me the biggest problems?’ And their response was invariably, ‘Huh,’ they would say with a teenage shrug, ‘you might think you know my Mum and Dad, but you only see them when they are at a church meeting, you don’t live with them. You don’t see you how my Dad treats my Mum, and you don’t see how my Mum speaks to my Dad, you have no idea what they are really like!’ And of course they were right.
Out of the hundreds of disciples who followed Jesus, he chose twelve of them, then he lived with them, this was the basis of his teaching. He didn’t give them a lecture now and then for a couple of hours, he was with them 24/7. It’s a well known saying that you don’t really know someone until you have lived with them. When I was at college sharing a room with 5 other students, one of the guys had a very appropriate rhyme which was, ‘to live with the saints in heaven above I’m sure that will be glory, but to live with the saints down here on earth beneath boy that’s another story.’
When we’re at a church meeting and someone asks, ‘how are you doing?’ it’s so easy for us to put a smile on our face, be very spiritual and say, ‘I’m fine.’ But when you get home, the façade drops and the real you appears. That’s a rather hypocritical lifestyle. At home it’s much harder to be a Christian, a true follower of the way, a leader who maintains consistency in words and actions.
Does that mean it can’t be done? I don’t think that’s true, but we do need, however, to change out thinking, we need to put on the mind of Christ, we need to have a servant attitude in our heart and we certainly need to loose the ‘lording it over you’ approach that so many of us pick up so easily. Its funny isn’t it how quickly we learn to boss people around and take the high ground and I’m not just referring to leaders.
Next time you are at a Christian function, take a look around at the people who have been given some responsibility, they may be sporting a badge, or a walkie-talkie; notice how quickly they begin bossing people around, putting others down and making small rules seem like mountains to climb or an instrument with which to whack others. This bossiness is in us all and we need to be on our guard when it rears its ugly head.
If we desire to be a Jesus-style of leader, we need to be honest with ourselves, we need a heart make-over, and we need to say to Jesus, ‘help me to be a servant-style leader that effects real change in your world.’ We need to consistently seek to maintain that attitude in the most important place, our home.
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Editor: A Brookes
Leadership of Self
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The most important person we need to learn to lead is our self. In other words, we need to be in charge of ourselves. The thing is if we cannot govern, control and lead our self, how would it be possible or even thinkable to lead others?
It is obvious from scripture that Jesus thought of himself as under authority, that is, under the authority of his father and was doing, saying and being all that his father wanted him to be and do.
In servant leadership, the style of leadership that is required by God, the phrase ‘do as I say not as do’ just does not hold water! Self discipline is a must, but what does that mean. Well it includes things like controlling our tempers, or should I say temperament. The excuse that I often hear from people who loose their temper is, ‘well that’s just how I am’, that excuse will just not do. It might be how you were before, but now that you are a new person in Christ, as it says in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 17, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’.
Many times I hear people say, ‘accept me for who I am, God does!’ Well of course, in some senses, that is true, God does not wait for us to change before we come to him, so in that sense he does accept us for who we are and just how we are, as the old hymn says, ‘Just as I am, I come’. But hang on, it doesn’t stop there, the scripture is very plain about this, God’s plan for us is to change us. There are many references similar to the one I quoted from Corinthians, here is another example, Colossians chapter 3 verse 10, ‘and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.’ So it’s obvious that God does not plan to leave us as he found us in that ‘just as I am’ state. The plan is to change us and to make us like his son Jesus.
So how does he do that, or how do you or I do that, that is, how do we change to be more like Christ? It’s not as complicated as you might imagine, though it does take some action on our part, but God is alongside us helping us, encouraging us, strengthening us, being with us every step of the way. I often ask people what it is that God or we use to change and I get a variety of answers including: praying, going to church, reading the bible, the Holy Spirit. They are all good answers, but not the right one methinks. The right answer is ‘think’. The battle ground from God’s perspective and from a biblical perspective is our thinking, our minds, and it is the changing of our thinking and our minds that makes us into good leaders, in control of ourselves, able to lead ourselves and therefore others.
The bible has lots to say on this subject, about ‘putting on the mind of Christ’, there are so many references in the New Testament about having the mind of Christ that I decided to encourage you to get hold of a concordance and have a look for yourself. You could start with Philippians 4 verse 8, ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.
And you could also take a look at Romans chapter 12 verse 2 which tells us we need to renew our minds. ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformedby the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.’
If you do that it changes everything. Computer geeks say that if you put rubbish into your computer, then you will get rubbish out, they call it GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage out. It’s the same with our minds, what we need is right thinking; that will change us so that we can lead ourselves and then lead others.
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Leadership – Servant style
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I was in one of those meetings where the preacher goes and on and the more he went on the more irritated I got, not because he was going on, but because he was getting it so badly wrong. He was preaching from Luke 7 v 8 where the centurion seeks healing for his sick servant. The preacher had obviously not read the passage, or at least had not paid attention when he read it because he kept saying that the Centurion said to Jesus that, ‘he could see that Jesus had authority like he had authority.’ How embarrassing, what the centurion actually said was that he was under authority and perceived that Jesus was also under authority.
Jesus saying he was under authority is a very interesting and enlightening fact, he was telling us that the things he was doing were at the command of the will of his Father and not his own will.
In Matthew 20 it’s interesting to see that there were those amongst the twelve disciples who wanted to be in the top tier of leadership, and they asked Jesus if they could be at his right hand and left hand, (actually they got their Mum to ask, but anyway, I digress) But Jesus demonstrated a completely different style of leadership, one I am afraid that the church as a whole still does not seem to grasp, the style is called servant leadership.
Jesus outlines the style very clearly, both in words and actions in Marks gospel, chapter 9 verse 35, when he says if you want to lead or be the first, you need to be the last, or rather the servant of all. Then he demonstrates this very process as he takes a towel and a bowl and washes the disciple’s feet. In the account in John chapter 13 verses 5 Peter is very upset, he does not think that master Jesus should be washing people’s feet. But Jesus carries out this act to clearly underline and promote the servant style of leadership.
It’s helpful for us to understand who, in the culture of the time when Jesus was here, would be doing the foot washing. I’ve walked around in Africa quite a bit and I can understand the need to wash my feet, even when I am wearing socks and shoes my feet still need washing, my socks need changing and my shoes need shining because the roads are so dusty. So who exactly would have had the responsibility of washing feet in that culture? It would have been the job of the very youngest, most junior servant, if the home did not have servants, then the youngest child would do the job. I guess now we can see how mind-blowing it would have been to the disciples to see Jesus taking up a towel and washing their feet. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the creator of all things, in fact the very reason why all things were created, is now washing feet! It’s mad isn’t it, but that is the kind of leadership that those who lead in the church need to practice.
Being a follower of Jesus is unusual, if it’s real it is counter-culture and so at odds with what people would think normally, and that’s what makes it so fantastic. It is so very different; totally opposite of what is the expected norm. The trouble is we are so influenced by our culture and the way the world runs that we don’t realise how different we are called to be. The early church had the same struggle, as we can see in 1 Peter 5v2, ‘Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
’ Have a look at it and you’ll see the words ‘serve’ and ‘not lording it’ (that is being the big heavy handed boss) all in one sentence.
So you feel God has called you to lead, but its servant leadership that he’s called you to and that is so different to what we see in the world around us. But it’s God’s way; this is the way he wants us to lead in his world. Are you ready to lead?
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Editor: A. Brookes
Leadership for all
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Hello, it’s nice to be with you again, we shared some time together a few weeks ago chatting about prayer. For the next few weeks I am going to be talking to you about another subject, Leadership. I’ve written a book on this subject and it’s called ‘Leadership and…’
I wrote this book for anybody and everybody, so far it’s sold very well and it’s on its third re-print. The problem is a number of people have said to me, ‘I’ve seen the book but didn’t buy it because I’m not a leader.’ I think perhaps I should have given it a different title.
The thing is, from God’s perspective, he has called us all to be leaders. Yes, that means you, even though you may never have thought about being a leader until I just said it. I watched a programme today on TV, there was a discussion on whether or not it’s okay for women to be in leadership. Obviously it was one of those theological type discussions. I was puzzled; I thought that in the body of Christ that there was neither Jew nor Greek, in other words our earthly citizenship type does not matter, our ethnicity has no bearing in the new kingdom. Neither does our gender, as there is neither male nor female, we are all sons. This is what Galatians 2 verse 26 to 29 says
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So we are all sons of God. That might sound funny if you are a female. But don’t worry, the men have issues to, we are also called the bride of Christ.
Some of our words just don’t quite explain it accurately when we are talking about the kingdom because we are trying to use concepts that perhaps don’t apply in the new kingdom of God dimension.
What about the leadership angle that I just mentioned and the fact that perhaps you didn’t even know you were a leader? 1 Corinthians 6, 1-3 says 1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
What this is saying in simple terms is that the saints are called to ‘rule’, ‘judge’ or to use my word, ‘lead’ because that is what leadership is, judging, discerning, ruling and everyone is called to do that in the world to come so perhaps we had better get into practice.
God has called us to be many things, prophets, priests and kings to our God. All of these are leadership based and that leadership preparation does not start when you die. Here’s the thing, we need to learn and understand how to be good leaders, we need to start learning now and that includes you. All of us are sons and all of us are called.
I have a friend who leads a church community who often receives requests for the leadership team to visit conferences and the like, I asked her, ‘How do you decide who you will send?’ Her answer was funny but appropriate, ‘I send anyone from the community who is willing to go, the whole church is full of leaders.’ Her answer says it in a nutshell, we are all leaders and you are one of them, God the father makes us sons, prophets, priests and kings no less.
Leadership 3 min talks
Editor: A Brookes
Is God into fashion?
A few years ago we were visiting some friends in a small church in the Cheltenham Area of the UK. On the way home I remarked to my wife, Pauline, that the couple leading the church community appeared to be very hard up financially.
My wife agreed and told me she had left them an envelope on their mantelpiece containing some money, to help them out a little. My reaction was very godly. “Where on earth did you get the money to leave them a gift, we are broke too!” Pauline explained that she had been saving up to purchase a jump-suit she had seen in a local boutique. She had been squirreling the money away into an envelope at the bottom of her handbag, it had taken her a while, but finally she had saved up enough and was all set to go and purchase it. This is the money that she had left on the mantelpiece; so no jump-suit for Pauline!
I congratulated her and commiserated, it was rare for her to have any new clothes. Pauline explained, “It’s not as bad as all that, I saw two jump-suits one was really nice but very expensive, one was okay and cheaper. I had just saved up enough for the cheaper one, but it was really a compromise, because the expensive one was the one I really wanted, so I haven’t lost that much by leaving them the money.” This kind of feminine logic does not always make sense to the male species.
We arrived home, unlocked the door, and walked into our London home; to our surprise, hanging over the door to our lounge area was a piece of clothing in a cellophane cover. My wife hastily pulled off the cellophane and held it against her. There was a catch in her voice as she explained, “This is the jump-suit I was telling you about, the more expensive one, and it’s the exact colour I wanted, and it’s my size!”
There are always other people living with us, so we rounded them up and asked them why a jump-suit was hanging in our lounge. They explained that a man had delivered it earlier in the day, he said that Pauline had done him a favour a couple of years ago and he had never said thank you, the jump-suit was his way of showing his appreciation. He also said that if it was the wrong colour, the wrong size, or the wrong item, that it could be changed. But it was perfect in every way.
I know there are those of you who will want to say that this was a strange coincidence, but that is one word I am extremely sceptical about. Rather I think that Father God does care about and love his children, he cares about every detail of our life, and he loves us passionately and profusely. But I know some of you will prefer to cling to that doubtful explanation of coincidence.
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Do Angels smoke pipes – part two
I thought you would like to know what happened next, the sequel to my story about the pipe smoking angel who gave me £200. A friend was supposed to meet Pauline and I in Lagos airport but he did not turn up. We made our way through passport control and customs; then found ourselves stuck in the airport not knowing where to go or what to do next.
While I was sorting the final paperwork, my wife was standing by a barrier just inside the country, feeling traumatised by the few hours that we had just gone through of being marched up and down by a rather, in our opinion, unstable gun-toting boarder guard. I think Pauline had been crying a little due to the intense pressure and was still feeling stressed and wanting to immediately fly home to the UK. As she waited for me a young Nigerian man came up to her and said, ‘you seem to be in trouble, can I help?’ Going on her very recent experience she was unwilling to trust any stranger, in what was to her a strange country. As she was responding, ‘no thank you I do not need help.’ I arrived back at her side with cases and completed paperwork. The young man said to me, ‘I’m not sure what has happened to you but obviously you have been through some kind of difficult time can I show you where the airport restaurant is, I’m sure you would be glad of a coffee.’ It had taken a great deal of time up to this point, due to the gun happy guard and the stringent passport control so I said, ‘yes okay, it would be a good idea to sit down with coffee to sort out our next move.’ Plus I now had lots of Naira in my pocket and it was a long time since our last meal. The young man escorted us to the restaurant and the staff seated us. The young man said ‘let me leave you to it, you have obviously had a hard time I will come back in an hour or so see if you are ok,’ we thanked him, ordered food and coffee, and tried to unwind a little.
We decided to go and find a room for the night; just before the hour was up I signalled to the waiter that we wanted to pay the bill, ‘what bill sir?’ he said. ‘For the food and drinks,’ I replied. ‘Well sir, the waiter replied, ‘your friend who brought you in has already settled the bill.’ To say I was surprised is an understatement. This stranger who knew nothing about us had paid for us to have a meal, in a place that was quite expensive for locals. Just as Pauline and I were discussing this strange turn of events the young stranger appeared again, and asked if we felt better. We thanked him and said that we felt much better and began to talk to him about our story, and the fact that we believed that God had been looking after us and that knowing Jesus and being in touch with the Father was great at times like this. We then asked him why he had come to help us and why he had paid our bill.
He said, ‘I travelled a long way today, from up country, to meet a friend who was supposed to come in on a flight at the same time as you came through customs, but he did not arrive, I was feeling a little fed up thinking I have come such a long way, for no purpose and I prayed Father God why have I come all this way for nothing, and I distinctly heard God say to me you are here today to help that couple over there, they have had a hard time. Many years ago I went to study in the USA, at that time I did not know God, but just like you, when I got off the plane the person who was going to meet me and help me did not arrive. I was standing in the airport totally bemused as to what to do and a man came up to me and said, ‘you are in trouble can I help you?’ To cut a long story short this man really knew God, he ended up taking me to his home where I lived for two years, and he even helped me pay my college fees, I found God in his home and it has changed my life, I want to at least put some of that experience of God’s favour back into someone else’s life.’
The young man settled us into a hotel; he looked after us for three days until we finally made contact with our friend who was supposed to meet us, who somehow had the dates mixed up.
And no I did not lose his address, so perhaps he was not an angel, I rather think he was a young man listening to God and being a great help to us in our need.
I don’t know still what to think about my pipe smoking angel, but I am convinced that in times of need God is with us and cares for us. Sometimes I don’t understand his answers, sometimes I am puzzled by events. But I am confident that God cares, loves and is listening to those who know Him as Father God, and yes from time to time he sends his messengers both angelic and human to assist in time of need. What do you think?
For Adrian Hawkes Blogspot.com
Edited by Technicolour text
8th July 2012
Do Angels Smoke Pipes?
Some years ago Pauline and I were on a visit to Nigeria. I have a rule: don’t carry too much cash. We had £30.00 between us. We had flown into Lagos from Accra, Ghana. We presented ourselves at passport control and one of the officers said, “I need to see the £200.00 that you will change into Naira as you enter the country.” I explained that between us we only had £30.00, but I had a credit card.
This made no difference whatsoever, he insisted that I was lying and demanded to see the £200.00 or, he said, “We will return you to where you came from.” What could I do? The answer to this question was made for me by the officer; he lifted his rifle, stuck it in my ribs, and marched me and Pauline down the long corridor back to the aeroplane on which we had arrived. It had taken a long time to queue to get to passport control and our incoming plane had already departed. The soldier then decided that I would have to go to prison and, he said, “Your wife will go to the women’s prison.” Neither Pauline or I were impressed with this idea so I said, “can I try something?” He looked at me suspiciously, pushed the gun a little harder into my ribs, and growled “what are you going to try?” “Well,” I said, “I thought I might ask someone to give me some money.” He pulled the gun out of my ribs and slung it up onto his shoulder, looked at me steely eyed and said, “are you mad?”
“Not really,” I replied, “but anything is better than going to prison, so will you let me try?” “Who will you ask?” he said. I looked around for a friendly face in the myriads of people waiting to fly out, which is what Pauline wanted to do right there and then. I spotted a man leaning against a wall smoking a pipe, I said to my gun totting guard, “him over there.” He shrugged and said, “this should be fun, I am coming with you.” Our party of three made their way over to the pipe smoker. I opened the conversation, “excuse me do you speak English?” The man replied, “Just a little.” I explained that the gun wielding soldier was inclined to put me in prison as I did not have the required £200.00 to change into Naira, could he help. Much to my guard’s amazement the man said, “of course, I will go to the bank outside and get it for you.” A few moments later he was back with £200.00 Stirling. “There you are,” he said. I thanked him profusely and said, “I need to pay you back, when I get back to the UK where should I send it?” He laughed and at my insistence wrote something on a piece of paper which I carefully stowed in my wallet. We said our farewells and my now, somewhat quieter, guard escorted us back to passport control.
At the counter he announced, “They have the £200.00!” “Oh they’ve found it have they!” The man in the booth responded. “No,” the guard said, “I have just seen the most amazing thing; a man gave them the money”. I chipped in, “Well I did pray to God before I spoke to him.” A hush descended, they stamped our passports, and we were waved through.
There is more to this story which maybe I will save to my next blog, however, while in Nigeria, I took many the names, addresses and business cards of many people, all of which I tucked into the same place that I had put pipe-smoking-man’s piece of paper. My intention was to write to everyone on my return to the UK including writing to and repaying Mr Pipe-smoker. On my return to the UK every piece of paper was still safely stowed, and I started and succeeded in writing to every person, all except Mr Pipe-smoker. His piece of paper was missing, and even though I turned out my wallet and luggage, it was nowhere to be found. All the other address details were there.
I wanted to pay back my friend, but as his details had disappeared I was not able to do this. Who was he, where is he, why he gave me the money I have no idea. Perhaps if he reads this, he will let me know. My thoughts about it, perhaps, maybe, it was no ordinary man. How extraordinary that he gave me £200.00 very quickly, very easily, without any argument, debate, and with very little forethought. At the time, because I was so stressed, I did not think these elements through. If angels smoke pipes I want to say thank you to God for sending that particular pipe-smoker at the perfect moment.
Edited by Edited by Technicolour text