MONEY VS INFLUENCE
“A leak of gold in the desert sand is less than a cool fresh spring and to one lost sheep a shepherd boy is greater than the richest king”
Money, from our economics class is a legal tender with which we exchange for goods and services. This definition seems so mild that it doesn’t seem to carry as much weight as it practically does. But you and I know that people have lost valuable relationships, property and lives as a result of money related issues. It’s so amazing and almost scary at times how much power and effect money has caused overtime and is wielding. A regular relationship becomes sensitive and the atmosphere, tense when money comes into the picture. You hear some people tell close family and friends categorically that they don’t joke with money issues. Some people start making money and their attitudes change. But, do their attitudes really change or actually come to the surface?
Money is powerful. It has tremendous capacity to resolve seemingly tough and impossible issues. When you have money, you reduce the stress you would normally go through in making purchases, you bargain less, or for some people, not at all; you can get anything done whenever you want it. Take Nigeria for example, someone who’s rich in Nigeria will get anything he/she wants – from houses and cars of your choice to a gatekeeper, a compound tender, a chef, laundry man, generator man (NEPA outage must never be noticeable, so his station is at the generator), house keepers, drivers…. the list is endless; in Naija, you can enjoy your money, my elder sister came over from the UK and acknowledged that Naija is sweet and the best place to enjoy your money; people respect you more and your money speaks for you. I went to visit a rich uncle of mine and was in his living room where he was gisting with some of his friends when one of them was citing a time when he went to visit one of his friends. He got there and noticed young men and ladies cladded in suits seated in the man’s waiting area. He got to his friend and asked who those people were. He laughed and replied ‘don’t mind them; they’re bankers from different banks wanting me to open accounts with their banks’. He told his friend to accompany him to see them.
As soon as they stepped into the waiting area, they all jumped on their feet. There were Branch Managers and Managers in different levels among them. The man turned to his friend and gave him a knowing smile, full of confidence. His money was speaking. He was having fun; the bankers were not, their jobs (target/next promotion) were on the line. Before now, banks had a minimum amount for account opening, below which they treated walk-in customers like beggars. Five years ago, I walked into a bank with over a hundred thousand naira to open an account that I wanted to use strictly for business. The lady that attended to me simply told me the minimum was 200k and got back to work. I felt horrible. Today, staff from that bank come begging me to open an account with them. If I had the money then, I would’ve gotten the account opened immediately with good customer service; hmmm… funny how people are sized up and some receive preferential treatment.
For influence, there are people within and outside this nation who are not rich but wield tremendous influence in different aspects of life; they are icons of strong values which they’ve stood for over the years that have made them achieve significance. People mention their names, read about them and are motivated to live purposeful, impactful lives. E.g. Wole Soyinka, Martin Luther King Jr., etc
But is it possible to achieve being wealthy and being strongly influential? Within my few years on earth so far, I’ve discovered that few people really desire to be wealthy; many can’t manage the status because it could mar their goals of living for what’s right and achieving true significance. So, the people in this class will rather be quite comfortable and still influence lives positively. The other class see money as a tool and they believe they can’t be too rich to lose their heads; they channel the money as it comes in, e.g. Bill Gates. Recently, Warren Buffet gave 80% of his money to Bill Gates because it was clear what he was doing with money. I believe that a life without a purpose and assignment to help others will end up being confused. That’s why there are a lot of rich people who have no clue what to do with money.
In summary, I believe strongly that not all will be wealthy, but all can influence lives. We all have an assignment, which is not short of good works, which God created us to do.