FAMILY FUSION: The wise top-up
Moral choices do not depend on personal preference and private decision but on right reason and, I would add, divine order. – Basil Hume
It is wise to top up these days. In fact, life is about topping up.
We are warned to top up when we are thirsty; top up when our gas tank is low; top up when the body feels run down; top up academically to be more marketable; top up when the bank account is running low; top up the hospital blood bank; top up the HIV food bank when supplies are decreasing.
I got a call from my lovely, faithful wife one Saturday morning while I was in the supermarket trying to top up our pantry that was very lean. She told me that she needed a top up, and from the tone of her voice I knew she did not mean a top up of love; she was talking about her cellphone that had almost run dry of funds. She did not want her cellphone to die on her while in conversation with me or any friends and family of hers because for her, relationships mean a lot.
Whether we like it or not, relationships will impact your life one way or another. Relationships are the hub or axis on which social, economic, educational, physical, spiritual and other interlocking activities revolve. Numerous people know when to top-up in many areas of life, but they seem to have difficulty in doing the same when the flames of priority relationships, such as their marriage and family, are burning low.
During an interview, I heard a husband speak of his numerous successes in the business world, and how elated he was to have achieved so much while climbing the corporate ladder. When asked what he would do if he had to live his life all over again, he remarked that he would spend much more time with his wife and children. As far as he was concerned, he topped up at the corporate level but did not do as much within his family circle.
Cellphone service providers know how crucial relationships are to individuals, so each telecommunications company tries almost every strategy to meet that demand. Whether it is postpaid or prepaid, the service is not free. Topping up will cost you something.
When it comes to marriage and family there are two major service providers who offer what I am calling “wise top-ups”. Each of them knows how significant marriage and family is to the health and wealth of the society and therefore offers packages with that in mind.
There are two general managers: Satan and God. The quality of “wise top-up” services that each general manager offers is found in the Bible in James 3:13-17, where the terms of reference are clearly outlined. Satan’s “wise top-up” is described as “wisdom that is earthly, sensual and demonic” and contains bitter envy and contention which eventually give rise to confusion and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
God’s “wise top-up”, on the other hand, is described as “wisdom from above” and is characterised by purity, peace, courtesy, willingness to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruit, wholeheartedness and straightforwardness, impartiality and sincerity.
After signing up for Satan’s well-advertised services, you will discover that the after-service handling leaves much to be desired, and only creates continual frustration for you and your family. On the other hand, with God, the after-service handling is top-of-the-line and is consistent and guaranteed to work exceptionally for life.
The “wise top-up” that God offers to every relationship, including marriage, is free, but not cheap. The wisest man who ever lived spoke of the priceless treasure of God’s “wise top-up” when he said in Proverbs 8:11: “For skilful and godly wisdom is better that rubies or pearls, and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Satan’s “wise top-ups” are always free and very cheap; no doubt there are so many families that seem to spend their resources at his top-up outlets.
The brilliant renowned attorney at law, the Apostle Paul, told the Corinthians how God sees the wisdom that is from the earth when he said: “Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom?”
Early one morning, I got a telephone call from a woman who said she had come across my telephone number by accident. Through her sobs, she told me she knew she was connected to the wrong spiritual “service provider” because despite all her wealth, her academic qualifications and her secured job, she was miserable, confused, dissatisfied with life and wanted to switch to something better. After introducing her to the “wisdom from above”, she decided to immediately switch from that earthly wisdom. This resulted in her experiencing the pleasure of her first “wise top-up”.
I was present in a public forum where a husband and wife spoke of the negative impact that Satan’s “wise top-up” had on their marriage. They related the continual quarrelling, bitterness and friction they had toward each other and the confusion that was constantly occupying their home life.
The couple spoke of the radical change that took place in their marriage when they took the decision to change service providers. They opted for the “wisdom from above” and began, almost immediately, to see positive changes in their attitude towards each other.
The relationship moved from contention and confusion to peace, kindness and compassion.
The Apostle James in speaking about the reliability and availability of God’s “wise top-up” said: “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproach or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”
When you compare the two service providers who offer “wise top-up”, there is only one that is superior in quality with no dropouts and frustrating connections, but instead stands the test of time, all the time; that is God’s.
I can give my vote of confidence to God’s “wise top-up” because it has sustained my marriage for over 35 years.
• Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant.