“When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. Mark 8:19 NLT

Is poverty a curse that makes men mad?

Here’s a true story, as told me by a second-hand witness. Two Nigerians ordered oversized plates of food they didn’t need from an expensive restaurant somewhere in Germany. The waiters thought these were unusual amounts of food but what the heck, if they were this hungry. Surprises awaited them.

Moments later, maybe to impress the white man, the men took just a few nibbles from their plates, shoved the food away and motioned the waiter for their bill.

“You have to finish the food, Sirs,” the bewildered waiter politely told them.

“No, we’re okay, no problem,” they answered, laughing.

“But you have to eat the food, you cannot throw this amount of food away” insisted the restaurateur.

The two men looked each other in the face, muttering, in Warri accent, “Shooooow?”

“Look,” they said with rising temper, “the money is ours, not yours! We’re paying you for the food! What’s your problem?”

“We understand, Sirs,” said the restaurateur calmly, “But when you throw this food away, it is a spite on our people and our economy.

“You see, someone grew the tomatoes and vegetables, someone raised the cow and the fish, someone manufactured the oils and the other dozen ingredients, someone transported the ingredients to the grocery, someone cut the veggies, prepared the meal, served them, someone went to school to learn the best cooking there is, someone taught them, interviewed, employed them.

“You see, Sirs … it took the labor of love, knowledge, and skills of thousands of our German people to serve you those two plates of food. It’s not about your money, it’s about the thousands of people who made it possible. It is a sin against our economy.”

••• While all this was going, one of the waiters had already called the police. Story short, they were forced to go with the takeaway pack of the food they wanted to be thrown into the dustbin.

Listen, friends! To load up your plate from a buffet, and leave half of it uneaten is not a sign of big-manism. It’s a clinical symptom of poverty. Of mental illness.

••• What does poverty have to do with wastefulness? Everything! Some people are poor mostly because they are wasteful! The poor waste time, waste ideas, waste opportunities, waste talent, waste relationships, waste money!

••• Again, I read a story from my social feed the other day. One post-NYSC girl went to this other girl to beg for N50,000 to start a business. Meanwhile, she had N75,000 made up hair on her head! Of course, the wiser one asked her, girl-to-girl, “Sister, your hair is N75k, how come you didn’t use the money to start your business?”

We do the same thing as a country. Senator Ben Bruce narrated how our government used N250,000,000.00 ($500,000) to build a gatehouse. I have been to the high and low places in America and the UK. There’s no place you’ll see a gatehouse built with $500,000. And yet, we want those countries to give us a loan – to build more gatehouses? Is poverty a curse?

••• That’s why Nelson Mandela said, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” We can never cure poverty by giving the poor handouts and giving graduates N5,000 a month. We must pull down the demonic “Nigerian system” that makes this place “a land that swallows its inhabitants.”

Wastefulness is immoral. God abhors the wasteful. We are stewards of God’s resources. He did not appoint us to waste His resources.
If you are wasteful, you are immoral. God abhors immorality.

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