In my early teens, my father often disciplined me, especially when I broke a law at home, school or came back home with a bad school result sheet. I had thought my dad was the only father who acted that way, but I observed that all the dads of the boys around my age that time acted same. One statement never left their lips: ‘Look boy, I am doing this so that you can have food on your table tomorrow.’
They looked stern while they made this statement. I have taken my time to observe, too, that it seems our dads were right. All our trouble in life seems to end in our stomachs. Food and clothing seem to be the focal point of every one’s struggle. I had wondered why Jesus had spoken vehemently about not worrying about what to eat and wear when one could as well have worried about owning a horse or living in a house.
Even Paul asked that Christians should be content having food and raiment. It seems they knew very well what others never knew that all the struggles in life are because we must meet these insatiable needs “food and clothing.” I took time out to tinker and I observed, too, that though we may grasp all the benefits of life, one could never do without this two. One may not have a house or car and may not need them, but one can never do without food and raiment. All the big industries, shopping malls, business premises, banks etc are all secondary tools to feed these two insatiable needs.
The reason we buy cars is just to ease our movements towards getting to the place where we could get money to buy food and cloth. We buy or build a house because we desire a conducive place to rest, keep our clothes, and have our meals prepared. Hospitals are built so that when you are ill and you find food appalling, you can run in and have your health checked so as to enable you return to your eating capabilities.
Banks exist only as a store for the money you will use in the future to feed yourself. The quality of food a person eats, and the cloth he wears speaks volume of the status of a person. You look healthy and good because you eat right and dress to suit. One may not leave in a big house or drive in a sports utility vehicle but he could still look larger than his means.
Our greatest fear isn’t having shelter on our heads or having a posh car to drive in. One may have and lose these things, but the deepest fear is having to go broke over what to eat and wear. One is not considered poor if he doesn’t own a car or a house. Poverty status is measured based on how one meets one’s daily need of eating and wearing clothes. That’s why when you research poverty on Google, what you see are pictures of almost naked people, thin with pot bellies and sunken eyes.
I would be mesmerised to see a wealthy man who claims to have all the wealth and doesn’t eat and wear good clothes. Not being able to eat could be a huge problem and could tell signs of an end for such a man. The fact about not having food to eat is that your clothes also will look unfit and you look worn in them.
No matter how rich and wealthy a man may seem, his only gain of all his wealth is what he eats and wears. The respect he gets is all vanity and he could choose not to have them but if he fails to pleasure himself in tasty meals, he would be doing himself great harm.
Whatever way one chooses to hustle, whether by hard work or soft work, the goal is to put meals on the table. All the shouting of “be the best” by parents to their wards, the “boss hunting your head” phenomenon at the work place, the bowing of head to superiors even when they are younger, the “be punctual always, be diligent and do not procrastinate” talks all fall to one act: to place meals on the table and dress to look nice.
You can take time out to do an analysis too. I am certain that you will observe this same truth that reckons with Wiseman Solomon’s words that “life is vanity “.
Ufot is a writer, teacher and motivator reachable through twitter @inyang21