The ATM Question
In the course of my journey/stay in several states in Nigeria, I’ve had reasons to make cash withdrawals using the automated teller machine (ATM). Most users, before queuing will ask “Is the ATM paying? Is the ATM dispensing?” an indication that users don’t trust most ATM machines to readily dispense cash, a task most of them expect it to perform.
Some instances arise, where you will hear some intending users say “network have disappeared” you begin to wonder if the network is a ghost. For some, they will stand like security guard telling intending users not to use a particular machine because it “receives ATM cards without retracting”. In times like this you actually know Nigerians are caring.
In some cases, the queue mounts and you will hear some on the queue say “be patient, they’re loading the ATM” suggesting the ATM ran out of cash but efforts are being made to get it back up and running.
Overtime, these repeated episodes have always made me reflect and meditate. Why? You may ask. Kindly follow me as I state my reasons.
Is the ATM paying?
The ATM is expected to always dispense cash as well as help with other transactions. Hence, a user should approach an ATM without fear of the unknown. Likewise, as a Christian or believer, people (believers or non-believers) have their expectations from you. While I’m careful not to mention or suggest such expectations to avoid anybody using it as a checklist for self-righteousness (Mark 10:17-22), I will yet mention a few: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Timothy 6:11; John 13:35). These expectations undoubtedly define your personality as a Christian and make your identity distinct. Absence of these make the reverse the case.
Have anyone ever asked you “Are you a Christian? Are you born again?” When these questions are directed at you, what comes to your mind? Why would anybody ask “Are you a Christian? Are you born again? Could it be that the fruits of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness among others are not visible? If that be the case, then you need make amends.
You may ask, Rey what’s wrong with anybody asking if I am a Christian? Permit me to answer a question with another. Why will anybody ask a car if it is one? Or a tree if it is a tree? It means either the car or tree lack evidence to reflect what they actually are (Matt. 7:17-20).
What could be the reasons for your inability to represent the faith (Christianity) you profess? Let’s take a look at the next point.
Network Have Disappeared
For an ATM to function properly, it must have uninterrupted internet connection. The connection enables it carryout several functions thus making users rely on it. At this juncture, I will like to state that there are banks in Nigeria that their ATMs are so reliable that many users don’t mind queuing to use their services, and this reflects across their branches nationwide. These are banks who have done all they can to ensure users are not disappointed. Their reliability span beyond their ATMs service to their banking hall.
In light of the above, a Christian must have an uninterrupted connection not to the internet but the Holy Spirit. Suffice to say that in the absence of the Holy Spirit, a Christian/believer would hardly live right (Zech. 4:6; Rom. 8:14). To live a life that will undoubtedly bring many to righteousness without struggling, a Christian needs the Holy Spirit. Jesus admonished his disciples thus:
…but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:49
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me… Acts 1:8
Which means to live a life that will manifest good fruits (Galatians 5:22-25) and gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) you must consistently stay connected to the Holy Spirit.
The machine receives ATM cards without retracting
Though I haven’t had my ATM card “frozen” by an ATM, some close acquaintances have experienced it. Their ordeal was quite pitiable. I can liken this to Christians/believers who keep receiving the word and counsels from pastors, fellow believers but hardly transmit those investments to affecting those around them positively. Rather, they end up corrupting anyone who comes to them for help.
Most people approach such people in this category but have their hope dashed and expectations cut short (Matthew 21:19). These are people who for their unproductive life or lifestyle give room for people to make mockery of Christians/Christianity. A believer must of necessity live a life that meet needs and birth transformation to believers/non-believers alike. As a believer, you can’t stay on the receiving end all your life without giving back (Luke 22:32).
Be patient, they’re loading the ATM
This suggest that the ATM has been functional but ran out of cash. The good thing about this is that it was rendering service and when it got exhausted its users knew but had to wait patiently for it to get back. You may think as a pastor, preacher or believer that your followers don’t know when you are worn out but it may shock you that they know. However, if you have been quite serviceable to your followers, they will wait patiently for you get back on track. Nonetheless, this waiting must not tarry longer than necessary.
To sum it up, as we always demand perfect service delivery from ATMs, so is purpose fulfilment expected of us. With diligence, we can maximise every opportunity for improvement, overcome all limitations and perform beyond our imaginations.