When my good friend, Martin was about to get married, he asked me to accompany him to meet his prospective father-in-law. That was about four or five years ago. We travelled all the way to Sagamu from Lagos with a clear mission. The man is a Londoner and in the characteristic manner of people who are both exposed and well read, he didn’t keep us waiting. The exterior of the building belied the magnificence of the interior. We were marvelled. When we knocked on the metallic door, a woman opened it with a warm and inviting smile. We later realised that was his wife. We were barely seated when the man himself sauntered in. He wore shorts and a white polo shirt. He greeted us, shook our hands warmly and asked: ‘What will you boys drink?’ ‘Malt sir’, we replied. ‘ I have Vodka, beer, red wine or you’re teetotalers?’ ‘ Yes sir, we don’t drink.’ He seemed shock but when he came to, he called us ‘boring pastors’ because of our disposition to liquor.
While sipping his drink he said something strange. He told us that people who drink are easier to deal with than those who don’t. We didn’t prod him; he continued of his own accord. He told us that those who do not drink find it hard to forgive and that there is some sort of chasm in their souls where they keep the wrongs and infractions done to them. Drinkers, on the other hand, talk about the wrongs done to done immediately alcohol enters their blood stream. He told us this is why they make better businessmen that those of us who call ourselves Christians. You must agree that seemed outright illogical. Of course the conversation soon shifted grounds. We talked about the serious, the mundane , the cosmic and even the pedestrian. His brilliance shone effortlessly. Probably because of the brilliance he displayed in other matters, I found it hard to shrug off the point he made about people who drink.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make a case for alcoholism, whether moderate or extreme. The disadvantages far outweigh whatever advantage one may put forward anyway. Jesus made a distressing statement about Christians and non- Christians in Luke 16:8, ‘…the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. ‘ So, as far as street wisdom is concerned, Christians are not half as wise as non-Christians. Just look around you, they flourish more, they’re easier to deal with, they don’t even hoard information. This is a fairly established standard, however. They, like many Christians, can be mean too.
My boss has a fantastic husband. She’s a solid Christian but the man merely strolls into church once in a while. He’d rather spend his Sunday on his bed and and maybe watch football matches. Expectedly, this is a sore point between these two. For all I know, he is simple almost to the point of being shy. He doesn’t joke with his children and it seems to me that he adores his wife. On her 40th birthday, he bought her a jeep. The poor woman very nearly died with joy. Did I mention that he drinks? I met a man a few weeks ago, he is one of the high Chiefs in Remo. His sense of humour is amazing and all his words are laced with wisdom. For example, he told me: ‘ Do you see how big this house is? I only have control over one room. That’s the room where I sleep. ‘He explained that if a man wants peace of mind, the size of the house he has built matters nothing, what counts is the ability to relinquish authority for the sake of peace. This man, like the other two, drinks.
So, what’s the point? If you refuse to make somebody’s acquaintance all because he drinks, you may be the loser for it. After all, even Jesus befriended sinners more than the saints. The fact that we’re Heaven bound doesn’t mean we should be useless here on earth. Don’t throw an argument out of the window merely because it doesn’t align with your faith. We have a lot to learn from people whose religious leanings are different from ours. That wisdom is only useful here on earth, it is absolutely useless in Heaven. At this point, it is important to remember that if you can, you shouldn’t even drink at all. There are several ways of enjoying oneself without resorting to alcohol. We must bear in mind, however, that the fact that we do not drink doesn’t make us better than those who drink.