SUNDAY, JANUARY 6, 2013
REFLECTION ON BISHOPS’ RETREAT 2013
TOMORROW, all Bishops of Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) will be at the Ibru Centre for their 2013 retreat, which will end on Saturday, January 12.
We are thankful to God for this great yearly ritual that spiritually repackages Bishops for their work during the subsequent months.
To the glory of God, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has chosen a topical issue as theme for the event: ‘The labourer is worthy of his wages’ (Luke 10v7). Speakers and Bible Study leader have also been selected to expatiate on this.
Within ecclesiastical circle and secular society, the theme often touches on the life of people who perform different tasks, who expectedly desire suitable reward for tasks performed.
In the time of Jesus, Peter wanted to get things right, having just abandoned his fishing profession for catching of men: “Then Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life’ -Mark 10v28-30.
Nobody should blame Peter because he wanted a reward for his labour. Jesus’ response is an eye-opener: no one who leaves father, mother or field will lose his or her reward.
In Old Testament times, the idea of rewarding workers was prevalent. Impliedly, employers of labour were encouraged not to withhold the wages of those who work for them (Deut. 24v14, Jer. 22v13). Every conscientious labourer deserves a reward. That is why the scripture will always frown at persons who maliciously deny workers genuine wages.
Here we can appreciate strained industrial relationships where there are infractions as a result of workers’ wages. Good governments and organisations will always dialogue and resolve knotty issues to avoid industrial unrest. The recent case of the Federal Government and staff of Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN) is illustrative.
We thank God that the Bishops are thinking about labourers getting their wages. Yes, they are employers of labour because they have people working under them in their Dioceses. They have also seen secular employers of labour intimidate, harass and maliciously starve their workers of entitlements due them.
Again, they may wish to draw attention both within the ecclesiastical and secular world that every conscientious work done will be rewarded. St Paul noted: ‘…your labours of love shall not be in vain,’ I Cor. 15v58
While we pray for God’s guidance and protection as the Bishops travel, we at the Centre wish them fruitful deliberations.
Welcome. Happy New Year to our Church fathers!Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.