There once was an Akara seller, who was making very brisk trade, frying her akara under a baobab tree. From this business, she had built two houses, and had sent her children to the best schools available in the neighbourhood. You could say she was doing very well. Now, there was a madman who was always coming to the woman’s selling point, and all he would say is “Answer me”. The woman would, dutifully, pack some akara in paper, and hand over to him, and he would leave, without so much as a word of gratitude.
One day, the madman was late coming to pick his package for the day. The woman had finished her sales for the day and was washing the pots and pans, and other utensils she used. But, she had already packed the madman’s usual parcel. While cleaning up, the madman came around, and called the woman from across the road. The woman distractedly replied that she had packed the usual for him and he should come across to collect it. The madman however refused, and insisted the woman bring it across for him. Frustrated, but determined not to speak a word of anger, she decided to take the parcel across. Having handed it over, she was about to return to her chores, when the madman said, repeatedly: Ojo gbogbo la nse oore, a o mo ojo esan”. We must do good, every day, because we do not know the day of recompense. While repeating this refrain, the tree, under which the woman was working moments before, came crashing down, crushing everything under it. There was a loud cry of anguish, as everyone assumed that the akara seller had been crushed under the tree. But then, she called to the people from across the road, to let them know that she was safe. The madman had, of course, by this time, disappeared. However, the words of the madman re-echoed in her head, and she repeated the story of her miraculous survival, and that expression has gradually passed into everyday usage: We must do good every day, because we do not know the day of recompense.
We must never tire of doing good, because we do not know when we will receive recompense. Of course, we could do the opposite, evil, but we will get recompense, still, for even the evil we do. So, why don’t we do good, and be assured that our recompense will be good, equally?
There is a true story I read, a while ago, about a boy named Howard Kelly. He was born unprivileged hence, he had to sell goods from one house to another just to earn a living and pay his education. One day he felt so hungry and decided to ask for something to eat at the next house he was set to visit. However, he lost his guts to ask for a meal when a beautiful young woman opened the door for him. Instead of asking for a meal, he just asked for one glass of water. But the young lady noticed that he looked hungry. So instead of water she brought him one large glass of milk. He slowly drank the milk and asked “How much do I need to pay”? The lady replied, “You don’t have to pay me anything as mother taught us to never take any pay for kindness”. He thanked her with all his heart and walked away. That little act of kindness made a mark on his heart and made him feel stronger and better. He was ready to give up in his life before that happened but because someone had showed him kindness in a very unexpected event, he regained his trust in God and man. Then he grew up and became a successful doctor.
Years had pass and the young woman became seriously ill. The local doctors were kind of baffled of her case so they sent her to the hospital in the big city. A specialist was needed to study her rare illness so they consulted Dr. Howard Kelly. He was a renowned Gynecologist who founded the Gynecologic Oncology division at Johns Hopkins University. When Dr. Kelly heard the name of the town where the patient came from, an inexplicable light filled his eyes. He immediately went to see the patient and recognized her at one glance. Determined to save her, he went back to the consultation room and did his best to save the life of a woman who once made a difference in his life. After a long battle, he finally won.
Dr. Kelly requested the hospital accounts to forward the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it and without any hesitation wrote something on the bill and had it sent to the woman’s room. The woman got the bill and was afraid to open it for she was so sure that the cost is high and would probably take all her life to pay for it. But when she finally opened it, something caught her eye. At the corner of the bill were words she hardly believed. It was written: “Paid in full with one glass of milk”.
That act of kindness could make the difference in somebody’s life. But, more importantly, it won’t go without recompense. So, please let us do good every day, because, as that Yoruba saying goes: Ojo gbogbo la nse oore, a o mo ojo esan. We must do good, everyday, because we do not know the day of recompense.
Peace and love!
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