A traditional ruler in the south western part of Nigeria where I come from, is commonly referred to as an “oba”; which is really short for “oba alase”. When translated into English, that means “Sovereign one” or simply, one that has supreme power and authority (over the geographical location where they reign). In English the word “oba” translates to mean king or queen with synonyms like monarch or Crown. In Yoruba, when an oba is addressed he is not called “oba” but “Kabiyesi“; “the one that cannot be questioned”.  

Over the holidays I was watching a movie about a prince who was asked to plan the biggest annual royal event of the country where they reign. While talking to someone who had been assigned to assist him,  I heard him say the following words: “When you represent the Crown,  there are certain standards you must meet. There is no room for slacking or for not being the best”. This young prince must have had instilled in him from childhood that he must always remember who he is – heir to a throne and that on no account would inappropriate behaviour be tolerated from him. Or something like that at the very least. No doubt this would have served as a guiding light for him while growing up, so that any time he might have wanted to err or step out of line, he would remember and check himself.

This reminded me of when we were much younger and were being prepared for boarding school for the first time; our parents always “sang”  this in our ears.  “Remember the child of whom you are.” Which was just a way of telling us to always be on our best behaviour so as to never bring shame, embarrassment or disrepute to the family name. This no doubt was a very good thing because I know a lot of people today who still have that fear of not wanting to bring disrepute to the family name even though they are adults and have children of their own. That is the way most of them fiercely protect their family names. Now how about that other name by which we are known or called? As “Christians” we are called by the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  It is a name that is higher than any other name.  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”  Philippians 2:9  KJV   But is it a name that we protect as fiercely as we do our family names? That young prince knew that he was a representative of a Crown, that he was expected to meet certain standards and that there was no room for slacking. That young prince had been taught all these things regarding an earthly kingdom.  Are we then aware of which Crown, Sovereign or Monarch that we represent?  That there are standards we too must meet and be on our best always?  Our Sovereign,  Our King is Jesus Christ the King of all kings. And the kingdom that we represent and are heirs to, is the kingdom of heaven.  “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” Romans 8:17a NLT  Then we should be more conscious of this more than any prince or princess is of their own earthly kingdom.

Therefore as we journey onwards in 2020, let us all remember whose we are.  “Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, we are his flock.” Psalms 100:3 Good News Translation  We belong to God and we must not be caught slacking at any point in time. Let not any scandals or other inappropriate behaviour be once named among us. Let us know that our God is the One that cannot be questioned.