Run from church politics, those who engage in such conspiracy against whom God has anointed….
The special meetings in Lagos, about two hundred miles away, were planned to last through the next Sunday, but at 3 0’clock in the morning on that Sunday, Benson was suddenly awakened. “There is a problem at home; you must go back immediately”, the Lord told him.
There was no mistaking the message. Benson got up, dressed hurriedly, and hired a taxi to drive him back to Benin City. About 8 o’ clock the same morning he walked into the house to find Margaret sitting at the kitchen table weeping.
“What happened, why are you here?” she asked. “I didn’t expect you home till Monday.”
Benson sat down beside her and took her hand in his. “The Lord told me to come home because there is a problem. What is it?”
“There was a meeting held yesterday”, she replied, dropping her head and beginning to weep again. “You have been replaced as Pastor of the Church. The elders have elected Elder Ogolo.”
“If the Lord wants to raise this man up, He will see that Elder Ogolo remains.” Benson said, giving Margaret a handkerchief to wipe her tears. “But if it is not the Lord’s doing, I will take my position. I am not fighting to be Pastor, because I am still doing my job at Bata Shoe Company. Come, wash your face and let’s go to Church.
Benson fired up the motorcycle as Margaret took a seat on the fender, and they headed for Forestry Road. When they arrived at the storefront Church about 9 o’clock, the main service had not yet begun, but the new Pastor had already taken his place behind the pulpit
“Have you read Today’s newspaper?” the man asked as Benson approached the platform with his Bible under his arm. At this point only a few worshippers had gathered in the building.
“No, I haven’t’, Benson answered.
“You should read page 5”, Elder Ogolo continued. “There is the story that I have been ordained as the new Pastor.”
“I am grateful”, Benson said, crossing his arms around his chest. “What do you want me to do?”
“Well… Just take your seat in the congregation as an ordinary member of the congregation,” Elder Ogolo answered, nervously wiping the perspiration from his face.
Benson gazed intently at the man a few moments, then without another word turned and sat beside Margaret near the front.
Elder Ogolo began conducting the service, leading the songs and calling on another of the elders to lead in prayer. After the prayer, and before Elder Ogolo had time to resume his position behind the pulpit, Benson quickly walked up on the makeshift platform. “I am preaching to you today from John 3:16, he announced to the people, “a sermon on the love of God”.
The worshippers were surprised to see Benson come to the pulpit because they thought he was still in Lagos. However, most of them did not yet know a new Pastor had been elected. Elder Ogolo had planned to break the news in the service that morning.
Benson began his sermon, with his rival sitting behind him, hissing and pushing, trying to make him sit down. As he continued preaching about God’s love, the people began to weep. The young Preacher continued by saying, “I’m not going to fight. If what God wanted me for is finished here, I cannot contest it. But people, I want you to know that when I went to Lagos I was still your Pastor, and before I came home a new man had been appointed. I am no longer your Pastor after today.”
When he started to walk off the platform, the people all stood up and several of them called out, “You are our leader –you are our pastor. That man is not,” pointing to Elder Ogolo.
“We will leave the matter in God’s hands, and see what happens,” Benson said.
He and Margaret returned home, and on Monday morning he went to his office in town as he usually did. But as the week progressed, it seemed apparent that God was indeed directing the affairs of the little Church on Forestry Road.
On Tuesday, the son of the man who chaired the meeting in which Benson removed as Pastor died of malaria
On Wednesday, the elder who had removed the foundation stones from the building site lost his daughter because of illness.
On Thursday, the third protesting elder was taken to the hospital with tuberculosis.
And on Friday, Elder Ogolo, the newly ordained Pastor, was rush to a hospital with a heart attack, then taken to Calabar for treatment.
Within days the 4 troublemakers were removed. Benson resumed the pastoral duties of the little Church.
The following week, he conducted funerals for the 2 children who had died. He went to the hospital to pray for the elder with tuberculosis, but the man later died from the disease.
After a time, Elder Ogolo recovered, but he moved away from Benin City and got a job as a bricklayer.