Johnson Babalola
August 25, 2023

Religion, Culture and Unreasonable Expectations

Toronto, Canada: It was a beautiful Sunday morning. I had headed to the beautiful and warm Nigerian church I was attending at the time to sing, dance and listen to the word of God. Overall, I was looking forward to fellowshipping with others.  

As I stepped out of my car heading to the church entrance, a well-dressed woman approached me. 

“Good morning, sir”. She said, with a beautiful smile. 

“Good morning my sister”. I responded and was about to take the next steps towards the church entrance. 

“Sir don’t go in yet sir. I really need to talk to you, and may God bless you as you wait to listen to me.” 

I stopped and said to her “madam, service starts in 15 minutes. I don’t want to be late. Can we talk after services?” 

“Forgive me sir. I only need 10 minutes of your time and what I want to discuss is a life and death issue sir. I need your help sir.” 

“What’s this about?” 

“It is about immigration sir. I have a Court hearing.” 

“No worries. I will give you my business card and schedule a meeting.” 

“Ah! Mo gbe. Appointment ke?” (Ah, I am in trouble. Appointment?) 

“Madam, I am here to worship with others. My office is not here.”

“I know sir. I don’t attend this parish. I am from another Parish of the church. My Pastor asked me to see you to help me. He said you are a good man.” 

“Who is your Pastor?” 

“Pastor KKG” 

“Good man. And he asked you to come and meet with me at church?” 

“No sir. I used my discretion” 

“Hmmnnnn. Your discretion?” 

“Beeni sir. E ma binu simi” (Yes sir, please don’t be annoyed with me) 

“So, madam, what’s going on?” 

“I have an admissibility hearing in Niagara Falls in two weeks. I want you to represent me and attend with me.” 

“No worries. I will check my schedule for availability and there will be a professional fee for my services.” 

“In Jesus name you will be available.” 

“Madam, my schedule is set. I will let you know.” 

“You will be available sir. You said your fees?” 

“Yes, my professional fee to represent you.” 

“You want me to pay?” 

“Of course, madam. I need to get paid but your will be discounted.”

“But my Pastor did not tell me that you would be paid.” 

“I cannot speak to his intent, but I need to get paid madam.” 

“Sir, is it not just to attend at Niagara Falls with me?” 

“Really? What time is your hearing?” 

“9am sir” 

“So, listen to this madam. First, I will spend hours reviewing your file and your supporting documents. I will spend hours meeting with you to prepare you for the hearing. I will spend hours attending the hearing. I will be assisted by a Legal Assistant that I must pay. I will pay for photocopying and other disbursements. It takes two hours to drive to Niagara Falls each way. If I decide to travel to Niagara Falls the night before, I must stay in a hotel and feed myself. While attending to your matter, I am away from my office without the opportunity to earn income. Yet, you want me to attend for free” 

“Please sir, it is a simple matter, and I am still struggling to pay my children’s school fees in Nigeria. Please help me.” 

“Simple matter? I suggest you retain another counsel, especially one that is local in Niagara Falls. It will be cheaper for you.” 

“You don’t understand sir. I don’t have the money and, my Pastor said you will win my case for me. He said you are a good lawyer. I trust my Pastor.” 

“Why don’t you ask your Pastor to pay my fees?” 

“The church is struggling sir.” 

“I am struggling too madam.” 

“You will not struggle in Jesus’ name.” 

“So, for me not to struggle, please pay for my services. As you will appreciate, I only market my time and knowledge. I don’t sell rice or beans.” 

“You are funny sir. I know. Just do this for me and I will send you many clients that will pay you. God will also reward you abundantly.” 

“What do you do?” 

“I am a Support Worker.” 

“Do you get paid by your employer?” 


“What will be your reaction if your employer comes to you and asks you to work for 8 hours without payment because he or she is broke and says God will reward you?” 

“I will decline but that is different from my own o” 


“You have money sir. You will not feel it if I don’t pay.” 

“You have access to my bank account? You know my situation?” 

“No sir. I am sorry. Se kin kunle?” (Should I kneel?) 

“No madam. We are not communicating. We are 45 minutes into this talk. I really need to attend the service.” 

“Sir, but you are a Christian and a Nigerian sir. Help your fellow Christian and Nigerian sir. The Bible asks us to help the needy.” 

“I know. The Bible also says that a man who does not work should not eat. I am obeying God rather than men as he says in Acts 5:29.” 

“I will go and pray for God to change your mind sir because they said you are a good man. You are not showing me that good side of you now.” 

“Thanks, madam, for your time. May God answer your prayers. Bye.” 

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.