Growing up in Nigeria and hearing people speak Hausa often around me, it was inevitable that the language will crawl up on me at some point, and it did, because a good portion of learning is subconscious. Hence why they often tell parents to be careful what their children are exposed to, because the environment must not be a school for them to be learning. If their minds are exposed long enough to something, their subconscious picks it up and makes lessons of it. Same goes to adults.
This explains why we see adults today who do things that could be traced back to someone in the environment they grew up in as children.
When the bible talks of ‘guarding your gates’, (Matthew 6:22, Proverbs 4:23), it’s less about active learning, more about the openness of the mind and its nature to dwell on a knowledge that its been exposed to long enough and begin to bear fruits from that knowledge. I read once somewhere that the mind is an ever-fertile ground. It grows anything dropped on it. This is why you are as you think (Proverbs 23:7)
But hey, back to my learning Hausa subconsciously. The earliest word I learnt in Hausa was “jara”. It means ‘extra’, or better still ‘free extra’.
A typical use of this word would be when you’ve been out to buy something from a Hausa vendor and he hands you the items bought, asking for jara is like telling the person to give you an extra to what you needed and bought.
More than half of the time, the vendors will indulge you and give you that jara, it’s often like an appreciation for even patronising them in the first place. This isn’t the reality of the western world where you get exactly what you bought and can’t ask for ‘free’ more, but in Africa, Nigeria particularly, it’s almost a part of our culture, especially the northerners.
I woke up this morning with the thought that Jesus is all that was/is needed and every other thing that comes after Him is jara. In reality, the extras received from a vendor are not strong enough to distract us from what we needed and went to buy, but it seems different with us sometimes, when the jara distracts us from what is most needed.
As common as the culture of jara is in Nigeria, a person can’t go to a vendor and ask for jara immediately without first receiving what they came to buy. Jara comes only after you’ve received what was most important and needed.
Jesus going to the cross and dying for us to unite us back with God is what is most important and needed. Coming to that realisation and walking is that reality then becomes paramount to the cares of this world that actually come as jara.
The moment we begin to desire the jara’s above The person, we must refocus on the most needed and realise that the jara is most enjoyed after the most important is settled. God gave us the best gift in Jesus and it’s important that we remember always that this gift is what is most needed in the long run and not the immediate pressing needs on your mind right now.
God is so gracious and kind to still extend jara’s to us everyday, in the form of material and spiritual gifts, but He never gives them to us to contend with His primary and intended gift, which is Jesus. So we must not confuse our Jesus for jara or our jara for Jesus.
They have hierarchy and Jesus comes first, and our jara follows.