Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams has described himself as a “foolish thing” that was “despised” by his own family and “written off” by his own father – who said he “would amount to nothing” – but has been made “beautiful” and “wonderful” by God.
“The Bible said God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise”, Archbishop Duncan-Williams quoted, saying: “Foolish things like me. Yea, foolish things like me”.
“You know why I call myself a foolish thing? I call myself among the foolish things and not the wise of this world because when I was young and I was sent to school, I was dyslexic and I couldn’t learn, so, I had to leave school and it was years after [that] I realised that I was dyslexic and they couldn’t fix my problem and I was written off among my 43 brothers and sisters”, he explained.
“My mother had six kids [and] my father had 37”, he said, adding: “And among them all, I was written off”.
“My Father said: ‘This one will not amount to anything because he won’t go to school’.
“And I was written off and looked down upon and despised but I heard a voice because when I went to Bible school, I said: ‘God, I think you made a mistake for calling me’. I said to God, at Bible school, I said: ‘God, you’ve made a mistake; why did you bring me here to embarrass me?’
“And God said: ‘As long as you acknowledge, Nicholas, that you’re nothing, that you’re a nobody, I will make something beautiful and something wonderful out of you’”, he told the congregation, admonishing: “Some of you, the reason God can’t use you is because you are too arrogant, you’re too proud, you boast about your achievements, and the things you have accomplished, and your background, and who your father is, and who your mother is, and the school you attended”.
“Give me a break! Do you know how many people are in their graves today, lying there in their graves and their education, power and money, exposure and access could not save and deliver them?” he asked.
He, therefore, urged Christians to shun haughtiness and self-aggrandisement by dint of their status in life.
“Who are you and why are you here? How dare you think you’ve been to the best of school, got a good job, you have money, you look good, and that is it. If that is what life is all about, then there is no need for anyone of us to be here because even the education is somebody’s property. Education is borrowed knowledge; it is not yours, so, don’t take pride in it and humble yourself; [there’s] too much arrogance and pride.
“People have become somebody as a result of your education and as a result of having money and good job or power, access and influence, you’ve become so arrogant; you don’t know how to treat other human beings, you talk down on people, despise people, because you think you’re well-educated, you’re madam, you’re so-so-and-so, please take it easy”.