It wasn’t quite dawn but the old man was awake. It had become customary for him to lay awake in the wee hours of the morning talking to Olodumare.
The wailing could be heard several houses away. The old man had experienced many things but nothing so heartbreaking as this. He moved his feeble feet as quickly as he could, turned the knob of his wooden door, and let himself out of the house.
The woman was already upon him. She had two boys with her whom she held onto with a deathly grip and wailed loudly. The boys seemed at a loss, she refused to be comforted and their little hearts were broken.
Baba moved quickly, “Abeke, what causes this much weeping so early? It isn’t even dawn yet.”
The woman released her death grip on the boys only to transfer the pressure to the old man. Baba shifted uncomfortably.
”Talk to me Abeke for two heads are better than one.”
“Wise One, you know Babalola served Olodumare faithfully while he was here with us.” She hiccuped, referring to her husband and the father of her sons.
Baba nodded, “Abeke, we’re all aware of that and it was a sad thing but Olodumare knows best. Abeke what is troubling you? Pray, tell.”
“Baba his creditors are upon us. They have threatened to take Biodun and Babadare. What am I going to do without my sons? I have already lost once. Ahh Wise One, what shall I do?” She released her grip and continued crying again.
Baba sat down, his wrinkled face scrunched in meditation. He heard Abeke wailing but his heart was focused on Olodumare. He knew the answers to all things were in His hands. He suddenly had an inspiration and knew what Olodumare was saying.
He stood urgently and it caught Abeke’s attention. She sat up on the ground and prepared to listen to Baba.
“Tell me Abeke. What do you have?”
Abeke looked confused, then lost.
Baba tried again, “Abeke, what do you have?”
She began to weep again. “Wise One, Abeke and her sons don’t have anything. Babalola’s creditors are upon us. They will take my sons. What shall then be left of me?”
“Woman, get it together. Olodumare does not produce empty vessels. What do you have?”
Abeke sat on her heels and pondered. “Wise One, we have nothing…” She stammered, then remembered. “Well except one little jar of oil but what good is that Baba?”
Baba smiled, “You have a treasure Abeke. Now return home at once. Borrow empty vessels from your neighbors, do not borrow a few. Then lock yourself and your sons and fill up the vessels with oil from the jar. Do that at once.”
Abeke wiped her face and immediately rushed to carry out Baba’s instructions.
She returned at midday, exhausted from the chore. “Wise One, the vessels are filled and the oil has stopped flowing.”
“Go and sell what you have accumulated. Pay up your creditors and live on what is left.” Baba instructed further.
Abeke thanked the old man and moved quickly.
In a few weeks, her debts were paid and she and her sons continued the business, living fine.
It was a singular event but her sons, Biodun and Babadare had learned a vital lesson. There was nothing like an empty vessel. Olodumare had blessed everyone with a treasure. All a person had to do was discover the treasure within. Who better than Olodumare the giver of all things to inquire from?
They had equally learned that the gift should not be ignored or despised because it didn’t look like much or because it came naturally to some. Every gift was a treasure capable of making diligent hands stand before kings.