Unfamiliar Name, But Familiar Response To The Gospel
Obadiah Doka is a different sounding name to American ears but his response to the Gospel has a familiar ring that reminds one of New Testament times. Obadiah was born in the hinterland of Nigeria into the family of what Americans would call a witch doctor. He was a very serious minded young man. While he was in high school, he visited a sick friend and saw a folded piece of paper on a table. He asked about it. His friend was very evasive in answering because it was a World Bible School introductory lesson and the tribe they were members of believed in animism. A known interest in Christianity could bring death, literally. But finally, Obadiah read the lesson and had his friend send his name to the World Bible School teacher in the U.S. to become a student. As a result, a few months later he asked to have the name of a Nigerian preacher he could visit for the purpose of being baptized. After his baptism, he returned to his village. For a while, he concealed the fact that he had become a Christian. His father would have killed him had he known. Obadiah always found it necessary to care for the animals or crops when animistic worship services were being conducted. In time, he told his brother who told his mother. Obadiah converted his sister and both fled elsewhere until their father’s anger cooled. In time, the father accepted the fact of Obadiah’s conversion to Christianity and Obadiah was assisted by other Christians in coming to Freed-Hardeman University in the United States where he prepared himself to go back to Nigeria and preach the Gospel to his people.
Obadiah’s sacrificial acceptance of the Gospel even though it could have brought death is what is familiar. Although his family has accepted his conversion now, at first they were alienated. He did not know at the time they would ever accept the fact. He believed fully the promise of Christ: “And everyone that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.” Matt. 19:29.
Obadiah put the parable of the buried treasure into flesh and blood – the man in the parable sold all he had to purchase the field with the treasure. Matt. 13:44. He demonstrated what Christ meant when he gave us the parable of the pearl of great price in Matt. 13:45,46 in which the merchant sold all he had in order to obtain the one, fantastic pearl he wanted so badly.