What do you think of when you hear the expression, “Paul ammba ntsem”? I’m guessing you imagine someone who has just been introduced to something but is trying to act like they invented it, right? Somebody who has just been taught how to do something, but is “chopping post with it as if he’s been doing it since puberty. Yeah, that’s who we tend to describe with the expression “Paul ammba ntsem”.

But think about it for a minute. The actual expression is “Paul ammba ntsem, okyen edzikanfo”, which means Paul who came later is greater than those who came earlier. 

Now, here’s the thing about Paul. By the time he started his missionary work, Jesus had been dead for 16 years. During that time, Jesus’ disciples and all the followers they recruited – all those who met Jesus and witnessed His miracles – all those who had been inspired by being in the presence of the Lord while He carried out His three year mission here on earth – had either been executed or had gone into hiding. They had tried to spread the Gospel, but it had not been easy at all.

Paul, after his encounter on the road to Damascus, took up missionary work under the same dangerous conditions and did it diligently for 16 years, until he was executed. During that time, the guy spread the Gospel to more parts of the world than anyone else before him. 

He travelled tens of thousands of miles around the Mediterranean, being thrown in and out of jail, all in the bid to reach as many people as possible with the simple message that Jesus was the son of God. So when people say Paul ammba ntsem, okyen edzikanfo”, it is actually about legacy. It is about doing more to further the cause of what you believe in than anyone who came before you. 

So what are you passionate about? Are you an artist? A professional? An administrator? A service provider? Whatever path you have chosen in life, you owe it to yourself and the world, to do something with it that nobody else who came before you could ever do. 

You owe it to the world – to those who will come after you – to further the cause of whatever you believe in. Take it further. Leave more than you found. You may have come later, but you MUST do more than those who came earlier. Otherwise, what is the point of having come at all? 

We don’t know how long we will be blessed with this opportunity, but we must gear all our efforts in however little time we have here to do more. To leave more than we found. To be greater than those who came earlier. We won’t always get it right. We will make mistakes on the way, but we cannot give up. We cannot stop until we have left our own legacy in whatever space we operate.

So my friends, today, I want you to think about what legacy you wish to leave once your work is done. How do you want things to be better because of your involvement? Once you decide on what your legacy is, it must become the engine for everything you do. It must define all your choices and determine the allocation of all your resources – especially your time – from now on. 

Your legacy becomes your agenda. It is how you will be remembered. It is by your legacy that people will determine whether or not you mattered. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter how important you think you are in the grand scheme of things, it must still matter that you were here.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I didn’t come earlier, but those who did inspire me to do more.