Sunday, November 22, 2015

Advice 2: Build Your Life On Scriptural Principles

Consider this for a moment. You are on the soccer pitch in a capacity filled stadium. You are about to take the last shot in the finals of a game that would be determined by penalty shootout. The hopes and aspirations of a whole nation rest on your shoulders. The game had been intense. Both teams have put in their very best for 120 minutes without a winner. Now, 80,000 fans at the stadium, and several millions watching across the globe are all focusing attention on you – some hoping you’ll score and others praying you’ll miss. You place the ball on the penalty mark, and take 3 steps backwards. The noise in the stadium is deafening and your heart beat is doing a double somersault! What a moment this can be! Whatever happens, your name will go down in the history books as the one who took the game winning shot, or as the one who caused the country to lose. It is a defining moment.
Our lives are a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time. 
Every one of us, at different point in life and career, are faced with defining moments! A lot depends on how we handle our defining moments. A lot depends on what we do at those moments, or what we don’t do; our decisions and indecisions. Our lives are a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time. 

I was faced with such a defining moment sometime in 1996. I had just finished my Ordinary National Diploma in one of the polytechnics in Nigeria. I was privileged to finish as the best graduating student in my class, winning the Rectors’ Award for that year. Shortly after, I was interviewing with one of the best oil companies in the country and was offered a job. The salary (as of then) was intimidating to say the least. I thought to myself “this would solve my financial problem and my family’s forever”! In the same week, I got my admission letter for a direct entry to a University, and was faced with a big dilemma. You may not understand how big this decision was if you didn’t know my family background. I needed the bucks so much at that time and any good way to get it would have been great. It was a big defining moment. I was going to play a shot that would later determine a lot of things in my life and career. Looking back retrospectively, I am glad I put the shot far beyond the reach of the goalkeeper (lol). Defining moments really defines. One way to better maximize your defining moments is to be “principle based”. When you live your life on principles, especially scriptural principles, you are better positioned to succeed.

As a science student in secondary school, I was fascinated by how our world was governed by laws and principles. These laws were no respecter of persons, tribe, age, colour or what have you. We were all subject to them and life is governed by them. We still are. Take the law of gravity for example. Anything that goes up comes down (except when a higher law is at work). It doesn't matter if it's in Australia or in Korea, in Africa or in the Caribbeans. Speak in diverse tongues for all you care, if you jump up, you are coming back in only one direction. I also learnt over time that principles don't change. Methods and techniques may change with time and technology but principles remain. The principle behind the automobile engine is still the same till date. However, the methods and techniques of building cars have evolved with time. If you stay put with a technique or method, you will soon become outdated. If you stay put with the principle, success is guaranteed.
When you live your life on principles, especially scriptural principles, you are better positioned to succeed.
 Principles give us direction in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. They are applicable to any given situation and will determine our direction. Those who do not have permanent principles will find themselves drifting along and making decisions that are personally expedient, short-term oriented and usually bad for their long-term success. May I submit to you then, that there are no better principles to live by, than those commanded by our Lord, who also lived by those principles? If you want to make the best out of your life and your existence, then, you’ve got to build your life on scriptural principles.

Here are some examples to think about:

You reap what you sow
If you play now (short term benefits), you will pay later.
If you want to be great, you’ve got to be a servant
Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Feel free to share on some other principles that has helped you live for God and succeed in life. God bless you.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Advice 1: Let God Be Your Source

Many thanks to my friend and colleague, Mogbekeleoluwa, I have my blog back! I’ve been strangely logged out for several months now, and couldn’t find a solution despite several attempts. I decided to seek for help, and here I am, back online. I am so happy to be back.

In the next few weeks, probably till the end of the year, I will be sharing a few pieces of advice with my friends. They are basically lessons I have learnt over the years, and in the recent past. Each week, I will share a piece, and will welcome comments/inputs, so others can read and be blessed.

I will start this week, with a fundamental advice, and perhaps the most important one:

Let God be Your Source:

In our age and time, we seem to be redefining success. Especially if you are from this part of the world, success is defined by how much you have in your bank account, they type of car you are driving, where you live, and the likes. We seem to have forgotten that no one can “really” succeed outside God. To put it bluntly, there is no true success outside God! I know a couple of those reading this will question me and say “Common, what about all those who are 'successful' and do not know God?” That is exactly why I used the word “true” to describe the kind of success I am talking about. True success takes its roots, and it’s depth in God. Success is much more than possession. It has a lot to do with your position with God. If God is not the foundation of everything you do, and live for, you are near the end of the rope.
Success is much more than possession. It has a lot to do with your position with God. 
 Remember the story of the rich fool? It is documented in Luke’s gospel chapter 12, verses 16-21. “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” What a story that that nails home my point. If it must be good, then, it must be God! When the root of your success or accomplishment is not God, then, I can predict that you’ll only be in the limelight for just a while. Very soon, the foundation will crumble, and the building will no longer hold.
Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.
Years back, I read about the famous 1923 “Who is Who in Industry” gathering at the Edgewater Beach hotel in Chicago, USA. There was a meeting of nine of the world's richest people at that time. Combined, these people had more wealth than the entire U.S. government at that time!! They were all very successful men, well respected and looked up to as people who had "made it". Newspapers frequently wrote articles about them, and many college professors had used these men as examples, to teach their business and finance classes, "how to make it" in the business world. The list includes:

Charles Schwab, the president of the largest steel company in the world and the first man in American history to make a one million dollar a year salary!!,
Samuel Insull, the president of the world's largest utility company,
Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock exchange,
Leon Frazier, the president of the Bank of International Settlements,
Jessie Livermore, a very successful stock market giant,
Howard Hopson, President of the largest gas firm,
Arthur Cutten, the greatest wheat speculator,
Albert Fall, member of the President's Cabinet,
Ivar Kreuger, head of the company with the most widely distributed securities in the world.

Even by today's standard, these were VERY rich men, and most people today would LOVE to be in their shoes..... or would they?? Let's look at how all 9 of these men, the most wealthy, powerful men the world, wound up at the end of their lives:

The first man to make a million dollars a year, Charles Schwab, died in bankruptcy just twenty five years later, having lived on borrowed money for five years before his death.
Samuel Insull had died penniless after spending some time as a fugitive from justice.
Richard Whitney spent time in Sing-Sing prison before his death.
Leon Fraizer, Jessie Livermore, and Ivar Kreuger all committed suicide because they were so unhappy with their life.
Howard Hopson went insane before his death.
Arthur Cutten died completely broke.
Albert Fall was sentenced to prison, but was released early so he could die at home broke and alone.

Need I say more?

God must be your source, and your foundation. It makes no business sense to gain this whole world, and lose your connection with the creator of the world. No sense at all.