Trading with gifts understanding what works for you.
What a day it was, sitting outside the front yard of a small duplex, trying to catch some cool evening breeze as I meditated. What on earth could be the reason I’m here? Going through many clues I drew from happenings and studies, I seemed rather more worried and confused; I couldn’t tell nor interpret where life was leading me. Could I ever change the happenings around me? I thought about these things, trying to find what pleases me the most to do, night fell and indoors I went still pondering about this prolonged search for joy. What difference am I supposed to make? Do I have the capacity to create a change in my life and the lives of others? In response, all I got was silence. So I thought not everybody was created with a unique difference.
Everything I thought I wanted to do gradually stopped exciting me; looking inward, I could find no reason to think I was gifted in anyway except that I was answering a name that suggests I’m generally bright. Maybe I’m to do anything that comes my way and hope success happen to me? I thought. But deep inside, I heard a small unconvincing but persistent voice saying “you are greatly gifted” though I could not follow its convictions I still could not isolate it. It seemed a part of me knew more than I’m accepting to be true; something inside of me was waiting to be discovered and yet I hardly could find it.
Growing up trying to meet people’s expectations for me, broke me into, “world war me” I fought to impress my family, peers and rivals, and none of this was easy; lacking the necessary passion to maintain steady growth in what they expected of me brought me words like “what are you good for?” over and over many more came and soon I grew to understand that the most difficult thing to be is what others want you to be. And the reverse is true; the easiest thing to be in life is you.
We seldom ask the wrong questions over and over when it comes to choosing our path way and that, prolongs our self-war.
The right question to ask is “WHAT CAN I DO?” and not “WHAT SHOULD I DO” what you can do plays to the area of your strength, what people want you to do most times plays to your weakness hence your struggles – “what can I do?” that question made me search deeper to find myself. Finding “what works for you” is about the toughest search many people who grew up like me might face on their road to success. Perhaps you see your parent’s wishes or your spouse’s desires each time you look inward to see what it is that you were designed to do. But I have to say it the only way I know to say it
“You Will Never Be Fulfilled Until You Find What Works For You”
You may not see any unique difference in you, but, I can assure you there is! Everybody on earth has a plus factor called “gift”. I don’t know what your gift is, but, I do know for sure you have one, maybe two and your geniuses is tied to it. Outside the area of your gift all you will ever be is average. People get frustrated with life and blame it on happenings and people but the real problem is them. I once had a copy of the year book of one of the departments in Delta State University, Nigeria. Going through the details attached to each student’ picture, I saw a column that read “what would you have studied if given a second chance?” It was a BIOMEDICS student’s year book; the student whose profile I was reading said she would have studied law. What a shock to me. So I wanted to see what her other classmates reply was, and I was shocked at what I saw, that out of a hundred students, only four wanted to read BIOMEDICS. What a disaster! I exclaimed. But that is even truer with thousands of people out there. A lot of people are busy getting professional in what they don’t love to do. It’s like spending a lot of money to wed a woman you don’t love at all, hoping that might change things. Professionalizing in what you don’t have passion for will only make you professionally poor in life. Certificate does not make people rich and will never make you rich.
They lied to us that a good grade from college is the key to success in life. But the truth is, even though good grades are good, they don’t determine our grades in live. I’ve seen 1st class holder live 3rd class lives, and 3rd class holders live a 1st class. It’s not the name of the course you studied or are studying nor is it the grade you left school with, but what you love to do – what you are built for – that makes all the difference. Success is an illusion – it cannot be defined with “things”. For instance, success is not money or more money, but money follows it anyway – people study to be successful and that is why they keep failing. Success is reaching a very large number of people with your difference – making life better for others with your gift(s). Certificate, when it is not in the area of your gifts (natural abilities), only makes you a part of the problem the world is trying to resolve. But your difference which is your gift, makes you part of the solution to a problem. There are too many poor people, too many people to be helped and carried along please don’t add to the number. Choose to be part of the solution, join the few who are proffering solutions, by been you.
Nobody can be you effectively, only you can be you; why deny your generation your difference pursuing success. If you pursue significance success will chase after you. A friend of mine shared an experience he had while studying for his degree in computer engineering in Nigeria. In his fourth year in school, they offered a course “microcontrollers” he said everything looked like a mirage to a lot of them, but then, a student Olaye by name, worked into the class one day demanding for their attention. He brought out a copy of the chip they were studying which he designed just to show them the tiny thing they all were struggling to understand. “We were all amazed because he seemed like he was miles away from us”. Olaye loved computer, but many of his class mates had to study computer for one reason or the other, other than for the same reason Olaye was studying computer. A lot of them where studying for the certificate instead of the knowledge. Would you be shocked if those students tell you they wanted to study something very different from computer engineering? May be their parent’s idea of been successful is having a doctor as a first son and an engineer as second, and a female lawyer – but that is the perfect blue print for raising disasters. If you want to have a doctor in your family, you go read it yourself and allow others be who they were born to be. If Fela’s father had allowed his son study the music he wanted to study, instead of insisting on him studying to become a doctor, the son of a priest won’t have ended up an idolatry singer. If Muhammad Ali was left to be who he was born to be “a boxer” and not kicked out from home by his Christian parents he wouldn’t have ended up a Muslim boxer. If you dare to be who you were born to be, nothing will stop you from excelling. Don’t pursue after success, pursue to be excellent in your difference and success will come chasing after you.
A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16
It’s your gift(s) it says, not your certificate. Please get your certificate, it’s good, I have mine also, but major on your gift. It is the key to affecting your world
I have wondered as a child how my story was going to change, I thought a lot on how my share of success was going to come to me. I thought I was in the wrong family, had the wrong people around me and for sure, the wrong citizenry. But when I dared to be who I am, and embraced my difference my story began to change. My family became a gift to me and my country the best place to come from. Your story might be un-admirable at present but the good news is this:
Stories change and we are the ones who change them by changing ourselves.
Am I gifted?
The Answer is “YES”
Your Gift has already been presented; the only question is, “Are you ready to accept it?”
Before we begin to discuss this, I want to make certain points clear so you can follow effectively.
Firstly, our natural gift(s) are different from spiritual gifts. No human being ever has lived to become successful depending only on his natural giftings. It’s a fact! All outstandingly successful people you can identify had/have spiritual backings: depending on whom they yielded/yield to – God or the devil. You also must understand that discovering your gift(s) does not make you independent of your source which should be God Almighty.
You must understand that your gift is your difference – for instance, a car is designed to run and air planes are designed to fly, a ship to move on water. If you try to fly your car all you get is frustrations, and just because both the ship and the car can run does not mean you can interchange the platform on which they function: ships move on water while cars move on land (at least in our time) – that is what I’m trying to get to you; you are designed for something. If you operate your life in the wrong field you will think you are good for nothing, but that’s only because you are in the wrong field.
Secondly, your gifts are given to you to enable you carry out God’s plan for your life, and spiritual gifts come to enhance and power you for that purpose to be fulfilled.
Haven said that, we will be concentrating on discovering your natural abilities which is your gift.
Many times as I teach at conventions and seminars on this topic I ask the question “what was the gift of Joseph in the bible?” and I always get the answer chorused “interpretation of visions”, then I ask, when was the first time Joseph ever interpreted a dream? And they go “in prison” Genesis 40:8.
And the next and last time we ever read of him interpreting visions was before Pharaoh (Genesis 41).
So I ask “how come we only can site but two occasions of him interpreting visions and we conclude that must be his gift?”
Joseph in his early age dreamed like every other young lad in town and had problems with the interpretation of his own dreams and had to seek his father’s help for the interpretations, but years later he could interpret the dreams of other people – I see that as a spiritual endowment. You will notice that his ability to interpret pharaoh’s dream brought him out of prison but it didn’t make him prime minister – his gift did! What gift?
Going through the story of Joseph we see traits that most people never noticed.
I wondered why it was necessary for instance for the bible to write of Joseph:
“…and Joseph brought unto his father their (referring to his brothers) evil report”
I believe he naturally was a prudent person and wouldn’t conceal any wasteful act, and this made his father love him and of course he earned his brother’s dislike. You might not be able to say what his gift was at this point but if you look carefully as he arrived Potiphar’s house; after been sold out by his brothers into slavery, we read in Genesis 39:6 that
“Thus he (Potiphar) left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.” Emphases added
We see how Potiphar would leave his entire estate in the hands of a slave, not because he was good behaved but because Joseph was gifted with the ability to manage. That alone won’t prove it, but few years afterwards he found himself in prison. Here was what happened in prison
“And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper” Genesis 39:22&23
How on earth would a prisoner become a prison administrator? I believe he must have solved management problems, food crises and so on, over and over by suggestions and advice and his advice must have always been the way out; at a point they decided to leave issues with him to handle. He knew how to manage and over time had developed that gift to the point his geniuses was revealed. Years later, he stood before pharaoh to interpret his dream, and we could be sure of one thing; if he had not developed his gift, pharaoh would have released him from prison and perhaps freed him to return home, maybe with some gold as extra reward. But something else happened, when he gave the interpretation to pharaoh’s dream, he gave his counsel also because it was in the line of his giftedness.
"Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. "And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. "Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine." So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" Genesis 41:33-38
Preserve perishable foods for seven years? That’s impossible! Who can do a thing like that? And all eyes came straight back to Joseph – he had done it in Potiphar’s house, in prison and sure can deliver on a national call – and so he was appointed prime minister to do the job and he did it just fine.
We see therefore that it was his ability to manage – not interpret visions – that made him prime minister!
Most people search superficially when seeking for what they are gifted with. Some people will say I think my gift is singing or dancing, playing an instrument just because that’s what they see people display and if they can’t do likewise they conclude they are not gifted. You can’t find your gift just looking at other people.
When I was growing up as a child, I had the desire to tell stories. I could tell imaginary stories for weeks in series. I usually would have children of my age group gather to hear me talk. When I paused for the day to continue the day after, I sometimes will need them to remind me of the names of my characters, then I pick up from there and I never got stranded of story lines. Most times, they cry and other times they cheered as the story will demand. I was quick to learn and also thought very fast.
But things began to change as my family began facing some tough challenges, things changed and I never had the opportunity to tell stories anymore; it seemed at a point I completely lost that gift.
Many years after, I began searching for what works for me. Of course I didn’t even think for once I could teach. I saw people sing in church so I wanted to sing too, it worked for me a little but, I couldn’t give it everything I had because it was not from within. Later I tried playing some instruments and the same thing happened. I decided to choose a career for myself, I wanted to be an accountant and went for it – but then, I began to notice when I began talking to God about helping me find my gift, that, I naturally wanted to teach – I could teach from a material I was seeing for the first time and make everybody understand it – just that I will have to understudy it again to know it for myself. I could even teach what I don’t understand – all I need to do is read through whatever I want to teach and attempt teaching it. I also found out, I could write so naturally and I enjoy doing both. I could seat on my computer and write for nine hours and not feel it. I could teach for hours and think I’ve been talking for some minutes, yet there are those who teach as a profession who always can’t wait to run out from their classrooms, or churches; it’s not in them but they can’t admit it. Don’t frustrate yourself doing what you don’t love doing. Find yourself and life will take a new shape for you. God designed you for a specific purpose and endowed you with gift(s) that matches His purpose for your life.
For instance, God called David to lead his people Israel as their shepherd. David naturally loved to shepherd flocks, he was a born fighter and a man of war, and this also was needful for kings in those days. He had everything needed to live the life of a great king and of course, the anointing came on him to empower and fortify him to fulfill purpose – the anointing is our spiritual backing.
Peter the Apostle and leader of the first church, naturally loved to fish and Christ didn’t change that, He only transformed that ability of catching fishes to fishing for souls.
Whatever God has gifted you with is the tool he has given to you to live life here on earth. Don’t trade it for inferior tools.
Some people have their gifts conspicuously obvious from childhood, but for many others who had no opportunity whatever to express their gift(s) at the early stage of their lives most times have difficulty figuring out what it is they are gifted with, as the traits or pointers to their gift(s) have been suppressed over time. Looking at Joseph we see why many people miss their gifts for their skills. Your “Skills” in this contest is your “acquired abilities” and your “gifts” your natural abilities. You have to live with your gift(s) not your skills. That also mean you have to be skillful in your gift(s). I will talk on that on subsequent chapters.
Where your passion is, there lies your geniuses.
Nineteen-year-old Liu Shih- kun was an esteemed concert pianist in China until the Cultural Revolution banned all things of western influence. Refusing to renounce his beloved music, Liu was deemed an enemy of the people, beaten and imprisoned. There he languished in a tiny cell with no books, no paper, and even worse; no piano. Six years later, for propaganda reasons, he was asked to play in beijing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. After years without an instrument to practice on, he performed brilliantly. Eighteen months later when he was finally released, he again played flawlessly. That Liu survived is remarkable; that his hands continued to move as if they'd never stopped playing is amazing.
His secret? Stripped of everything musical, for seven and a half years Liu disciplined himself to shut out negative thoughts and practice hour after hours on an imaginary piano.
Liu is one out of many others who have decided to live with their passion. How could you explain a man tapping his hands on the floor everyday rehearsing with an imaginary piano except for the word, passion? It’s pathetic when I see people take as hobby’s what they love doing and struggle to earn a pay cheque with their certificate in a field they have no passion for. I consider that a great disaster. You can’t imagine the joy and success you are trading off for a life of struggles. Just because you earn your living from what you are doing now doesn’t mean that is what you were born to do. A lot of people try to make life out of their skills just because they can’t see a way out with what they really would love to do, but if you dear to do what you have passion for with everything you have, you will be amazed how much success would come out of you. We all do what we are born to do without a sense of been paid to do it. I get paid for teaching, but that is not my motivation. Money is not your motivation when it comes to doing what you were born to do. The joy of doing it better and been appreciated is what motivates you. And that is the magic. All you need to motivate you is to be doing that thing – because that is where your passion lies.
Some people don’t understand themselves; they have so many hobbies and can hardly point to their gift(s) amidst them. Well, hobbies are things you love to do, but where your participation lies is a clue to what you are born to do. For instance, I have a friend who loves watching and reading about football. He knows more about the English football than the English do themselves. But, you will never see him play football. He enjoys watching and reading football updates but, he is actively involved in music. He can forgo a football match to be in studio. His participation is in music but he is a good and addicted fan of football. The sad news is, many people are doing what they are not built for, but they are the best fan of their gift(s). Hobbies helps you enjoy watching other people fulfill their dreams, but doing what you are born to do, makes other people enjoy watching you.
Embrace yourself, embrace your uniqueness and never attempt living outside yourself. You can be you effortlessly. I have never seen a person doing what he was born to do who doesn’t derive joy doing it. Many people today depend on motivational tapes and books to survive because they are practically in the wrong field. The man MC Hammer said on TV once, “I practice dancing nine hours every day”. They say “genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration” you cannot put in effortlessly the required “perspiration” when it is not in the area of your gift - It’s going to take so much from you to do that. It’s like trying to make a lion live on water or a fish on land. When a fish is in water it can swim all day effortlessly, because that’s its nature. If you are not gifted in an area you will need extra passion and hard work to match the productivity of one born for that field, and the amazing thing is that if that person puts in as much effort as you, you will never come any close to matching him. You are at your best in your gift. I can teach for hours and not feel exhausted, but some other guy can sing for hours and not feel tired and I can’t do that. Now, I don’t try to be the other guy, I just enjoy being me.
You have to understand that geniuses are not extra-ordinary people who can do just anything better than any other person. No! Geniuses are people skillful in their gifts - that’s all. Lionel Messi is a football genius but cannot run like Usain Bolt. Bill gate is a genius in computers but cannot play the keyboard like Yani. Ben Carson is a medical genius but has no technical knowhow in the automobile field. You are not born to do just anything. You are not a general tool. You have your own uniqueness and you have the seed of genius in you. But, your genius is in your field, outside your field you only can be but average. Stay in your field, and your passion will drive you into greatness.
Don’t lose yourself for anything. Move in your uniqueness always. Maybe my story about the monkey and the fish will help drive the message home.
There was a little monkey who strolled to the stream one day to swim. While he enjoyed himself, he met a beautiful fish and they both chatted and that meeting produced several other visits by the monkey to that stream. One day the monkey complained and said to the fish why don’t you visit me? If you love me come with me to my home. Since the fish was sincerely in love with the monkey, she decided to go home with the monkey. The monkey was so glad to have the fish in his arms and he just kept singing to the fish in an attempt to entertaining her. But once they got home, the fish could not speak anymore. The monkey thought the fish was shy and tried to make her talk but not one word came out of her mouth. When the monkey’s mum came, the monkey complained to her that his friend has stopped talking. The mum observed the fish and found out that it was dead. So she asked him “how did you bring her here?” “In my arms” he answered. Then the mum nodded her head and said “your friend must have died on your way home”. Why? He asked. The mum explained, “She can only survive on water and you on land, so you should have moved her in her survivable environment”
I think a valuable lesson here is this: don’t lose yourself for anything. Move in your uniqueness (in your survivable environment) always. Bill gate said at a time in his life in college, because of his commitment to his computer, his girlfriend asked him one day to choose between her and his computer and Bill said he choose his computer and of course, she broke up with him. I believe today that, wherever that lady may be, she would see how dumb she was, asking Bill to give up his destiny to attend to her loneliness. Don’t give your life up to be in the company of anybody or a group of people. If you love fashion and your friends keep trying to talk fashion down and kill your passion, you will need to change friends. Following their path will only kill the only thing that could bring you joy, the one thing you can do best. Note that in the long run, when you fail to fit in well into what they choose for you, they will be the ones to ask you “what on earth are you good at?” Be you, create your own world and be in your “survivable environment” always.
Your passion is in your gift
Developing your gifts:
How do I develop my gift? Was the question asked by a gentle man. The answer was clear and straight in my mind but I’d wanted a way to make him feel he discovered it himself, that way he will never forget it. I quickly recalled an annual dance show conducted by one of the malt drink producers in my country. Families are selected from all over the country to compete in dance. I notice in one of the editions I followed, that, most of the families hardly where impressive at first, but as they proceeded in the show, pressure mounted and as things got even more serious they became much more organized and creative. By the time they were close to the finals, the whole country believed all the surviving families stood a chance of winning the contest; suddenly they stood a chance to be named the best family dance group in the country. My question is what changed them in three weeks? The secret is in the following points.
Wicked people with a goal will accomplish more great things than good people without a goal. Mike Murdock
“And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them…” Genesis 11:6
A goalless life will end up anywhere except the desired place. Genesis 11 shows us what could happen when everything within us is speaking one language, and going one direction. Goals give us a reason to strive, a reason to hope and certainly without goals we will be living aimlessly. It is discovered that students who go to college without a determined grade in their hearts to leave college with, always come out average and many others less than average. You can’t practice or work consistently successfully without a goal.
I joined my church’s choir some years back and I came to meet an un-answered question “why is it that the choir suddenly grows in attendance once there is a concert the choir is hosting but afterwards it just starts shrinking?” I thought discipline was the answer until I began to understand the human nature and the power of goals. Goals attract and propel momentum. People want to feel they are moving towards something great and reaching that targeted-point will naturally cause them to give much more effort than usual. The problem is, we celebrate and admire our past success for too long that we lose the will to pursue another goal. You shouldn’t stay a day without a goal in front of you. The momentum built from the success of one task should start the next. That way you don’t keep striving to build momentum.
The secret to effective goal setting is not in just setting a goal to pursue but setting exciting and challenging goals; something worth pursuing. Your goal is what you want to achieve. The people in Genesis 11 had one clear goal in mind and that was to build a tower to reach to the heavens, and the reason for that was also clear
Verse 4 “And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
Every one of them could see what was to be achieved, and they all understood why they were doing what they were doing. This was the reason God said they would succeed if He doesn’t stop them. But isn’t that what many of our goals lack? Clarity and purpose! I remember making a resolution once to run 30minutes every day. I kept the routine for a week and that was the end. All I wanted to achieve with that was to keep fit and that obviously became too much a price to pay for me, I lost persistence and gradually resorted to some other means to keep fit. But if I wanted to train to win a gold medal in the Olympics, 30 minutes running daily becomes too little a time to put in to achieve that. My commitment would be totally different. You see, your goal will tell you how much work you should be putting in. Without a goal you think you are doing great when you are simply wasting time and opportunity. Goals give value to time and it is true you cannot teach time management to a man without a goal. It is a sad thing for one to climb to the top of a ladder only to learn it is resting on the wrong window. Passion and zeal without a clear goal will be ineffective in bringing you success.
Set your goal and keep it clear before you; and everything within you should be speaking one language – “It is possible; I can do it”. If you can do this, then you can effectively stay determined, persistent and focused.
Many people are too busy doing a lot of things except the main thing. A lot of people use only their spare time in pursuit of their vision and goals while the rest of their time they spend trying to make a living. It is true that:
“Unsuccessful people do occasionally what successful people do daily”
In the dance academy, the contestants have no other thing to worry about but practice dancing. Their entire being is brought into the contest. This is one thing many talented people out there don’t do. They focus on too many things at a time.
If you want to cut down a tree with a machete and you place your first strike at the top of the three, the second at the bottom, and the third at the middle. If you continue in that sequence, you will never bring the tree down without been extremely exhausted, and if it’s a big tree it is certain you wouldn’t succeed in bringing it down. You have to put every strike on one spot and concentrate your energy on that spot, and then you will succeed in bringing the tree down. That is how you succeed also in your gifts. Focus! If your focus is broken you will fail, because your energy will be drained by the leakages. Check out on top successful people, they are completely focused on what they do. They don’t diversify into areas not connected to what they do. If you can bring the whole of you to do the one thing you love to do, you will be shocked how far you would go. Nobody is born to solve all types of problem. Trying to do that will only bring you failure. When I call Michael Jordan your mind goes to basketball; when I call Ben Carson your mind goes to medicine; when I call Adeboye your mind goes to ministry, if I say Messi, you say football; if I call your name what comes to mind?
Focus is so important; you can observe its powers demonstrated by dropping water. Water is formless and struggles with nothing, it just flows harmless as it may seem, but, can break through hard soils. That is what focus can do. Do one thing so well that your name becomes identical with it; to the point that when they call that thing your name comes to mind and if they call your name that thing comes to mind too. Focus is the only way you get to achieve that. Nobody has ever grown to be recognized for doing everything. Concentrate on your side of the line. Be you effectively; do what you do so well that nobody can do it like you; it’s within you to achieve it.
Solomon instructed in proverbs 27:23-27
23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26 The lambs will provide your clothing and the goats the price of a field;
27 You shall have enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks (the people your gift is meant to bless) for in doing that lies your provision. If you allow your gift(s) die you will never find fulfillment. Focus on what works for you, not on what brings money. Your gift(s) will eventually give you all the money you will need if you begin to attend to it now. Money has never made any man fulfilled; it could bring happiness but happiness is derived from happenings: when things go well you are happy and when they go bad you are sad, but joy keeps you lively no matter the circumstances. That is a state you need to be in always if you will succeed and money can’t bring you that joy. Don’t try to be everything, just be you, and just do what you are born to do. Focusing on your gift now could be a tough task for you, but proverbs 27:25-27 says “when the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; you shall have enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.”
It will pay you big tomorrow. But your tomorrow will look like your yesterday if you don’t focus on your gifts today.
3. Determination: once the contestants in the academy gets inside the house, they feel like a star knowing how many families contested with them to get a ticket into the competition. But soon they discover it’s not a smote ride to the top as they thought. The pressure grows but only the determined grow with the pressure, others simply want their lives back, they just can’t take the pressure anymore, they want to quit; the reason is they don’t have a strong will to win.
Talking about will, I noticed that those who really wanted to win the competition for the money didn’t come close to winning it. It’s true that amazing determination comes from wanting to give your absolute best. Having money as your propelling factor for striving won’t get you far; it only will put you into much more pressure than you need to grow. More so, if making money is your driving force, when the money seemingly is not forth coming you breakdown and your drive is weakened; you begin to loss out of life again. Your determination should come from wanting to reach people, to put a big smile on somebody’s face, and the joy of doing what you know how to do best better every time. Pursue effectiveness, pursue after been the best of the best in what you do and you will never go down with depression. If you are not determined you will give up many times on your way and almost never would you arrive at the top.
Determination is what makes you grow under stress, it just keeps you floating like a life-jacket, no matter the storms or challenge you keep pressing forward. Getting people to believe in you would not come cheap! People are not going to celebrate you; you will have to force them to believe in you by undoubtedly believing in yourself – bringing your geniuses to the stage of life. So between the times they start singing your name and the times they don’t even care to hear you out what do you do? You keep working not to impress people but to impress yourself with change – God began creating the world and had to commend himself after every creative art (Gen 1:10,), and went forth to impressing Himself with greater things. You can determine what you will be called on earth; I mean, if you want to be called the world’s best doctor, name yourself now and start working it out. Muhamed Ali called himself the world’s best boxer before he was ever acclaimed the world’s best; but he lived every day to prove to himself and the world that he was. Usain Bolt called himself the fastest man on earth before he was acclaimed the fastest man on earth; but he worked it out. They named you at birth but in life’s affairs you have the privilege to name yourself, don’t let people name you a second time. Chose to be called the best and live it out. Determination is the key to a life of success. Be determined to succeed because you can. And that brings us to the fourth point
4. Persistent training:
I once asked why people don’t put in as much effort as they do to win a contest into their daily routine. We are all born with a golden crown in our hands but not everybody wear theirs in their life time. The reason is this: not everybody aspires to be the best, but the truth still remains that everybody can be the best in their fields. So how do I become the best in my field? Asked a young man;
Answer: Do what others are unwilling to do continuously, daily!
If you love weight lifting and you are determined to be a gold medalist in weight lifting, it won’t make any difference if you read all the books ever written on weight lifting, watch all the training seminar on it, watch all the contests and championship matches, you will only end up a great fan of weight lifting if you don’t practice lifting weights. You don’t talk or read your gifts into its full potential; you practice. Many people want to be Usain Bolt, but don’t want to do the things he does on daily basics. Michael Jackson, they said, practiced several hours on a daily basis, Messi the great footballer does the same. Jesus my master and yours, would pray many hours before dawn when He was here, He is our perfect example. You have to put in the unusual practice to get the unusual result. That of course should not be an occasional act but a life style.
Consistency is the key to constant growth. When one is determined but inconsistent frustrations will be the end result. Don’t quit too early. There is a right time to give up and that is when you stop breathing, when you are called to rest by our Lord. But until then, you just keep pushing. Don’t be satisfied with your achievements yesterday that you take a rest the rest of your life. There is something new and magnificent God is going to use you to do, so do like Paul
“I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” Php 3:13
Reach out for more always. You can do new things.
There are two set of people that exist: the first set are people who are constantly striving to replicate or do what someone else have done, and there are those who take pleasure of giving the first set of people a tough time trying to catch up, because they are always breaking their records and once you thought you have reached their mark they just come out like a bomb with something new. Please join the second set! You can do new things, but you must be consistent in pursuing your vision.
Life happens to so many people, but few people happen to life. Be determined to bring a positive and unique change to the world. Make sure you write your name in the sands of time. Let the earth know you were here; that you fought and you conquered by God’s grace on your life.
I read of the story of a man who acquired the rights to a goldmine. He had his surveyors check the mine out and they came with amazing news, the place was full of gold. Happily they started digging for gold and soon hit a large gold dust, but not too long afterwards it was exhausted and further digging only revealed layers of dirt, frustrated that his expectations didn’t come through he gave up and auctioned the machineries and the rights to raise money to offset his debts. A young man who has been observing this company closely decided to buy up the machineries and rights at the auction. Afterwards, he called in experts to help check if there still could be gold in the site, during the course of their survey they discovered the company who started the digging were just a few feet to hitting a well of gold. When the man who first acquired the mine learnt of his great loss he almost died of heart-attack. He had labored for someone else because of inconsistency. Don’t let that happen to you. Hold on as you press on, and I can assure you nothing will stop you from succeeding in Jesus name. Amen
THE DANGER OF BURYING YOUR GIFTS
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. ”And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. ”And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. "But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.” Matthew 25:14-18
There are many things I won’t forget in a hurry especially experiences that thought me live long lessons, and this story is one:
I recall many years back; in a little town, where I began my secondary education. I was so glad to be resuming learning that faithful morning. What a joy to be with my friends in school once again, it was the second day of the week; arriving at school, it seemed everyone was in my kind of mode, the atmosphere was bright and I sure knew it was going to be one of my happiest school days, until a tall hard looking man came into our class. We greeted him in our usual way and in reply, he simply asked “how many of you did my assignment?” he was our geography teacher, and that day was the first time I was setting my eyes on him. Very few of us had our hands up; off course I didn’t know about any assignment. We responded “sir we didn’t know of any assignment and he asked “so what happened to the assignment I wrote on the board on Thursday morning?” obviously our class captain had cleaned it off thinking some persons had extra classes there the evening before, but few persons had copied it before he wiped it off. That made that day one of my worst school days, because we were punished severely. As bad as that may seem, I learnt that there are no excuses for failing.
It’s important we understand the reason we are gifted the way we are. Nobody is born without a purpose attached to his/her life by God. Not fulfilling that purpose will attract consequences.
When God told me to start talking to youth about this subject, I asked Him, Lord why is it so important? Let me teach them salvation and that will be okay. But God said “the kingdom is within my people, therefore the advancement of the people is the advancement of the kingdom” "…For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you" Luke 17:21
Not salvation alone He said, teach them to seize systems with the gifts I’ve placed in them.
You will understand why you need to fulfill your destiny when you read carefully the instructions of the great commission; it says
19 "Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 "TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" Amen. Matt 28 emphases added
The instruction is not just to make disciples of people but of NATIONS. Nations comprises of PEOPLE and SYTEMS. This is where Christians have been missing it. We have been going after the people leaving the systems in the hands of sinners and this is why things are the way they are. The system controls the mindset of the people; it determines their behaviors and ultimately makes them. So to seize the nations for Christ we have to be in-charge of the systems. Have you ever wondered why gospel artists are going secular? It is because to get the system to absorb you, you have to play by the rules, and who is making the rules? Certainly not the church; this is the problem we are facing right now, we win people to Christ, but they try to go into politics and the system corrupts them. If you control the system you control everything. Fashion, medicine, music, finance, agriculture, science, politics, sports, education, the film industry and so forth are all part of the system we are talking about and they must be seized by God’s people. To achieve this breakthrough, God placed gifts inside His children so they can be the answer to the problems of the system, seize it and influence the people with kingdom principles.
Can you see where you come in, in the big picture? You are gifted to seize a system, failing to do that keeps more people in darkness. I will like you to understand that it’s not all about you, it’s about the people God wants to use you to bless. You get blessed blessing them by God; but failure to be you will cost the kingdom some loses.
In the 24th verse of matt 25, we read:
…"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. ’And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' "But his lord answered and said to him, 'you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. ’So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 'Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
It’s shocking that the master will accrue the same punishment He would give His enemies to the servant who buried his gift. It seems to me neglecting ones gifts is a sin not just to humanity but to God. Why?
God created every one of us with unique potentials. And those potentials are given to us to help us solve a problem on the earth. The assignment attached to our gifts is what is called purpose.
Purpose is the reason for the gift you are endowed with. Why am I this gifted? And what is the assignment I’m here to carry out? You see, these are questions less asked. If you look carefully at the life of Joseph in the Bible you might say God just chose him to be great among his brethren, but though you are correct, there was a reason for that. Psalms 105 from 16th verse tells us
16 Moreover He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread.
17 He sent a man before them-Joseph-who was sold as a slave.
18 They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons.
19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free.
21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions,
22 To bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom.
23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham.
24 He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies.
Joseph was highly gifted with geniuses for managing and preserving things. He had high administrative abilities but all of those gifts where for a purpose. God was going to use this gifted boy to preserve the earth from the terrible famine that was going to come on the earth. If he had failed, many would have died. Secondly, God promised Abraham in Genesis 15:13
“… Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”
God wanted to raise a nation out of Jacob’s sons, so making Joseph prime minister in Egypt was also to help negotiate for the land of Goshen (Gen.47:1), the place where they stayed till they became a great nation; he would not have been able to do that if he was not greatly influencing the system in Egypt. These were the purpose for which God gifted him. What you have to understand is this: there are millions of people whose destinies are tied to your destiny. For instance, if Dr. Benjamin Carson did not reach out with his gift, many – if not all of those people he saved from dying – would have never had the chance to fulfill their destinies too. Whenever you feel like giving up; please don’t just look at yourself; look at the millions of people waiting for you. Most times we don’t see how our lives affect other people. But, it’s not about us; it’s about the people we are destined to reach out to. Failing to be you could be the death of thousands of people you might never ever set your eyes on.
A pastor told of, how, many years ago he was walking home so frustrated that he made up his mind to commit suicide as soon as he gets home. On his way, he heard the song “Don’t worry, be happy” playing; he said he stood transfixed listening to the music. By the time the song stopped playing, hope filled his heart. He went on to becoming a pastor and has helped thousands of people receive Christ today. The writer of that song had no idea how far that song was going to go saving people. Purpose is not a call to pleasure, having a nice family and being able to meet their needs, no! Purpose is always people oriented. There are people who will find themselves as you fulfill your destiny and the links goes down like that. If you break the chain by burying your gift you cause more troubles for someone out there. Purpose is not something you choose for yourself to accomplish. The one who created you has a reason He did. Your duty is to keep working with your gift, using every opportunity to be a blessing and He will guide you into His purpose.
Many people use their gift(s) to gratify the desires of the flesh. Don’t join those who give their gift(s) to the devil to use. The devil can’t gift you, he can only corrupt and use your gift to carry out his own purpose; he goes around searching for gifted people to corrupt, luring them with fame and wealth, the end of which is a terrible judgment. Don’t let him ruin God’s plan for your life. God has a perfect plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11, James 1:17). He gifted you and also will bring you to His wealthy place if you remain in Him. The devil has nothing to offer you – only temporal pleasure. Consider the lives of millions out there that God wants to use your life to bless. Don’t fail them, don’t fail your generation and don’t fail God. You can succeed with your gift(s) if you listen to the voice of God to you today.
Ordinary But Marked!
Ordinary people are the least sort after people in the world today. Nobody wants to employ an under-qualified person to run his business; all recruiters try to find someone with high level of intelligence, with the right degree, self-control, good stress management ability, good character, professional outlook and of course with the right motives, to work for them. Nobody wants a liability or an emotionally bankrupt, one without the right pedigree to run business for them and that is exactly why many people study and keep studying, updating their intelligence level so they can be chosen by employers – we acquire relevant experiences to give us an edge when faced with competitions. I’d gone for the best myself, following detailed recruitment procedure. But one day I decided to consider the way my Father (God) does His choosing. Once I discovered the way He does His choosing I concluded there was no need teaching it, because without a doubt I believe NOBODY WILL LOVE TO CHOOSE AS GOD CHOOSES.
If we considered carefully the choice of Jesus in selecting His disciples we would think He made a mistake in His choice. For instance, Luke 5:33 says
“Then they said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?..."
It’s obvious they were no match to the disciples of John the Baptist, nor the Pharisees’. Perhaps John wouldn’t choose them for disciples if they had gone to him. They could not fast nor did they know how to pray. No wonder they had to ask Jesus to teach them to pray. But the next chapter shows us another flaw in Jesus’s disciples.
“Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grain fields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?" Luke 6:1&2
They looked so uncultured; plucked fruits to eat without washing it. It seemed they had no sense of what the law says. But though they were completely unqualified by men’s standard, they were just the right persons for God’s use.
If we take a look at how Jesus chose His apostles in Luke 6:12
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles…”
Jesus was going to choose twelve apostle (or ambassadors) to whom He would entrust the great commission and because that was a crucial task He embarked on an all-night waiting on the father so He could choose the right persons for such a special task. But to my amazement He came down from the mountain and chose – by human analyses – the wrong persons. How could He have chosen Peter of all people, with all his rash self; Peter who would act before he thinks, not schooled and not even a successful fisherman, not to add a betrayer or Thomas the doubter; maybe He didn’t notice the personality of Judas. None of them would have been chosen if Christ had employed the service of some professional recruiters to help Him choose.
I would have said Jesus’ selection was just a scenario until I searched all through scriptures and found out that no man chosen by God was ever considered qualified by men. David was not considered by his father as fit for leadership, Joseph was forgotten in prison and nobody ever dreamed he could be anything anymore; Moses didn’t look like an hero anymore when he came back from the desert, Jephthah driven away and rejected, Gideon was found stealing from his own farm out of fear, Elijah chased by a woman, the list just goes on. None of them were qualified from men’s standard, but few years afterwards nobody was more qualified than they were.
People do say “Lord chose for me”, but only very few really mean for God to do the choosing without consulting them; many people who ask God to choose life partners for them always frown at first at Gods choice, as if to say “is this all you could find for me?”
Why? 1corinthains 1:27-28 answers it:
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are”
God always chooses the unqualified, because He does not need them qualified, He qualifies those He chooses. That’s just the way He is. You may not look qualified to be chosen by anybody, maybe a lot of people have given up on you, and perhaps they try to talk your confidence down always and now you think nothing great can come out of your life anymore. I have good news for you – you are God’s choice of a candidate. Don’t ever doubt it; God takes pleasure in making people. The devil won’t be fighting you left right if you weren’t chosen by God. Don’t ever give up on yourself because God is not through with you, you are right in His dressing room, just about to be flaunted by God as His work piece.
My biggest challenge as I came in contact with God was, believing that what He said He would do through me was possible. From all standard, I didn’t feel qualified and I didn’t look it either. Nobody thought I stood a chance. But God kept telling me you might feel you don’t stand a chance but I’m going to use you greatly anyway. What you think you cannot become, you will greatly surpass if you will just yield your weakness to God. You don’t need everybody to believe in you. Stop trying to win the crowd’s support to feel successful. Believe in yourself and lean on God. You might feel like a zero but, if you understand that one with God is a majority, you will be strong in His grace. God chooses the zeros of this world, and then He gives them value. When you place zero in front of “1” you already have “10” and if you add another zero you get “100” and the third zero will give you a thousand – you see, twelve apostles plus Jesus gives you a trillion “1,000,000,000,000”. You’d think Jesus should have appointed more apostles so they can match the population of the earth to spread the good news, but by God’s mathematics the twelve were already in majority. If God be for you who can be against you? But notice that if you remove the “1” the zeros become nothing but zeros once again. So Christ gives your zero its value and you must stay in Him to maintain your value. Unqualified people do better sticking to their source, because they know how value came into their lives, but qualified people are always self-made rather than God made. And His glory He said, He will share with no man. I want you to know your many challenges in life shows that God has a great plan for your life and that plan fits perfectly with the gift(s) He placed inside of you. Don’t ever think you are no good; God has a great plan for your life. Find your value in Him.
The grace factor
Grace is the extraordinary force that turns labour to gain. Without grace we apply so much effort but achieve only little results. Grace is God invading your labour with rest. You can be the best in a field but if you lack grace you will never be celebrated. Grace will make you attractive, well understood and loved by at least a majority. It is God’s fragrance on your life. Grace is also translated favour. It is God favouring you without the permission of a third party. Grace is accessible to all but by faith. It is available only to those who believe.
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace…;Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 4:16, 5:1-2
Grace is released in proportion to our faith. It is according to what you believe, so shall it be done unto you. You attract grace by faith. It is
© Copyright 2016 albright Benson. All rights reserved.
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