PurposePursuit

WISDOM

Wisdom copy

The story of King Solomon and his historic request for wisdom, knowledge and understanding instead of wealth, power and influence is perhaps one of the most discussed stories in scriptures. I believe more than anything else, that the story illustrates the importance of wisdom in leadership and the priority it must take if effective leadership can be experienced.

There is another story in the New Testament that I believe also illustrates in practical terms the importance of wisdom in leadership and in life generally. Scriptures tell us about one conflict that the early church had to deal with and which threatened the spread of gospel save for the timely intervention of the church leaders. The Gospel had been taken to non-Jews and the issue arose whether the new receivers of the Gospel needed to be conformed to the traditions of the Jews and the impossible demands of the Mosaic Law which the Jewish Christians still felt bound to follow. For instance, would the non-Jewish believers be required to submit themselves for circumcision? Would they need to obey laws about Sabbath, the Passover etc.?

Resolving this issue would require more than conventional wisdom. Only the wisdom of God and the working of the Holy Spirit could bring the body of Christ to agree on what the way forward should be. Thankfully, there was one man, Apostle James, who was gifted with the wisdom of God and as the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, his wisdom brought the church to safety. (See Acts 15:12-21)

So, when James wrote in his epistle about how to be wise, he knew what he was saying. He was the Solomon of the early church. And by virtue of his wisdom, he was the leader who could break the silence and proffer solutions to critical issues that threatened the unity of the church.

Let’s take a quick look at James recommendations for us all who desire to have his kind of wisdom. There are two things James asks us to do if we want to be wise.

  1. LIVE WELL: James says it’s the way you live not the way you talk that counts. Wisdom is first a matter of behaviour before it is a matter of words. People who will be wise must pay attention to the patterns in their behaviour. We must shun any attempt to twist the truth to sound wise. James says that’s not wisdom – it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
  1. LIVE HUMBLY: Another point James makes is that boasting that you are wise does not make you wise. Trying to look better than others or get the better of others is the very definition of foolishness for those who compare themselves with others are not wise. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom either. To build a reputation of wisdom, you have to live humbly. Such humility is a product of an encounter with God’s grace.

On the whole, we must always remember that true wisdom comes from God alone and as we interact with God’s Word, God’s wisdom rubs on us. As we live Kingdom Life, we demonstrate Kingdom Wisdom for the benefit of our own lives and those around us.

Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts in the comment section. What does wisdom mean to you?

Advertisements
PurposePursuit

GROWTH

growth copy.jpg

Do you remember MR NIGER D?

That was the acronym we were taught to illustrate the seven attributes of living things. For any organism to qualify as a living thing it must demonstrate these features of movement, reproduction, nutrition, irritability, growth, excretion, respiration and death. Don’t worry, this is not a post about biology, my focus actually is on the issue of growth.

Growth refers to the process of increasing in size, amount, value, or importance, developing physically, mentally, or spiritually. Growth is a natural expectation of life. It is the process by which life is expected to multiply in ability and capacity. Thus, when an organism is not growing, we say there is a problem, as if to say it has failed in the function of exhibiting life because growth is the mark of life’s supreme beauty.

The interesting thing about this however is that growth is never automatic. It is always the result of a process. Yes, growth and time are relatives, but their relationship is that of quality and not quantity. We can measure growth vis-a-vis time, but we cannot force growth because of the uncontrollable nature of time’s quantity. The point is, an organism does not grow because of a change in the calendar. On the contrary, it grows because of an intentional investment of time and resources in its development. This is why nutrition is very important to growth. A child that will grow needs food not a wrist watch.

Let me bring this home. There is an expectation that is placed on us who do purpose to grow in our capacity and capabilities. At the end of every 365 days, we roll over into another year, but how much newness do we experience in our realities? Just like a child can continue to celebrate his birthday even though he has not been able to talk despite his advancement in age, our growth is a process that depends not on the quantity of time we have used but on the quality of investments we have put into getting better.

Now, there are two kinds of growth. The first is what I call downward or internal growth which is the kind of growth that is hardly noticeable yet incredibly fundamental. It is the kind of growth by which a tree grows its root and by which human beings develops their internal organs. The second is the upward or external growth. It is the kind of growth people easily see but its quality depends on that of the internal or downward growth.

Jesus told the story of the farmer whose seeds fell on the rocky ground and sprouted immediately. The external/upward growth was quick but it didn’t last under the scorching sun because the internal/downward growth was imperfect. This is the major lesson among others, that I hope you glean from this post. Our Growth must first be downward before it is upward if we will survive the scorching sun and triumph over the drenching rain.

How far do you desire to go in the pursuit of your purpose? How high do you desire to rise? If you really want to go far and reach beyond the skies, I beg you to pay attention to the depth of your roots. Be intentional about your growth especially as it relates to your capacity and capabilities. Invest in your personal development. Keep it in mind always, that growth is never automatic. It is a process. Today and always, I pray God helps us to embrace that process. Amen.

I call you blessed.

PurposePursuit

INTEGRITY

Integrity copy

There is a story I read recently about the man Henry Heinz. He started a business selling horse-radish, but in 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debt as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny. He later went on to found the H.J. Heinz Company with its 57 varieties and became a leading American businessman. A devout Christian, he was known for the generous treatment of his employees and his generosity to Christian causes and throughout his life, Heinz conducted his business and personal dealings with the same integrity that led him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars he technically did not owe.

Heinz’ story illustrates how important a man’s integrity is to the kind of impact his life will be known for. Indeed, the quality of the impact of your purpose pursuit will ultimately be defined along the lines of your integrity, competence and charisma. So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on how you can become a person of integrity. The list is not exhaustive. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me when you finish reading mine.

  1. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN

One of the fastest ways to demonstrate your integrity or lack of it, is by things you say, the promises you make and the commitment you pledge yourself to. So, to develop a reputation of integrity you may want to adopt the James Solution: To be quick to listen and slow to speak. Think very hard before you make any promises knowing that your integrity is at stake and it is easy to lose. Don’t make any promises you don’t intend to keep and count the cost of every commitment before you use your tongue to break your hand.

  1. LIVE BY PRINCIPLES NOT FEELINGS

People who have committed themselves to the ideals of sexual purity are able to keep up with the integrity of their positions because they are committed to principles and not how they feel. Most sexual purity advocates can tell you about how sometimes their feelings go wild, yet they keep them under because they live by principles not feelings. Same goes for people who are punctual to every meeting. They certainly don’t always feel like getting out of bed, but they realize that time is the currency of life and they live by this principle always. The reason why many people lack a reputation of integrity is because they lack any form of creed by why which they live their lives. If you have not identified your core values and life principles by which your life will be guided, it may be difficult to become a person of integrity.

  1. WALK WITH PEOPLE WHO MODEL INTEGRITY

Integrity like every virtue, can be imparted by the act of modelling. If you walk with the wise, their wisdom will rub off on you. If you walk with people of integrity, their integrity will subconsciously become your aspiration and then your reality. So, identify people in your circle of influence who have demonstrated a record of unflinching commitment to integrity and intentionally commit yourself to stay round them more often. You can easily tell people who have integrity by paying attention to points 1 and 2 above, check if their words mean the world to them and if they walk by principles and not how they feel.

I’ll close with these words of former American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. They have inspired my commitment to a life of integrity, I hope they do so for you too.

“If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. A leader’s first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

Blessed? Let me know in the comment section.

Today and always, I call you blessed!