In the winter of 2009, a large passenger plane made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. The pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who landed the plane safely with no casualties, was later asked about those moments in the air when he was faced with a life-or-death decision. “One way of looking at this,” he said, “might be that for 42 years I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on [that day] the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”
Each of us has a bank of experience that can enhance our ability to explore and maximize opportunities around us. Dr Myles Munroe once shared the story of how he first came on air. Archbishop Benson Idahosa was to minister at a conference but the Nigerian preacher could not make it for the programme. Dr Munroe was asked to speak in his place and the rest became history.
In his testimony, Dr Myles said he had faithfully taught in his small church for 10 years but by that one call, his ministry was transformed forever. The truth is, he had been preparing himself for that day which he had envisioned while exploring the “little” opportunities around him.
How can you make deposits in your Bank of Experience as you get yourself prepared for the various opportunities that may demand a withdrawal from your bank?
One, learn everyday. Don’t wait till when you are asked to speak before you learn to speak. Don’t wait till you own a blog before you learn to write. Learning something new must be part of your daily goals.
Two, be faithful and fruitful where you are. Many people miss small opportunities while they are “trusting God for their big opportunity.” Be faithful where God has put you. Bear fruits in abundance and when it is time, your big opportunity will come.
While as people pursuing God’s purpose we do not believe in luck but in grace, we can glean some truth from Roman philosopher, Seneca’s wisdom when he said luck is when preparation meets with opportunity. Whatever that big opportunity you have envisioned is, you can start preparing for it by making the best use of today, learning faithfully and bearing fruits selflessly so that you can have sufficient balance to make the necessary withdrawal for tremendous impact.
Happy New Year!
May this year bring you new opportunities for greater exploits and may a new and better you be unveiled!
When I thought about what my first post of the year should be, a myriad of topics crossed my mind… You know, the new year talk about setting goals, resolutions and so on. But I figured you have probably read a lot of that already and by now, your goals for the year are all set. You may have even started the journey to having your best year ever.
So, this week I just want to encourage you to keep your focus on the things that matter to God and His purpose for your life. Make it your life goal to please God in every way this year.
Be reminded that this may be the year that Jesus will return. So live prepared.
Sometimes ago, I read a story about a French general during the First World War.
At the First Battle of the Marne during the war, French Lieutenant-General Ferdinand Foch sent out this communiqué:
“My center is giving way, my right is retreating. Situation excellent. I am attacking.”
He was caught in tight circumstances, hard pressed on every side, his strategies for battle were failing, yet he said the situation was excellent and perfect for an attack. His willingness to see hope in that tough situation eventually led to victory for his troops.
Things may not go as you have planned them. You may find yourself trapped in the valley of decision, and your centre may seem to be giving way. Do all you can to keep hope alive. Say to yourself, “This situation is excellent for an attack in the place of prayer and in the acquisition of the right knowledge…”
Issues around your family, business, health or ministry may put a pessimistic spin on the great attitude with which you have started the year. I pray then, you will remember my words, believe the situation is excellent and let go so God can be most glorified!
Someone once visited my blog for the first time, read the stuffs and came back and asked;
“Are you not bothered?”
“About what?” I said.
“The traffic on your blog…”
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked as though I knew not where he has headed.
“You have great contents but people seem to hardly come by. Few likes. Few comments. I don’t know how many followers you have sha…”
“Oh… Well, I am not bothered. People read my blog. They tell me they were blessed and that alone gives me the feeling of God’s pleasure. My concern is not the comments, but the impact.”
“OK then… Great work!”
I thanked him. As he walked away.
Truth be told, I lied. I check my WordPress stats everyday; refresh my Notifications every time especially when I just published.
And as I read through my Reader, I see blogs with great content like mine but with greater success by the numbers. I see blogs with hundreds people engaging the writer and the piece and I compare. I am frustratingly discouraged. Yet, I continue to write. I continue to read. I continue to deliver great contents.
Earlier in the year I asked my editor if he knew anyone who could be my blog critic. I figured there must be something wrong with my posts as the stats tell me. But the guy said the Word of truth needs not be criticized. He advised I requested for the honest opinion of some people about my blog as well as ask them to keep their comments about my posts coming throughout the year with the goal of making me better. I did and the response was good.
Last month, as I read Don Cousins’ Experiencing Leadershift, I saw that the problem is not peculiar to me. He shared the stories of several pastors who were complaining about the stagnancy the numbers exclaimed in their ears. Some were angry. Some became hard-driven. Others frustrated. Worse, some began to compromise their messages.
Cousin says these are the dangers of focusing on the numbers as our evaluation of success. I agree with him. We must take note of the numbers no doubt, but we must not focus on them as determinants of our success.
“Success defined by numbers is the language of the world and reflects the economy upon which this world is built. Applying the language and economy of this world to the Kingdom of God is unsafe and unsound.”
As I began pondering on this, I started to ask about how then I am to measure success. I want to be a successful blogger. I want to be a successful speaker and writer. But how can I know when I am successful? I know you also want to be successful in the work God has placed in your hands. You probably have had to ask yourself if you are being successful.
Don shares his thoughts on this and what I call the 4Fs of success. I first read about the first three in Leslie Haskin’s Held.
1. Your faithfulness.
The first parameter for the evaluation of your success according to our Kingdom’s standard is your faithfulness. Rick Warren once said that God will not judge you by what he has not given you. You will be judged for your faithfulness with the gifts, talents, passions, personality and experiences you have been given. The story of the talents come to mind here. Do you notice that the Master commends both guys for their faithfulness and not for the amount they brought back in?
2. Your fruitfulness.
Jesus said our Father is most glorified when we bear fruits. Success in God’s kingdom is measured by how much your life and purpose pursuit manifest the fruit of the spirit as well as the fruit of good works. How much do you love? How much joy do you experience? Do you have peace? How long can you wait in the queue?
3. Your fulfillment.
The disciples that Jesus sent on a missionary journey came back with their hearts full of joy. They were fulfilled doing the work. Your purpose is the point where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs. Thus, we can measure success the Kingdom-way, by examining whether or not we feel God’s pleasure as we do what we do. Remaining in a work you are not fulfilled at does not only make you failure, it kills the success of others.
4. God’s fame.
Jesus said we should let our light so shine in a way that men see our works and glorify our Father in Heaven. The ultimate focus of our faithfulness, fruitfulness and fulfilment must be to make God famous. There is a way we can work and only God will be glorified. My favourite song by Lecrae is Background. We must let God take the lead and we just play the background.
I still check my stats. I really would want you to drop a comment after reading this and like the post if you can. But I am learning not to measure the success of my pursuit by what the numbers say.
There is more dangerous effect of focusing on the numbers and that is Pride.
Noticing the numbers is valuable. But it is important we do not make them our focus lest we become successful in the wrong assignment!