The final instalment of our meditation on relationships that could make or break will be focused on work engagements, with specific emphasis on boss-employee or superior-subordinate relationships. Here are our references:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. – Acts 16:16-19
The fifth relationship we will consider under this series is the second part of work engagements, but our focus today will be on whom you work with/for. The personality of your employer or boss can also play a significant part in either you fare for better or worse in life.
Many people are fortunate to have worked with bosses who mentored them to greatness, or through whom they were able to find their own footing or niches in life. On the other hand, many people have also ended up working for masters with negative or diabolical inclinations who left them worse off than they were before their involvement; that is if they left them at all.
Some employers of labour gained their wealth through ritual means and they have occultic covenants that they renew with the blood of their staff or staff’s relations. Some even tie down the destinies of their workers such that they would amount to nothing in life. There is usually an ascription of authority with every engagement between/among humans in a gathering, team or an organisation. The person whose leadership you submit to has some influence over you. That is why the Bible says, “by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:19).
In the case of the benevolent bosses, our first scriptural reference tells us the example of Jesus Christ, and how He was able to develop individuals, whom the society would normally regard as dregs, into polished, learned and articulate fellows in the space of three years. And by the time He was through with them, Peter, an erstwhile crude fisherman, could stand and address a learned council of synod with such confidence and elocution that they wondered where he got his aplomb from. Then they realised that he had been with Jesus. There is no better testimony to the abilities of any master than that.
In sharp contrast to this, we see the example of a repressive master in the second passage. A young girl whose spiritual problem was the perfect merchandise her masters needed for moneymaking purposes. Their source of income was guaranteed for as long as the girl remained in that oppressed state. Did you see their reaction immediately Paul delivered the girl of her demonic possession? That is how possessive such oppressive masters can be and how violent they can get when anyone attempts to liberate their prey workers. It is not out of love for the worker, there are usually more at stake than meet the eye.
Hope these two passages provide enough insight to help you realise how important you should take the issue of the organisations you apply to for jobs as well as whose authority you submit to as boss or master. Such relationship can either make or break anyone.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
In continuation of our meditation on the relationship series, we will be considering business partnership or alliance.
Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold… Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. – Genesis 13:1-2, 5-6
Sometime later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea. – 2 Chronicles 20:35-37 (NLT)
The two scriptures above are self-explanatory in their moral. Thus, the third category of relationship we will meditate on today, in line with its ability to make or break, push up or pull down, is business relationships or strategic alliances.
God is very interested in the details of our lives. He wants us to marry a good spouse, maintain quality friendships and build successful businesses. But He is also particular about what we do in all of these and with whom we do them because, inasmuch as He is eager to bless us and prosper the works of our hands, we can restrain Him by the choices we make which contravene His counsel and expectations as spelt out in the Holy Bible.
In the first scripture, Lot was very fortunate to have pitched his tent with Abraham, a man favoured by God. In no time, he changed from being a helpless dependant into a prosperous fellow as the blessings of Abraham rubbed off on him in no small measure.
On the other hand, Jehoshaphat who was one of the star kings in the Bible got it wrong in business partnership or strategic alliance. He went into a partnership with Ahaziah, a man despised by God, and the venture proved ruinous with attendant loss of money and other valuables, as God scuttled it. Now, Jehoshaphat was a righteous king with a good testimony before God, but his right standing could not make up for the wrongness of his partner/ally, who was a time bomb waiting to explode – as God had intended to punish him for his misdeeds.
These two examples should help us see why it is very important to seek the face of God before we commit self and resources into a venture with anyone so that we can have a fruitful show for it and not end up fetching water with a hole-ridden basket.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
In this second instalment on our meditation on relationships that could make or break any individual, we will be considering friendship.
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. – Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)
Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you…I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all – Mark 2:3-5, 11-12
The second type of relationship with potential to affect any individual for good or for evil is friendship. Just like marriage, the kind of friends you keep, to an extent, determines how you fare in life. Friendship is one of the best indicators of your smartness; it is also a factor in how you are perceived by people. A popular maxim says, “Show me your friend and I will tell you the kind of person you are.” If you have quality friends, they will influence you positively; but if your friends are of the run-of-the-mill stock, they will rub off on you for not too noble ends.
In this fast-paced age, the word “friendship” is fast becoming synonymous with the term, “network:” that is the number of persons you maintain informal relationships with and whose friendship could bring you benefits ranging from jobs, business opportunities, and so on.
The passage above teaches us an important value of friendship: selflessness. The friends of this paralytic man seized the initiative of carrying him to the solution to his problem – Jesus, not minding the inconveniences of his weight and the distance they had to travel to do so. When they got there and couldn’t enter the house Jesus was, they did not give up and promise to bring him some other time. Rather, they forced their way to the solution – the presence of Jesus – by climbing through the roof.
Interestingly, the Bible recalls that Jesus appreciated their efforts – “He saw their faith” – and that was all He needed to stop what He was doing to attend to the man.
The question to ask yourself always, which should be your litmus test for measuring who your real friends are is, ‘Where are my friends taking me? Are they taking me to Jesus (the solution) or drawing me away from Him (the solution)?’ Your honest answer to these questions would help you ascertain which friendship you should cultivate and which you should severe.
The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Therefore, any friendship that is not helping you to become better or whom you are not helping to be better should be reviewed for relevance.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Relationships are extremely important because they are the package holding whatever life may present to us at every turn. For the next few days, we will be meditating on five relationships that are pivotal to human success or failure. Our focus today is on marriage.
But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. – 1 Kings 21:25
The first type of relationship with great potential to make or break anyone is marriage, particularly the choice of spouse that you say, “I do” to. Marital relationship is crucial to your balance and overall performance as an individual. You are as successful to the degree of cooperation you receive from your spouse. Based on his/her constitution, your spouse largely influences the thrust of your pursuits; when they are keen, you are also keen. But when they are not, you tend to doubt the workability of your ideas, and that may slow you down.
Marriage is a fundamental aspect of life. It is also a catalyst that colours and determines the thrust of your bearing in other areas of life – professional, social, academic, spiritual, emotional, etc. You are as settled in all these to the extent that your home is settled. The portrait of your home is in direct relation to the personality of your spouse – cantankerous, reticent, ambitious, laid back, driven, carefree, focused, disciplined, scattered, spiritual, social, ethical, morally lax, sociable, introverted, thorough, superficial, and other value systems that your spouse espouses and to what extent.
From the passage above, we can see that even if Ahab wasn’t so bent on evil, the influence of his wife who “stirred him up” left him with little room to do otherwise. The Bible is replete with several examples of spousal factors in the determination of how one fares in life, so is our contemporary world. Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from the LORD and positioned him for divine retribution (1 Kings 11:4-9); Samson was ruined because of the kind of woman he married. Korah, Achan, and Ananias brought sudden death upon their wives and households because of their wrong choices. Abigail saved her husband and household from certain death (1 Samuel 25); Zipporah rescued Moses from being killed by God (Exodus 4:24-26). And Mary might not have been chosen to mother Jesus if she wasn’t married to a descendant of Judah, particularly from David’s lineage. These are all pointers to the sensitivity of the choice of person you decide to spend the rest of your life with in marriage.
Marriage is something that should be approached with lots of fervent prayers for divine direction, as it is a destiny issue. Your spouse is your first destiny partner, and s/he can either fast-track, slow down or even stagnate you. That is on the light side; at the extreme, many people have had their lives cut short directly by their spouse or indirectly through their spouse’s choices or misdeeds.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Variables of Success and Prosperity (Part 3)
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
– Joshua 1:7
Success experts and motivational speakers have also told us that success is a function of location. Perhaps, this is true, but that is to the extent that such location refers to an intangible one, as against a physical environment. Because in the passage above, God tells us that He will prosper whoever observes His laws and strictly adheres to them, anywhere such person is!
That tells us that God-given prosperity is not a function of place, but a consequence of unflinching commitment to the word of God. Perhaps, this can be a turnaround for the millions of people who desire to leave their country of origin in search of greener pastures in another country. Your prosperity is not determined by your physical environment, your prosperity is determined by your inclination to the word of God.
If you channel all the energy you devote to pursuing means to check out of your country to studying and applying the counsel of God, you would see a significant improvement in your bottom line. Now, that assurance is premised on nothing else but the integrity of the word of God alone.
It does not cost God anything to bless you. Oftentimes, we are the one restraining His hand by our half-hearted devotion to Him. He vouches that He will prosper whoever observes His law wherever he/she goes. This shows that the prosperity of such person will not be a function of his/her physical location, but as a result of his/her commitment to God’s word.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Variables of Success and Prosperity (Part 2)
Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.
– Deuteronomy 29:9
The pursuit of success and prosperity has led many into subscribing to career or professional paths that run contrary to their natural strength and divine gifting. So many people have chosen perceived high-profile professions with the aim of gaining wealth and fame thereby. But this has often proved counter-productive, as they neither found happiness nor success in what they do. Instead, frustration sums their days and clouds the joy they could have derived from doing what they were made for.
Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief that you have to do certain businesses or practise certain professions to be prosperous, the passage above tells us God says what needs be done is to keep the words of His covenant. In other words, He is saying keep the terms He spelt out in His engagements with our forbears in the Bible, both in the old and new testaments, then you will be prosperous – irrespective of what you do as career or business!
God has declared that silver and gold are His, the same with the earth and all that exist on it. And whoever He pleases He blesses with the resources of the earth, irrespective of the person’s race or vocation.
For emphasis, God-given prosperity does not depend on what you do. To God, the job or business you do is immaterial, as He can bless anything, no matter how menial, as long as it is legal and not injurious to the wellbeing of others. God can make a meagre vocation a high-income earner. The key is to be engaged doing something, not staying idle, and to diligently keep His rules for living. That way, your prosperity is sure.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!