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!
The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand… Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. – Genesis 39:2-5
The fourth relationship we will consider, which has great impact potential, is employment or work engagements – particularly the persons you hire to work with you as an employer of labour or the persons that provide various forms of services to you.
In the passage above, we see how the advent of Joseph into Potiphar’s household marked a dramatic turn in the Egyptian’s fortune. Joseph was a man with God’s calling; therefore the LORD was with him wherever he was and in whatever he did. Although the physical circumstances of his status as a slave did not indicate so; but, like all divine endowment, he didn’t need to advertise before others started seeing the grace upon his life, as everything he did came out excellent. Then his blessing started to rub off on his immediate environments until it was obvious to all that what was happening on account of him was not a fluke.
This underscores the value of engaging persons who enjoy divine patronage to work with you or be on your team. The value such individuals bring to your table is usually massive. You may wonder how you would identify them; it is by praying to God for guidance so that you could see what He sees about each person in your consideration.
Inasmuch as it is important to engage such individuals for that extra divine grace on your business or other endeavours, it is more important to retain and not lose them to envy or internal politics. Potiphar was smart enough to promote Joseph as the overseer of all his affairs, thus leveraging on the divine aura he perceived on him rather than becoming threatened by it. Some not so wise employers/superiors would start to envy Joseph and antagonise him to their own destruction.
Also, it is not uncommon for such individuals to outshine their colleagues which may result in hatred and envious schemes by the aggrieved mates, and may culminate into putting the boss on the spot. It takes a lot of wisdom to handle this kind of development as well. Potiphar failed in this second regard, as he eventually lost Joseph to a higher authority due to his inability to discern between truth and intrigues.
Employees or subordinates like Joseph are better collaborated with for fruitful results, not isolated.
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!
The Variables of Success and Prosperity (Part 1)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
– Joshua 1:8
Over the years, motivational speakers and authors have given us numerous principles of success. We’ve been told countless things we need to do and things we must discontinue doing if we want to be successful.
By human reasoning, most of the recommendations have some logical validity. However, it takes a lot to remember the numerous success tips, talk less of applying them. And considering that every success expert claims that his/her tips have been applied by others with measurable success, that adds more pressure on the readers/listeners, which then results in frustration when one cannot sustain the tips.
God is the Creator of us all. In addition to us, He also instituted success, prosperity, healthiness and other material/emotional states we desire. God has His own idea as to what we should do to attain success. And it is interesting to note that His requirements are not far-fetched. They are unbelievably simple, perhaps, that is why we often do not give them a thought; as they sound just too simple to be true.
The passage above gives us an insight into the mind of God concerning success and prosperity. God did not require that you do some rigorous routine to be successful. All He demands is to keep His laws constantly in our mouth, in our mind, and in our conducts. He then affirms that it is by so doing that we will prosper and have good success.
His describing the kind of success you will have as “good” means that there is bad success – the kind of success that is not sustainable and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the successful. I want the kind of success He can deliver. What about you?
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor. – II Chronicles 14:2-8 NKJV
King Asa started his reign on a very positive note. Immediately he ascended the throne, he demolished all the idols and other alternative totems of worship in his nation and led his people to serve the true God. He actively sought the LORD and because of that, God gave him rest for the first 10 years of his reign – no war, no rebellion, no battle, no unrest whatsoever in the whole country for a good decade. That was a long stretch of time in ancient or contemporary history. But what did Asa do with this peacetime? Please read that below:
And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor. – II Chronicles 14:2, 6-8 NKJV
The first thing Asa did was to build fortified cities, fortified walls, fortified towers, fortified gates and fortified bars. This was when there was no war. In other words, he started preparing for war in a time of peace. He started putting security structures and apertures in place when the land was at peace. He also built an army of 580,000 well-trained warriors, mighty men of valour, who were battle-ready.
Apart from this, he also mobilised the people to get productive and the Bible says “they built and prospered” during those years.
Now here is the contemporary application, the best time to prepare for war is when you are at peace. The best time to provide for famine is during the time of abundance (remember Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s interpretations and eventual application), the best time to set up security for yourself, your family, career, business, ministry, etc is during a time of little concerns when you don’t really need to. Doing this at any other time will only be reactive as against proactive. You will be playing catchup when you should be drawing from your stored resources.
To bring it closer home, the best time to get most productive and fruitful is during a time of rest such as this novel Coronavirus lockdown period. The questions each of us should be asking ourselves every day of this lockdown period are, ‘What have I achieved, produced or completed today that will have a significant impact on my life, family, career, ministry, business and other concerns after the lockdown is over? What am I adding to myself today? Am I resting too much, sleeping too much, loafing too much, or engaging more in nonproductive activities, such as WhatsApp chats and other social media timewasters, as against doing things that will move me forward?’
As the lockdown persists, remember, the best thing to do in a time of peace is to prepare rigorously for war; the best thing to do in a time of surplus is to prepare adequately for famine. And the best thing to do in a time of rest is to get all your operations and productivity machinery well oiled and raring to fire from all cylinders at the next call.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
– 2 Peter 1:2
Grace is endowed as required to carry out the responsibilities of an office, spiritual or secular. Grace answers to purpose, assignments, and calling, as allotted by God. But no two individuals have the same measure of grace, even if they hold the same office and have a similar calling.
The scripture above sheds light on the one reason people have different portions of grace. The apostle, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says grace is multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, His Son. The Bible does not say that grace is multiplied to anyone based on his office, background, assignments, or any such consideration. While there is grace available to execute them, that grace becomes multiplied only in proportion to one’s knowledge of God. That means the extent you know God is the extent you would increase in grace. And because it is not possible for two or more individuals to know God in the same degree, that is why it may, perhaps, be difficult to see people who share the same measure of grace.
Grace rules in every area of life. That is why your relationship with God will influence your bearing, performance and results in aspects of life such as work, business, career, marriage, ministry, academic, and other such spheres.
It takes grace to be among the high-flyers in whatever setup you find yourself. And, whilst you have enough grace to get by, you need an increasing measure of grace to get to the top and to remain there. To receive this, your personal altar must in place; you need a closer walk with God in addicted prayer life, Bible study, and selfless service. The more of these you do, without leaving other important diligence of life undone, the more you will increase in the knowledge of God, and the more aura of grace you will enjoy. Try it and you will testify.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!