Retirement (the Series): Finding True Rest

In the last edition, we noticed that the caliber of people who do the rat race are the labourers, the ordinary people. We also saw God’s unique Kingdom Dominion plan, played out in the lives of the Levites, priests and prophets, and how it played out in the life of Kings David, through whom the second Adam was to come.

 Fast forward to today, a new breed is on the scene, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, recreated after the image and likeness of Christ, born not of blood or the will of a parent but of God. A people whose destinies were sealed before their birth – A kingdom of KINGS and PRIESTS!

So they as kings adequately describe God when He is called King of kings! And just like the kings of Israel, the believer is born a king and is called a priest unto God. As we know, Kings don’t retire, prophets don’t quit, so we as believers are called to forever minister to God as the High priest and to forever have dominion over our world as the kings did, enforcing the rule and reign of Christ in our world today.

What does this all mean? It means simply that as a believer you have been called as a king and as a priest, with the Ministry of the word and prayer. You’re a minister! You’re called and anointed, and there’s no leave, no vacation, no retirement from the Christian life, it’s an all-day everyday life. We never stop praying, we never stop studying, we never stop giving, we never stop loving, we never stop sharing the good news, we never stop shinning the light. This is ministry, declaring and demonstrating Jesus to all our world. From this, we never retire.

Be careful not to worship Mammon, magnifying money and what it can buy over the press for alignment. Be violent about alignment because only the violent will take the Kingdom by force. It is even risky to be lazy about alignment. It might mean missing the wedding feast, honestly speaking. I’d find time to write about this.

Do not worry about how you’ll get your needs. Jesus says that the Father knows how important they are. By the way, money is but a decorative accessory. It’s not the main outfit. Solomon said this as well:

Proverbs 14 vs 24.

The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.

God called the man in the Luke 12 passage a fool. A fool says in his heart that there’s no God. In other words, a fool is that man who takes his cares into his hands because he doesn’t really believe that God lives to fulfill his word. A fool is faithless. This man in Luke pursued “the American dream” as most do, until he retired (won the rat race). He felt that he finally had time to relax and take life easy, enjoying family and making seeking God. God condemned him for putting the cart before the horse.

What am I saying? The order of life is not retirement followed by God and family. It is Word plus prayer all the way. Retirement is a by-product. I am imagining you say, how about I pursue God and my retirement alongside each other. I know you like to multitask but maybe you should study Luke 8:14. So my answer would be, cares choke the word of alignment when they are left in the same place.

My final words: don’t even let things that are supposed to be God’s business become cares for you. Be careful about that. Learn to let God worry about funding his business. You can’t love God’s projects more than God himself. If you find yourself panicking about funding your ministry then it might mean that you want to look good before people as an achiever or that you are secretly hoping that you can earn a living from ministry. It would mean that cares are creeping up on you. And that wouldn’t be healthy for the word of alignment in your heart.

Shalom.

 

Williams Udousoro,

Favour Omeje;

© 2019.

Retirement (the Series): A Better Way

Before we get into today’s message, let’s chew on the last cud for a bit:

 The whole idea of retirement defeats the heart of who we are and what we do before God.

In ancient Israel, there lay a variety of professions: Shepherds, blacksmiths, wine pressers, soldiers, maidservants, embroiders, carpenters, etc. As long as humans had needs, anyone with a bit of natural talent and a determined hard working spirit could take up one of those professions and be great at it.

However, there was an exception to this rule of work, a particular kind of role one couldn’t choose, one could only be born or called there: the office of the King & the office of the High priest/Prophet.

These vocations were especially important; God literally handpicked people a number of times for these positions. They share many commonalities, the oddest one being that none of them ever retired. They literally went to their graves as kings, priests, and prophets. A new king was installed after the previous king had passed on, a new high priest came on the scene after the death of the previous high priest, a prophet was still a prophet into his old age (the dry bones of one such prophet even brought back to life a corpse).

Like wine they became sweeter in their old age, time was given to make the prophet even more prophetic, the great king even greater, the serving high priest to serve, even more, this was a general function, though some abused it.

Would you like to know why these people retire or work to retire somehow? Good; because they are labourers and labour isn’t funny. There’s another reason: they have been worn out by the noise of the labour market. And would you have me tell you what the labour market is? It is the rat race. Priests/Prophets and Kings need not retire because they don’t play by the same rules on which regular people play.

If we take a peek into the life of priests, we see how God designed the rules by which they played: They didn’t have to keep jobs because every single thing that was brought to the house of God was theirs to keep. The meat of God’s house was primarily for them. They didn’t leave where ordinary people lived; they lived in the God Reserved Area of the land. They wore a special kind of cloth, beautiful not being word enough for it.

Don’t you find these priests a perfect representation of the birds that don’t sow, don’t reap and never gather into barns? From the details of the Aaronic priestly dressing in Exodus 39, you would immediately be reminded of the flowers of the field which don’t toil and don’t spin. In the same vein, Prophets such as Elijah and Elisha received provisions from God in ways too wonderful to behold.

On the other hand, if we look into the life of Kings especially David from whom Christ was to be revealed, we see something interesting: priesthood, kingship, prophecy all revealed. David went into the temple and fed himself food meant for priests, priesthood; he made deep utterances by the Spirit of God of the Christ, prophecy and he ruled his kingdom as a great king, kingship.

Do you see why jobs like these cannot be retired from? They’re a lifetime thing. You can’t retire because that would mean dying, right?

I hope you enjoyed all that we have shared on retirement. The final installment in this series will be rolling out next week.

Shalom.

 

Williams Udousoro,
Favour Omeje;
© 2019.

Retirement (the Series): Quit Running

Let’s do a quick recap,

  1. Every man born of a woman was initiated from birth into a rat race, which many call the pursuit of happiness.
  2. There are many interesting schools of thought on how to win this race.
  3. I blurted out that you just go ahead and quit running.

 So today, I’d be showing you just how.

Read up Matthew 6 vs 25- 33 and Luke 12 vs 16- 40 and let’s learn from the greatest human who lived. Then compare it with the words of one of the wealthiest men the world has ever known:

 Proverbs 23 vs 4:

Labour not to be rich: Cease from thine own wisdom- KJV.

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist- ESV.

Looking at the Matthew passage, we see that God wants us to throw away our cares, those things which make us want to hustle on the Lord’s lap and devote our whole being to pressing into the Kingdom. What is the Kingdom? That His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. That earth (body and soul) sings the song of heaven ( his Spirit in our spirits).

This is alignment with the redemption of our bodies. And the instant the local and universal body of Christ is in sync with the Spirit of the Father, that is rapture; the euphoria and ecstasy of a solved jigsaw. That is the real purpose of the Christian life. God wants us to throw caution to him ( be carefree) and not to the wind ( not be careless). He wants us to do this instead of trying to be ‘careful’.

Jesus doesn’t want us to try to earn a living. What I am saying may sound strange but that is what Jesus said considering that he wants us to neither sow nor spin nor gather into barns. This sounds like laziness but if you really press into the word, you’d find out what work is.

God wants us to know the secret behind the wise use of money; converting them to the currency of heaven. I really encourage you to press for yourself into the word to understand that fully.

Let’s call it a day here. We will continue with this series next week.

Shalom.

Williams Udousoro,
Favour Omeje;
© 2019.

Retirement (the Series): The Rat Race

Oftentimes, I hear a bunch of well-meaning Christian folk say, “It is the will of God for His children to have all the money they need so that they can give full attention to the word of God and prayer”.

Here’s how we would say this, in secular terms: “I need to make it big or at least well enough so that I can concentrate on my family better”.

Or we could say something like,  ” I need to have a steady source of income before I get married, I don’t want my fair lady suffering because of me”.

I used to say some of these things myself.

This is what I think: Every single person on this earth was born into a rat race, one won by only the fittest. People from the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria believe that the baby’s first cry which sounds like ‘waa, waaa, waaaa is a baby’s way of screaming, ‘ uwa, uwaa, uwaaa’ which translates to, ‘ this world, this world, this world’.

The cry is a lament about the world’s difficulties. Life is not fair, they say, and there’s no free lunch anywhere.

For this reason, parents teach their children to survive and when they have the wherewithal, they provide them education early enough to either survive or thrive in the struggles of life. One nation calls this thriving “The American Dream”. This dream is the ecstasy of freedom, of liberty which in itself consists mostly of financial freedom -after all, money answers all things. Nigerians call this emancipation, ‘ blowing’, and when they hit it big, they sing ‘ God win, I don make am‘. The English man would simply call it retirement.

Money experts, seeing the need for people to ‘make it’, have crafted strategies for achieving this. You have probably come across books that contain material like this. For instance, Robert Kiyosaki teaches his rich dad’s method of winning the rat race as opposed to things his poor dad taught him growing up. His rich dad taught him that the way to win the race was to do everything to get into the fast lane, decide what part of the BI quadrant to deploy to achieve that as soon as possible. And that meant making passive income and creating systems (assets) that fund liabilities ( things that take out money from the wallet) having known the difference between assets and liabilities.

This makes a lot of sense. But I am going to share with you an even better kind of wisdom, the wisdom taught by the greatest man who ever lived, employed by the wisest man who ever lived and one time wealthiest man of his time: Quit the race!

We will tell you just how to do this next week..

Shalom.

Williams Udousoro,
Favour Omeje;
© 2019.

Modesty

Modesty could be called humility because by definition modesty is holding to an unassuming or moderate belief in the estimation of one’s own abilities or achievements; thereby trusting in God’s grace.

It is also showing moderation in one’s own behavior like being free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions. Appearance and actions reflect the life we live. We present ourselves to the world based on our self-perception and aspirations. To be modest is to consider what our clothing and behavior represent and how they influence those around us.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

Modesty is the outward expression of inner purity.


 “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”

1 Timothy 2:9-10

 Although all people of all ages should be clothed with humility toward one another, knowledge of who we are in Christ is crucial to a life of biblical modesty.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

Modesty certainly includes gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, and having a spirit of unity and living in peace among others. This modest type of behavior pleases God and it also makes others see Christ living in us and may cause others to look to the Savior.

The Niel
(c) 2019

You are the Right Size

Have you ever got a gift for someone, say for instance a pair of shoes and then after the razzmatazz of presenting them, you found out that you got the wrong size. It is quite an uncomfortable place, right? Here you are with a really nice gesture that somehow was cut short because not every information was considered or you were simply mistaken.

Of course this might have not been your fault for a variety of reasons, one of which include that you are human. Humans make mistakes, humans don’t always have access to all of the information.

However, God is not that way. When he was going to give this world the gift of you. He had all the information, he put everything into consideration and he made no mistakes. He created you to a perfect fit. You are the right size!

That is why you can not be like anyone else and trying to be is just an effort in futility. You were made specially for your purpose and God saw to it that you are the right size. For God so loved the world that HE GAVE YOU.

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
#NowThink

In Focus

One of the best things I have read in recent times was in Joyce Meyer’s words – “Life is in the journey, not the end”. This like many other variations of this wisdom tells us to not miss out on the beauty going on around us because we are so fixated on the goal.

Boy do I agree with this thought. However, just like every journey, sometimes you are going to look out the window and all you see is trees after trees… and then some more trees. It gets boring and soon enough sleep is the only option you are left with.

In this moment, you really need the end in focus. I think this why God is in the character of showing us a glimpse of what the end will look like, because times will come in the journey where you will question the use of the monotony you have to live with and when they do come, your eyes have to leave what is right in front of you be set on the things that are to come.

This in no wise suggests that the journey should not be enjoyed. However it should not be the focus, it should not be the inspiration. There is a point to all of this, an end, a purpose. Think about it often, plan for it and when life doesn’t make sense, remember you are on a journey to somewhere and it is worth all the trouble.

I wish you grace and strength in all you do. See you at the finish line!

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
#NowThink (2019)

THE BLANKET: YOU ARE NOT WHERE YOU COME FROM

“Americans are irreverent.”

“Nigerians are scammers”.

“Arabs are cheats.”

These comments (or things like them) are said about people of specific nationalities and ethnicities on the daily. And for the most part, this sort of labeling passes unchallenged, because it’s more frequently done in group conversations involving people who actually believe that individual behavior can be put down to the purported tendencies of the societies from which they originate.

Interestingly, many of these people will resist attempts from others to slap the same sort of negative group labels on them. They will claim exceptions for their own individuality, perhaps even reject derogatory descriptions of members of their group.

A lot of us have done these things at some point in our lives. Some of us still actively identify the behavior of individuals with popular stereotypes of their countries or cities of origin.

If you’re reading this right now, your default response might be to “condemn negative stereotypes” and “encourage us to see one another as unique in ourselves.”

Of course, there are irreverent people, scammers, and cheats in every ethnic group, country, or race. In any case, there’s next to no empirical evidence that any specific nationalities are more given to doing bad things than others.

The problem with blanket statements, positive or negative, is that they significantly distort reality. They tell us that things are as they are not. And these distortions have serious consequences.

There’s one obvious example. Young children don’t seem to mind about the colour of their friend’s skin or where they are from, until they get exposed to negative social ideas about race and their parent’s take on geopolitics.  As they grow, they pick these ideas up. By adulthood, they have acquired a full set of stereotypes which they’re ready to slap on to the next available target.

That’s a very easy takedown.

But what about positive cultural stereotypes then? Do we give those a pass?

We suggest not. Claiming that the Chinese are accommodating by default simply glosses over a sizeable number of instances in which Chinese people have treated strangers badly.

But there are consequences for so-called positive stereotypes as well. When we say that an ethnic group has some fantastically good qualities just by virtue of their being that ethnic group, we’re claiming that ‘goodness’ is expected of people of that group by default. In reality, it’s wishful thinking (and even dangerous) to trust that ethnic identity will confer positive traits by themselves.

It’s wishful thinking because selfishness, the default human tendency, eventually rears its head even among the most ‘pleasant’ people, if we hang around them long enough. It’s dangerous because it sets us up to be disappointed, to lose the trust we have invested in people, and to despise them for disappointing us.

In the end, we are individuals, with a capacity for both good and evil. Our expressions of these things may vary according to our environments (and some stereotypes may be drawn from characters that actually exist). But this doesn’t change our individuality. It doesn’t make us any less human in God’s eyes.

This rings true for Christians, united as we are by our faith in Jesus. As the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:28,

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Ikenna Nwachukwu & Ezeonyeka Godswill.