Keeping Faith to Success
By: Minister Madge Obaseki
We have entered another decade. Welcome and congratulations!
Whether you are running a business, ministry or non-profit, the second decade of this century has been riddled with frustrations towards objectives. For example, looking back on in the periods between 2010 and 2019, you will note the turmoil which occurred in the political, economic and even the faith world. My message here is about faith and how even with obstacles we can overcome.
RUNNING THROUGH THE RAIN
There is a story I heard which demonstrates the kind of mustard seed faith we all need especially when the situation does not look like it is working out.
A little girl was out with her mother shopping. When they left the department store, it was pouring with rain. The rain was so heavy they had to take shelter along with others. The little girl looked around as people became frustrated and almost angry because their plans had been interrupted by the inclement weather. The little girl turned to her mother and said ‘let’s run through the rain mummy’. The mother replied, ‘No we can’t it’s raining too heavy, let’s wait until it slows down a bit’. The little girl waited another moment and then repeated the same sentence with a little more force this time. Her mother was still insistent that they should wait ‘because we’ll get soaked!’. The little girl replied, ‘no we won’t mummy. That’s not what you said this morning!’. The mother looked at the child slight quizzingly, ‘When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?’. The child replied, ‘Don’t you remember when you were talking to daddy about his cancer this morning, you said, ‘if our faith can get us through this, we can get through anything’. Everyone standing under the shelter listened to the profound reflection of the child. The little girl’s comment made the mother reassess her own faith. In that moment the mother responded to her daughter, ‘you are right darling, let’s run through the rain’. It was a moment of affirmation in the child’s life. It was a time where innocent trust can be nurtured into faith. Perhaps it is time for us to nurture our own child like faith in God’s promises for us…
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF FAITH?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, faith is; ‘great trust or confidence in something or someone’. The Biblical meaning of faith expressed in Hebrews 11: 1 states: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".
The knowledge of the meaning of faith should inform us that we don’t have to experience immediate results to know they will materialize over time. However, in waiting, you may need to exercise patience and perseverance. In running a business, ministry or a project, the results you are hoping to achieve will not happen automatically. However, don’t forget that Habakkuk 2:3 reminds us that, the vision, is for an appointed time. It is in the interim months, years and even decades that people sometimes find it challenging to keep focused and stay on course. Many give up before the seeds of their labor are fully matured. Hopefully and prayerfully that will not be you.
WHY FAITH MAY BE HARD TO KEEP
1. The Amazon Example
Some people experience failure and give up rather than learn from mistakes. Someone once said ‘failure is a gift, don’t be scared of it’. Indeed, Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon states, ‘failures are actually a good thing: 'If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle'. He talks from experience after some failed initiatives. Two examples are the Amazon phone and Amazon auctions! However, that did not stop the company. Indeed, they learned from the data, evaluation and customer feedback. The information allowed Amazon to develop other areas of their business. I maintain there can be no success without failure first.
I have made multiple mistakes while building the ministry God gave me which lost me time and ££, $$! However, I have drawn on those experiences which have led me to develop. I accept it is an ongoing process which frankly I did not fully appreciate at the beginning. What has helped me was checking God’s word concerning the ministry and confirming I was actually carrying out what He said was my mission.
2. Distracted by the success of others
We may become distracted by the success (or perceived success) of others. However, you might be judging yourself, business or local church against an uneven measure especially in this day of social media and ‘fake news!’. The posts you read and pictures posted can lead you to believe you are the only one not experiencing success! I have met leaders who state, ‘we are not as big as…whatever ministry they are comparing themselves to. God called each individual, ministry, assembly, business or non-profit for specific mission i.e. the reason and purpose, therefore comparison is inappropriate and ill-advised.
3. Analysis Paralysis
Some people get stalled with what I call analysis paralysis. God said He would do it, yet they are still over thinking everything. I worked with some churches who received a comprehensive report and recommended actions from me. The leader confirmed it was the right thing to do, yet years later they are still in the same position waiting for the right time. As a result, they stop themselves and much more importantly the work of God from moving forward.
How to build your faith
1. Speak to God! Yes, you can speak. He listens and replies if you listen and don’t become distracted. I often find working in my garden or taking a walk a great time to hear from God. Taking time out and really listening to the small still voice for direction is essential. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as my GPS!
2. Look for and study examples of faith in the bible. For example, Joshua was urged by God in Joshua 1: 9 to be ‘Be strong be bold’. It is odd that God say that. After all the Father had already assured Joshua that He was with him would experience good success. So why would Joshua need to be strong and bold? The clue lies in the succession of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Moses had struggled to get to the promise of God for 40 years. The battle to success was partly due to the peoples disobedient as they followed the pagan traditions of other nations. Joshua inherited Moses leadership challenges. Therefore, in telling Joshua to be bold and strong, He was preparing him to be courageous in the face of the leadership challenges ahead.
3. Surround yourself with people who understand your true purpose and can encourage you in your journey. Even Jesus had His inner circle i.e. Peter, James, and John. You don’t need many people, but do need an individual (or a few people), to hold you accountable, provide encouragement and guidance when needed.
In conclusion, whether you are running a business enterprise, a non-profit, ministry or church keep going, stay focused. If you don't stop, you'll get there! Happy New decade!
About Minister Madge:
Minister Madge Obaseki is known as the Healthy Church Growth Advocate because she addresses challenging issues impacting the Church at large. Minister Madge is an International speaker, author and director of growthechurchnow.com.
She has nearly 27 years of experience in churches, ministry and non-profit organisations. Her academic research interest is church, ministry growth and sustainability. Her mission is to help churches and ministries identify the reason they might be facing retention challenges.
All her social media i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter can be found ending: madgeobasekiofficial