Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth – Prov. 27: 1.
Many misunderstand what it actually means to have faith. Some Christians especially, seem to think that faith is talking big or being loud about how God can do the things they hope for. Well I can tell you is just the opposite. In reverse actually, faith does not brag, rather faith is confident on the things it believes. Also faith believes in divine providence. And it does not speak of “how” but “what” God can do for His people. What God can do, is what He can do. No man has the natural power to twist providence. God may not alter His big picture for your big picture. Christians generally have the tendency to overestimate their ability to deal with providently arranged episodes that are programmed to grow and build them to better people.
I will share a true life story that happened in Nigeria quite not long ago. The story was written by my friend Valentine Akpoveta in his article Peter in the Lion’s Den.
The story was about a certain man who lived in the south-western part of Nigeria. Shall we call him Lagbaja. Brother Lagbaja had enormous faith in God and liked to think he was a model Christian. He had unfettered zeal for the pure manifestation of the power of God through signs and wonders. He was so sure of the spiritual and heavenly authority he possessed that he earnestly desired to be a living example.
The story has it that dear Brother Lagbaja journeyed to a zoo in the ancient city of Ibadan Nigeria and somehow braggadociously talked the poor zoo keeper into allowing him in the lion’s cage. He convinced the zoo keeper that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He regaled the poor custodian with tales of a mighty God that saved one biblical Daniel from a lion’s den. He said he wanted to be a living example that God can still save in this day and time.
History documents that Brother Lagbaja was allowed into the cage.
One version states that when Brother Lagbaja entered the cage, with bible in hand, fire in eyes, spitting in tongues, the lion initially retreated. That lion was not used to its dinner speaking in tongues. So it stood awhile, intently pondering the situation. Brother Lagbaja was by now shouting ‘Halleluyah!’. Then the lion reached a smart decision – a very smart decision for a lion. Whether bleating or speaking, dinner was dinner.
It is quite unclear what transpired immediately after that but some say that the lion sprang and devoured and in a few minutes, Brother Lagbaja was past tense. Just like that.
According to writer Akpoveta, Brother Lagbaja wanted to be a living example of God’s power (Ps 91:13), but he ended up a dead example of God’s law (Luke 4:12).
Many of us are like Brother Lagbaja. We use our faith to abuse faith. Some Christians enjoy putting God in trouble and call it “exercising faith”. Howbeit, God may beckon on your call because His name is as stake, but only when we ask with good intentions. For brother Lagbaja, he blatantly abused faith. He wanted to put God to test and he got the result he expected. That is where many of us fail it. We don’t put God to test to boast our faith, rather He puts us to test to boost our faith. Brother Lagbaja risked his promising life on account of God’s rescue. That is a foolish way of exercising our faith in God.
As we take a look on leadership, two common weaknesses of ambitious leaders is: 1. blowing untimely horns perhaps to rekindle hope and 2. embarrassing God with an annoyingly playful faith just like Brother Lagbaja did. While the former is common among leaders, it may be a huge functional stronghold. Now of course I will not leave you hanging without understanding why.
When Paul was before the Sanhedrin and the high priest ordered someone to strike him in the face in Acts 23, Paul quickly lashed out, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” (23:3). When it was pointed out to Paul who it was he had rebuked, Paul quickly apologized. He did not try to cover up his big and angry words. He did not try to blame someone else. He quickly and publicly acknowledged his error.
I personally believe that the world is much more forgiving than most of us believe. When we make a public mistake, the best thing to do is to simply admit it and move forward and not sugar-coat it with our ego trips. The wise man declared, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Ethics taught us to be honest. There is a leadership tendency to want to look good and to make oneself look good. Since that is true, there is an equal tendency to cover up our tracks with nice-sounding news of false hope in order not to look bad. It is ethically wrong to speak about what you are not capable/sure of, especially when it has to do with the common interest of other people.
I know a lot of spectators will blame God for brother Lagbaja’s untimely death while some will call him a fool for trying to alter nature. This is a very risky perception of faith. Don’t get me wrong, you need an ironclad faith to be a successful leader. Howbeit, leadership is infested with idiots who try to impress others by using exaggerated jargons. As a leader, inasmuch as being optimistic is good for business, you must learn to manage your utterances because you will be held by your words someday. If you must speak, think first.
Don’t spend time you do not have on people you do not need and who do not care, trying to impress a vacuum of shadow and confidence, only to realize that you are haunting or sapping out your joy and self-esteem. Life is far too brief to waste it wondering what might have been! The problem with doing this is that, you will end up hiding in a hollow side of life.
Please avoid blowing the horn whereas nothing is there. Think big but don’t talk big as a strategy, especially if you are not sure of what you have. Examine what you have to be sure is it. Verify every news/skill to be sure it is truly inspired to serve God’s people, contribute to the workplace and not be a curse to the world.
As you find confidence with your vision, let your team be your voice, you may not need to always do the talking. Find other people to sell your stuff for you. And allow what people say about you to sell you. That’s what sells out most.
Saying things you are not sure of, may eventually put you right at a tight spot as a leader. And if eventually you don’t make your word your bond, you are finished.
People are not interested to hear or rave about what you want to do until you actually do it. Nobody will celebrate you until you accomplish something for yourself. Nobody will clap for you by talking about what you can do as to what you’ve done.
Remember, your right to say something is not what is important. Your ability to tame your tongue is really hat inspires in leadership. Silence is power!
In my next post, i will share some reasons why talking big may ruin your reputation as a leader.
Stay Positive & Talk Positive!