Retaining the Saltiness in Life and Ministry
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
The pictures below show me receiving an award on the 26th of May, 2018, for my contribution towards human-capacity building in Urhoboland, presented from Urhobohood organisation. This is the 6th edition of the Urhobo Arts and Cultural Advancement Award ceremony.
Later, the president of Urhobo Progress Union in Asia, resident in Malaysia, Hon. Don Efeme Mayar, came visiting with Dr. Orekereke Joseph Udusan, the Lord Mayor of Urhobohood. Also in their company was Rukky Akpobroka from Malaysia and Chief M. T. Okenini (JP), National Publicity Secretary, UPU, Worldwide..
They came visiting at Petra Christian Academy, Ughelli.
The award means a lot to me because it was from my people. I had the privilege of being the 85th guest speaker at the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Annual Conference at Uvwiamuge. This was in December 5th, 2015. The UPU is the oldest sociocultural organisation in Africa. It was a rare honour.
With an estimated population of about 3 million people, some authors attribute my people, the Urhobo ethnic nationality, to be the 5th largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria and we are more populous than more than 70 independent nations in the United Nations. We have excelled in all aspects of life, from the military, medical field, law, sports, business, arts, fashion, comedy, entertainment, to politics. Therefore, to be honoured for our little efforts at capacity building and developmental Christianity is very fulfilling.
There are some key principles I want to share here.
1. Self identification and definition
The Bible says in the passage above that “You are the salt of the earth“.
After spending 15 years at Aba, Abia State, I had an urge to go back to my people. I remember reading from Genesis 31:3, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” I left Aba under divine instructions, and I came to Ughelli with specific instructions to raise a new generation and bring hope to people.
I also realized that to make impact as an Urhobo man, I had to make my light so shine to make my people and the world see my good works. Anything you do casually will make you a casualty. I did, and still do, every task I handle with all seriousness. I also noticed that the average Urhobo person has an attitude will call ‘ojefia‘, which is to treat everything and everyone with levity. Sometimes, I could be very aggressive and harsh. I insisted on being taken seriously.
For the world to take you seriously, you must first take yourself seriously.
I also knew that I deliberately must not blend into the crowd. I had to stand out and create a brand. I deliberately stood out in my own way.
3. Avoid losing your saltiness
The Bible says that if salt loses its saltiness, it is thrown away and trampled upon.
How can salt lose it’s SALTINESS?
When my friends told me to move the ministry to Lagos, my spirit told me, “It is better to sweeten a tea cup with a small quantity of sugar than to fall into a jug of tea and have no taste.” Lagos would have swallowed me up and I would not have made any significant impact, then, with the little resources I had then. Like it or not, a lot of ministries in Lagos are still along tribal lines. We, Urhobos, usually prefer what is done by another tribesman because of ojefia. You must learn to face reality in life.
b. Overdistribution of the anointing
If you spread your salt (anointing) too thinly over several activities, you will soon lose effectiveness. So I concentrated on my capacity-building works and gave up the Church I started. I put in my efforts at building the school and growing it. I did not dissipate my time and resources on any other irrelevant activities. It was so bad that I don’t think I have attended up to 10 meetings in the past 18 years. I have hardly visited more than 20 homes in Ughelli since I came to town.
If you focus on your calling with results, people will soon pay attention to you and your duty.
c. Mixing more sugar with little salt
If you mix more sugar than salt in a solution, it will lose its saltiness.
There are interesting activities that the average pastor brings into his/her ministry that dilutes the initial calling. Every outstanding ministry has a unique message, just like different ingredients in a soup have different purposes. Kumuyi is different from Oyedepo, Oyedepo is different from Oyakilome, and Oyakilome is different from Olukoya. They are all different reflections of different aspects of the whole Gospel; what is most important is that they should all point to Jesus.
Once you try to be another pastor, you lose your saltiness. I told a young man, recently, that he was trying to be like Bushiri and that he was losing his originality and focus and he agreed with me.
I am Dr. Apoki Charles; I’m not into deliverance, even though I can pray for people and they get healed. They might fall under the power of the Holy Spirit, but I am not Dr. Uma Ukpai. If Uma Ukpai heals a cripple, I will teach him how to buy shoes and start business; simple.
d. Loss of intensity
For the saltiness or salinity of a solution to be noticed by the tongue (with the volume being constant), there has to be a 30% increase in the quantity of salt in the solution. The Samaritan Woman lost her intensity of the message and became irrelevant. Come see a man who told me everything I did is not a ministry; it is a story.
You can never ever meet me the same way you saw me last, even if I keep saying the same thing. I make an effort come with freshness every time. I’m like a river; you never can step into the same waters of a river twice. Each time you come back, the old waters are gone. Don’t be a ministerial lake. Don’t become predictable and monotonous. Get fresh revelations and fresh instruments of delivery.
4. Light up a house first, before becoming a lighthouse
Let your life flow into your environment. Share knowledge with those around you. Make them better than you met them. Let them leave you better that when they first came to you. Always find a way to improve on their lives.
5. Produce results
We put into practice what we were sharing with people about family businesses and entrepreneurship. They saw results and then they experimented; they also saw results in their lives. Several people and businesses have been touched by the examples of my wife and I.
6. Becoming a city built on a hill
A bushel is a covering that can hide a lit-up lamp. You need a lamp stand to light up a house; however, you need a hill to build a lighthouse. It will take time, effort, consistency, and partners to build a city on a hill.
The radio program we do every Wednesday by 6:30 a.m. provided the hill we are building on, currently. When we get into podcasts and TV, more awards are coming.
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does. Steuart Henderson Britt
If you do not have a medium to advertise your good deeds, you are like the man winking in the dark. You are the only one aware of what you are doing; no other person does, most especially the lady.
Please don’t be timid. Timidity is very limiting.
God bless you