I wrote this the day after I came from an embassy in Abuja to get a visa to visit my son graduating from medical school in Europe in 2012.
About ten years before then, I was in an embassy, and I was so nervous because I had no statement of account of my own. I had to use someone’s statement of account, who promised to sponsor the trip. Naturally, I was denied the visa. I had a worse-off experience when I was invited to preach in another country. I had no statement of account, so my village gave me the community statement of account. As you can predict, I was denied visa.
As I was returning from Lagos during one of these denials of visa, I had a strong desire to do well financially to enable me preach and reach my generations. At that time, even though I knew I was a good preacher by any standard, I needed financial muscle to make my dreams come to pass.
Just about this time, I would do programs and the attendance will be very scanty. Despite all the effort I was putting in and the fasting, I was not getting results. It was then I realized that I needed a financial base to effectively run the ministry, particularly in semi-urban areas like Ughelli. I realized that nothing speaks clearer than evidence.
In these posts I would reveal to you some salient facts that would shock you about life and ministry from the Holy Book.
The Manger Was Not Prophetic; It Was Only Circumstantial.
Luke 2:1-7 tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Joseph was not a mean carpenter. He took his obviously pregnant wife from Nazareth to Bethlehem, not by trekking, but apparently on a good means of mobility. When it was time for Mary to give birth, Joseph took Mary to a hotel or inn; he was not going to stay there free. This carpenter was ready to pay hotel bills for his wife to deliver her child.
The Bible is silent on the midwife who delivered Jesus but I know it is quite improbable for a young inexperienced virgin to do self-delivery. I also do not assume that Joseph could take delivery of his baby by himself.
Therefore, it is safe to assume Joseph had enough money to pay for a midwife and also hotel bills for the duration Mary would stay there. Jesus was born in a manger not to encourage poverty; instead, it emphasized adaptability—the ability to adjust to circumstances.
Can you take an international journey (like described in Lessons From Christmas—The Birthing And Berthing Of Christmas) in a hurry?
In Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph had a dream at night, probably at about 12 midnight. He was told to escape to Egypt immediately. Joseph could move that night with his wife and Jesus without calling the treasurer of his church. He did not inform his in-laws; he moved that night to Egypt. Apparently he must have had some money at home that was substantial enough to enable them pay for accommodation for at least two years. If he did not send any message home that he needed financial help, then two things could have happened:
- Joseph apparently had enough money to pay for their upkeep in Egypt.
- He must have gone with his tools of trade and initial capital that he used to pay for their upkeep, and eventually start a new carpentry workshop that sustained them.
If any of these likely options are true, they imply the following:
- Joseph was a successful carpenter and he was proficient enough that people in the synagogue knew him and Jesus—Luke 4:22. His proficiency must have given him financial sufficiency. Proficiency is professional efficiency.
- If he was able to establish a shop in Egypt immediately he got there, his proficiency was of international standard even though he was from a small town. He had global geographical mobility of labour.
This is one thing I tried to develop in my life. I decided to improve on myself to be internationally accepted even though I live in a small town.
When the consular interview panel looked at my documents, one of them flipped through my three passports and found out that I have traveled to several African countries. He asked me what I was traveling to do in these countries. I told him I run leadership and financial empowerment seminars in different African nations.
Joseph must have had an international mindset even though he was resident in Nazareth.
In Proportion To Their Abilities
In Matthew 25:14-30, it is obvious from verse 15 that the amount of money each servant got was in proportion to their abilities to handle challenges and invest resources.
Two things come to mind immediately:
Firstly, your management of small issues would determine how much would be allocated to you when bigger allocations come. Therefore, it is not your prayers that determine your layer of operation; instead, it is your performance index. Your present state might just be a reflection of your financial past or opportunity-management index.
Secondly, there were very many virgins in Israel at the time of Mary and there were many carpenters in Israel then. It was not easy carrying the pregnancy of Jesus to travel a long distance at term. It was not easy going into labour in a manger. It was not easy carrying a young child to travel through the desert at night to Egypt which is quite a long distance. Joseph had the financial capacity and, I suspect, a capable donkey to go on such long trips with load at night. This capacity contributed to why Joseph was the recipient of honour to parent Jesus here on earth.
Could you have been able to send Jesus through your family?
Some years back, when my eldest son was to go to Europe to study, I was preaching in Kano, northern Nigeria, when the embassy needed him to show evidence of payment of fees. My wife was able to pay without bothering me from her product sales. If she had no resources to pay the fees for the school abroad, the boy’s dreams of becoming a doctor would have been frustrated. When he traveled to Europe, he was sent back for no reason. I had to buy another ticket for him to go by another airline. The airline refused to carry them saying they needed a transit visa. I had to buy a third ticket within one week, apart from the ticket I bought for him to fly within Nigeria.
Assuming I hadn’t the financial capacity, I would have frustrated the young man’s dream of becoming a doctor. As I sat with the consular officer talking confidently with him, I reflected back to when some years back I had no statement of account of my own to present in an embassy.
The dreams of many Christian children have been truncated by lack of finances. From my experience, a resolution and an acknowledgement of the fact that prayer alone would not change your layer in life prompted me to become industrious.
In the next post, we’ll look at “message and money”, and “faith and wealth”.
God Bless You.