There is a point in life when most of what you consider as your sources of strength will pale into insignificance.
As I get older and as God has given me the privilege to influence, to some modest degree, several lives in different Nations of the world and Nigeria in particular, I have come to learn new lessons about life and ministry.
1. I spent most of my life from 26 to 60 years raising a family, spending so much time and resources training children through expensive schools, and even sending them overseas to Universities. But I have found out that these children will hardly be around you at this level of my life and ministry. They want to pursue their own dreams, which might be sometimes frivolous.
Most of those who are making things work in my life and ministry are not my children. I have only 4 children and no brother or sister. So I have to depend on a network of youths I have built over the years for life and ministry to move at a global pace.
If Bishop David Oyedepo, Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa, or Papa Adeboye depend on only their children and family members to grow their lives and ministries, they will be limited. If Aliko Dangote depends on his children and his extended family, he won’t grow beyond the confines of the Dantata and Dangote dynasties.
I’m learning to grow beyond family and think globally.
The person who contributes regularly to your life and growth in business and ministry is more important than a child or family members waiting for you to die for them to inherit property. Some are not even interested in the investments you are struggling to build.
I have seen several old men whose children are not interested in the businesses they are doing.
2. I recently told one of my children that he should not behave as if it’s a privilege for me to have him as a son.
You will eventually find out that those who will be taking care of you and your spouse in old age are not those your children you spent so much of your life on. And if you are much older than your wife, after you have died from hard work, your wife will either be alone or perch with them overseas. You are, most times, the loser as a man.
Do not limit your life to only your children; invest and influence as many young people as possible. You never can tell. I have found that in the last 36 years that those who have contributed most to my life and those who place the highest premium on my life are not from my community or tribe.
I’m always amused when I see young men exert a great percentage of their youthful life on tribal and even state of origin matters. When the chips are down, you will eventually find out that you are soon forgotten if you die in the struggle. Recently, the Delta State government celebrated a Praise Day to mark an anniversary, and none of the gospel artistes or even the guest preacher was from Delta State.
Succeed outside their boundaries; they will call for you later. Don’t fight for crumps with them. The secret is to succeed beyond your tribe and local politics. Grow beyond the limits of your tribe and state. Think and perform globally. I don’t get involved in our local Urhobo and Itsekiri or Isoko/Urhobo disagreements. Some of my greatest benefactors are from Urhobo and Isoko.
4. You are most likely going to spend so much of your time and resources in a local congregation or denomination by the time you reach 60 years.
However, if you just settle down and think well, how much of your income comes from members of your congregation or denomination? It’s good to be an active member, but always think beyond your denominational and congregational boundaries. Chelsea football club, from what I saw after their victory over Manchester City, has more fans outside the UK.
5. Only one of my cousins, Jimoh Oma Egbejule, and his wife, Josephine Egbejule, from my immediate family have stood by me right from the day I got married. In fact, my two elder brothers did not attend. In fact, on my maternal side, my cousins resisted and dissuaded people from selling land to me.
The present site of Petra Institute, Effurun-Otor, shares boundary with my maternal great grandfather’s land. They refused to sell land to me. One of them broke my survey beacon.
Move on; do good to them; grow without them.
A lot of my partners and contributors are not family members; some of them I have not even met physically. They are from different tribes and denominations. Build influence and network outside your immediate boundaries of tribe, family, region, religion, congregation, and denomination. If you doubt me ask Ronaldo, Davido, Burna Boy, Donald Trump, etc.
6. A phase of life is going to emerge within a few years more prominently.
Asset management companies are going to emerge to run family businesses on behalf of aged parents, who don’t want their legacy shared among children, who are not interested, equipped, or skilled to manage such businesses. As for ministries, it’s not compulsory that our children must take over from us. Let’s run ministries that grow beyond family boundaries.
My wife and some of my mentees may be shocked and embarrassed that I am soliciting for donations and help to build Petra Institute, Effurun-Otor. This project is not at the same level as the secondary schools we have been building with our funds. This is going to be a giant project and I need to live beyond the limitations of my pride because it’s not about me. It’s about humanity and the future. It’s about posterity.
I treasure all your contributions and encouragement from far and near.
God bless you.
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