A few days ago Christiane Amanpour’s CNN programme featured Nigeria.
We were informed that statistically Nigeria is the third worst place to live on this planet.
The statistic not only made me sad but also rather irritated – verging on angry.
“How dare they?” I thought.
“What or who gave these guys the right to decide which places are good to live in, and which places are not?”
Needless to say, once my patriotic emotions gave way to our dear but often ignored friend, ‘Mr.objective’, I started to see reason.
Despite the valiant efforts of the present government, Nigeria continues to experience a myriad of challenges.
– serious security concerns
– unstable power supply
– a poor education system
– a non existent health care system
– inadequate housing
– bad roads
I said to a friend in 1999 that it would take fifty years for Nigeria to get to where it should be.
Because decades of military rule, constant abuse of power, and the blatant pillaging the nation’s resources resulted in not just stagnation but abject decline.
Hence, rather than blame this present government we need to bear in mind where we’re coming from.
1999??? That’s just thirteen years ago people!!
By my estimations we still have a another thirty seven years to go!
But one thing is for sure. We are finally moving in the right direction.
So for those who like me felt a little disheartened after the CNN programme I say this;
And be not sad!
We are finally on our way. We may not see it in our life time but be rest assured that our grand children will live in a great Nigeria.”
But hang on!
This is not supposed to be a political article – not in the slightest.
My topic today is discouragement/encouragement.
Ahh yes – now it makes sense.
The reason I started with the CNN programme is because of how I felt after watching it; just a tad discouraged.
Nigeria is a country in which we all need regular doses of encouragement. Lol
I’m sure you’ve all noticed an increasing number of articles and phrases designed towards encouraging and uplifting us.
I genuinely thank God for such articles and phrases.
I’m sure you agree with me when I say that this journey we call ‘life’ can at times be so arduous, and so very dis-heartening.
But is it possible that the reason we are so easily discouraged is because we subconsciously believe that this is it?????
In other words despite our faith, we still seem to live our lives with a mind-set that screams,
“IT’S ALL ABOUT EARTH! IT’S ALL ABOUT EARTH!”
What on earth is Segs going on about now????
The greatest security anybody can have is God
The greatest blessing anybody can have is God’s grace
The greatest gift anybody can have is Christ
The greatest wealth and power we can have is the spirit of the living God dwelling inside us
The greatest treasure anybody can have is Heaven
Is it possible that we are so easily disouraged because our focus is on the wrong things?
I’ll let you into a weee little secret. This is actually the article I was supposed to write yesterday. But when I woke up yesterday morning I kinda chickened out of it.
Because I was concerned that it may not be what you want to hear.
I’ve noticed something very interesting recently.
Whenever I write an article that is designed to uplift and encourage people to be the best they can be in this life – promoting success and wealth, I always get fantastic feedback.
But whenever the message is about Christ, and hints at the importance, relevance, and reality of life after earth the feedback is …well …non existent. Lol
So I guess I kinda (ok – no more kindas’) got addicted to the wonderful feedback.
That is until a dear friend of mine sent me a message late yesterday afternoon.
She has no idea how her message affected me.
She forwarded a message from Rick Warren’s Saddleback church to me. The message was about serving God.
In her personal message to me she said,
” But I guess you already know the importance of serving God. Keep up the good work.”
The vanity in me was so chuffed.
I even called her to confirm that the message was indeed for me!!
I went home feeling so good about myself.
But on waking up this morning her words came back to haunt me. Lol
Her words opened my eyes to the fact that due to wanting to give readers what they want to hear, I have buckled time and time again at the prospect of preaching this particular message.
So here goes
This life is NOT the end!!!!!
In comparison to the real meaning of life -an eternity in Heaven -we are here but for a few miliseconds.
Our aim in this life is to be the best we can be for God and those around us – so that we can all enjoy that wonderful place we call heaven.
We must bear this in mind in absolutely everything we do.
In other words – yes, of-course, try your very best whilst you’re here on earth.
Love those around you
Provide for those around you
Protect those around you
Aspire for great things
Aspire for wealth
These are all good. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pushing aggressively for all the above.
But remember to always bear this mind;
Your real treasure – your real home – is heaven.
In all things you do, consider the reality that you are here to love and serve God before moving on to love and serve Him for an eternity in heaven.
So it’s up to us.
Do we want to continue living our lives as though this is it??? All about earth???
Or do we want to embrace the greatest security of all – salvation and God’s love.
The irony of all this is that if we think again, and re-direct our focus, our tendency to be easily discouraged and disheartened will reduce significantly.
I’ve said it.
Sorry if you didn’t like this
Actually – no I’m not
Not sorry at all.
Think again, and do your best to embrace this message.
I know I certainly need to.
Let us regularly encourage ourselves in the knowledge that there is indeed a heaven.
There is an eternity of love, joy, and service to God.
This is what REALLY matters.
Finally, it’s befitting to conclude this article with a quote from my dear friend.
“The reality is that we will all die one day and we pray its at a ripe old age, but whatever age it is, there is heaven or hell; and we all know no one wants to go to hell. I’ve never heard anyone elect for it.
So it’s good to be reminded that it doesn’t end here, or even with death; and that it’s the aftermath that matters most.”