The first week of the year offers us a great opportunity to reflect on our achievements, failures and major life events of the just ended year.
It is also the best time to set our personal goals for the New Year.
According to feedback from ardent followers of this column, the entry entitled “Abandon the hunt for miracles,” which is reproduced below reminded them of some valuable lessons.
Forget about the definition of success. Every right thinking person craves for success in whatever they do. This can be passing examinations, harvesting bumper yields, making huge profits, securing a job of one’s choice, amassing wealth, attaining leadership or simply maximising happiness.
Despite some principles of success being well-known, there are those who have fallen into the trap of assuming that the attainment of success is a matter of divine intervention. Some are even hoodwinked by exploitative and manipulative pastors into believing that spiritually-induced miracles can make them successful. Those are hoaxes.
A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God and, as is well known, miracles are performed when there are crises, great difficulties or even problems. There is a difference between a blessing and a miracle. While a miracle is a supernatural intervention of God in a crisis, a blessing is God’s power that flows through natural channels.
We should not waste God’s time supplicating for miracles when we can make good use of our blessings, such as talent, wisdom, intellect, strength, good health, resources and plenty available opportunities. Why should you pray for a miracle when you are failing to make use of the abundant blessings you have?
It is very important to utilise our blessings, because by His very nature, God is predictable and orderly. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever which means we operate under His consistent law. For example, when you throw a stone up, it comes down because of God’s law of gravity. If you pray and fast for 40 days and assume that you can jump from a ten-storey building and survive because God will perform a miracle to save you, you are just being stupid as you will die or get seriously hurt; courtesy of the law of gravity.
In terms of success, it is the same. It is against God’s prescribed laws and principles, to think you can attain success simply through miracles activated by prayer and fasting without working for that success. Regardless of how hard you pray, if you do not work hard, you cannot attain the so-called miracle.
Forget about miracles about money falling from heaven like manna, or owning cars simply parked outside your house. You need to sweat to get money and buy cars. Even the bragging Pastor Hastings Salanje works hard in his GBS business of selling solar power equipment to buy his limousines.
If your pastor claims that you can attain success by simply praying, you better listen to President Peter Mutharika who during Independence Day celebrations unveiled one important pillar of success. It is the pillar of hard work. What Mutharika said is not something from the wild.
The principle he advocated for is in the Bible.
Psalm 128:2 bluntly says, “You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” The same holy book in Proverbs 12:11 repeats the admonition. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”
Jumping from one church to another in search of miracles is fantasy. Proverbs 14:23 has good advice for miracle hunters. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
I am mindful that there are those who think success emanates from being talented. That too is a huge lie.
It is important to be naturally gifted in an area of your specialisation, but the adage: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” is true. Lazy talented people flop in life while hard working talented people become stars.
Aamir Azeem, a university don in Pakistan once said: “It is a universal truth that luck without hard work has a limited life; if luck provides you a chance then the hard work is the only solution to avail and maintain that position. If someone gets the extraordinary results merely by the luck and avoids hard work, soon this position will be shifted towards the person who is capable to maintain it. Hard work is the tool which converts the failure into success, weakness into strength, poverty into richness and ignorance into education. So, unfortunate is that person who cannot understand and incorporate this philosophy.”
A distinguished African American Colin Powell, who once served as US Secretary of State, once said: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
Even some of the world’s greatest icons such as Albert Einstein, Mozart, Bill Gates, Richard Branson did not simply achieve their feats because they were gifted and passionate about their work, but because they worked hard to turn their dreams into realities.
In the world of martial arts, Bruce Lee is one of the undisputed champions in terms of fighting techniques. Lee’s piece of advice is simple. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Mutharika was right that one pillar which can assist in getting the country out of poverty is hard work.
Innovation, hard work and determination are principles we need at individual, institutional and national level to achieve success by exploiting our blessings which are in form of talents, resources and available opportunities.
Innovation, hard work, determination and honesty are clear principles for success.
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