I cannot remember exactly how I came by the message below in 2010. Either, it was shared in our church or picked up from the church premises. Unfortunately, the copy I had was not in its original pristine state, so I asked my boy to recopy the contents of the leaflet into a Word document. This was done as faithfully as possible. Unfortunately, I again misplaced (“mis-filed” is more proper), the e-copy. I searched and searched the house for the original copy. Sorry for me, it has disappeared into thin air. I search the web for this article over and over, all to no avail.
Yesterday, prior to backing up my computer files, I just “stumbled” across this Word file in the portable hard disk drive I was using for the backup. Happily enough, this is the file I’ve been looking for since 2010. I felt this should be preserved for posterity. I gratefully seek the permission of our pastor and daddy – Pastor W. F. Kumuyi to reproduce it here. All the mistakes and errors are mine. Also, please if any of my readers have the original copy of this message, do kindly e-mail it to me.
The contents are as poignant and pertinent now to our situation as individuals and as a nation as when they were first written and ministered.
Read it for yourself.
The Awesome Responsibility
OF CHOOSING OUR FUTURE
PRESIDENTIAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
31ST. JULY 2010
ABUJA FCT. NIGERIA
MESSAGE BY PASTOR (DR) W.F. KUMMUYI
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19)
Everyone has been given the opportunity to choose his future and destiny! That is awesome! What is both delightful and frightening is our responsibility to choose the future of our nation. We can create our future! The future, a desirable future, does not just happen, whatever it brings, we’ve got to take on the chin, and we must endure.
The consequences of our choice can be incalculable. What if we decide not to make any choice? The decision to be indecisive is still a decision; it is still a choice that determines our future. The voice of wisdom and warning calls us from the cross-roads of Kadesh-Barnea, Israel was at the verge of entering the Promised Land was so near and so far! It was so near that the twelve spies could go in and come back in a few days. Yet it was so far that it took nearly forty years for Israel to enter in. The decision of ten leaders of their tribes led to a dark, black and bleak future of the nation. Misusing their opportunity of a proper choice that generations of elders passed on before the nation experienced a glorious future.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved’’ (William Jennings Bryans). We have come to a critical moment in the history of our nation. How near are we from the Promised Land? It is so near; we can climb on the shoulders of the God chosen man, look forward and see it! Yet it could be as far as our fears and subtle distrust would make it! The Promised Land could be as near as ten months or as far as another hundred months. ‘’The future is in our hands. We are not hapless bystanders. We can influence whether we have a (nation) of peace, social justice, equity and growth or a (nation) of unbridgeable differences between people, wasted resources, corruption and terror” (James D. Wolfensohn).
- The Privilege Of Involvement: 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1; Ezek. 22:30a
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9)
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain “(2 Cor. 6:1)
“And I sought for a man among the, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it” (Ezekiel 22:30a)
A promising future demands everyone’s involvement. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek (Barack Obama). Twelve elder-representatives were sent to view the land and they were to report back to Israel. They were the eyes of the nation; the nation could only see what they had seen nothing more, nothing less, and nothing less. They became the mind of the nation; their faith or their fears, their courage or their cowardice, their decision or lack of decisiveness would make the nation move forward or turn back. This privilege of involvement gave opportunity to the twelve to inscribe their names on the nation’s book of records as guiding stars in all generations.
In our nation today, ours is the privilege of involvement. God calls us to partnership in creating a future of peace, progress and prosperity. God has placed our future in our hands and democracy reminds us that we can choose a glorious future now. Involvement in such a national project has different levels of commitment. While some are passive, others are practical, positive, prayerful and productive in their involvement as servants of God, of the church, of mankind and the nation must necessarily begin with intercession and prayers. Abraham interceded and prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah. Could he have done more? Could he have checked up whether Sodom had ten or more righteous people dwelling there? Could he have participated in a short-time project of raising up at least ten righteous men there? Whatever he could or could not do, we can go beyond (1) interceding and praying, and we can (2) investigate and participate. What if Abraham could (3) inform and persuade some people in Sodom? The course of their history might have been changed. Convinced of thee credible ways forward, we ought to inform and persuade all who are under our sphere of influence. Such involvement is a responsibility from God, a duty to our nation and an obligation to our children.
- The Peril Of Indifference: Judges 5:23; 2 Kings 7;9; Matthew 25:41-45
“Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof: because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (Judges5:23)
“Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9)
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (Matthew 25:41-45)
Apathy, passivity and indifference may keep the nation in the wilderness for another generation. Quietness or silence is not always golden; sometimes it forges chains of slavery, bondage and affliction on helpless sons and creatures of God. Edmund Burke said; ”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil id for good people to do nothing”. We have paid dearly for our passivity of previous years. Our burden of guilt must be unbearable as we observe our national loss. Can we claim to be illiterate or godly if we still remain indifferent? “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write; but those who cannot learn, unlearn and learn” (Alvin Toffler). The pain of our past negligence is enough shock treatment to wake us up from our lethargy.
In the days of Deborah and Barak, “the angel of the Lord” cursed the inhabitants of Meroz for doing nothing; not for doing evil, but they were cursed bitterly for doing nothing!
On a day of divine visitation, the four lepers knew that their selfish quietness would bring calamity on them and prolong national famine and suffering unnecessarily. On the day of reckoning, judgment will come on those who did neither good nor evil. Think about it. Remaining passive and unconcerned when we could have saved millions of innocent starving children! Inactive, when we could have provided a happy end of life to millions of weak, infirm and dying old people! Unconcerned, when we could have prevented the wanton loss of thousands of precious lives! Indifferent, when we could have given a lively hope to a desperate and despairing continent by choosing a promising future for a nation on the verge of being truly great. We cannot afford to be indifferent or else future generations will curse this generation of elders for our inexcusable negligence.
- The Power Of Influence: 2 Sam. 19:14,15; Zechariah 8:23
“And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of the man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants. So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came Gilgai, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan” (2 Samuel 19:14, 15) “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23).
We can no more “sit back and apathetically blame indifference. The loudest voices may be delivering the worst messages today, but history shows that grass roots energy has the power to change anything when that energy is focused towards justice” (Senator John Kerry Of Massachusetts, USA).
Instead of complaining and criticizing we can wield positive influence on the grassroots to create a desirable future. Instead of cursing the darkness we can light a candle and influence others to do the same. In the project of creating the future and rebuilding a nation, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, and knows in the end the triumph of high achievement. His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt).
Influence! Everyone has influence. Parents over children, pastors and priests over the laity, friends in fellowship, neighbours in the community etc. We all have some influence. Al Gore, a former VP of USA, has pointed out: “There is an old African proverb that says, if you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. We have to go far, quickly find a way to change the world’s consciousness about exactly what we are facing and how we have to work to solve it”. Influencing one another to go together and influencing others to go along with us can create a better future than any of us imagined. “With God all things are possible”.
Our influence can be deliberate and structured. Instead of leaving the future of our nation to luck and chance, we can take definite steps to influence others and move them to practical and positive actions.
Considering levels or stages of influence, we have
- elementary influence
- economic influence
- ecclesiastic influence
- ecumenical influence and
- exponential influence
At the base of the pyramid of influence is the elementary, primary influence which we exercise on those who are close to us, who love and trust our judgment on important issues in life. We can easily inform and influence them.
At the apex of the pyramid is the structured, exponential influence. For example, take 100 key leaders who are are committed to creating this future together. Let each one of them influence 10 others to be committed to the same vision within a month. Repeat this process each month for the next six months. What result can we expect? Consider this!
If we are committed to doing well, let us influence and inspire others to do the same commitment. And the glorious future will be near, so very near.