Great Men Die Empty

And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet. [2Ki 13:21]

When great men die without passing all they had to God, man and society they then they die with ‘power in their bones’. If no rare accident like the one in the above passage happens, then their gifts will join the great pool of potentials that fertilize the grave yards.

True lives of Extraordinary Gentlemen are made of three stages, learning, living and leaving.

Learning- a man must know and understand all that is around him, through formal and informal education and acquire information in all available formats. He must consciously cultivate learning through conversation with family, friends, mentors and society and God. However, what you learn from these agents is most important. Among all that can be learnt wisdom, morality and Christianity are paramount. A man must also through this learning identify and nurture his field of interest, his talent but most importantly his purpose.

Living- a man at this stage must live by what he has learnt, practicing and experiencing the totality of life. Failing, passing, and excelling and repeating these in different endeavours. He must distil his learning into industry and profession and become more responsible to family, friends, mentors and society and God. The pursuit of his purpose must be paramount.

Leaving- this is composed of depositing and departing. A Man owes it to God, man and society to lead other men to excellence in their chosen fields, identified talents and their purpose. He must not mold them into himself only better, and into Christ as the Ultimate Gentleman. He must pour out himself on earth within the limits permitted by God and then take off into eternity with the majesty of an eagle. But he must leave emptied of all things that can only on earth be done so as to be filled with the fullness of the glory of God himself prepared for him.

Dedicated To the Late President John Fiifi Evans Atta Mills; a man of unequaled integrity.

Money and Christianity

If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Lu 16:11, NIV)

Wealth in Christianity is a matter of continuous debate with different perspectives being dominant at times and denominations of Christianity. However, the fact is that how you deal with earthly wealth is cardinal in determining if you will be entrusted with heavenly riches. For “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Lu 16:11KJV) or in other words, “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Lu 16:11, NIV).

I do not believe that God or Jesus Christ will be willing to give you the true riches of their heavenly kingdom if you do not prove your faithfulness in earthly finances.  It is therefore important that in our quest to become Extraordinary Gentlemen, we understand how to prove our faithfulness with earthly riches. After all, the Extraordinary Gentleman must excel in his Marriage, Ministry (purpose) and Money ( career and finances).

When I talk about money in the context of an Extraordinary Gentleman, I refer to all legitimate efforts to generate, manage, multiply and distribute wealth of any acceptable form. It is not sinful to be rich, for money answers all things pertaining earthly needs (Eccl 10:19) and the blessing of God makes one rich (Pr 10:22). However, the love of money is the root of all evil and inevitably leads to wandering away from  salvation (1 Ti 6:10, Eccl 5:10), for you cannot serve two masters, God and money (Lu 16:13, NIV).

It works this way, money is a force in the ruling system of the earth called the world, as such, love of it means love to the world and enmity to God (Jas 4:4). Love of money occurs when you value  the demands of money above the demands of God and righteousness. You begin to yield to the lusts of the world that are readily lying prostrate at the command of wealth. These lusts include gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, adultery and greed in all things, even in things pertaining to the church. Thus you begin to take decisions chiefly against the perfect will of God, trusting your riches and new power in the world rather than the unfailing love of God. The end of such a man is sudden destruction (Ps 49:6-14, 49:20, 33:16-19, 147:10-11).

 Therefore, the key virtue for a wealthy Christian should be integrity, for the law of heaven concerning wealth on earth is this, “Do not trust in extortion and take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase do not set your heart on them”(Ps 62:10,NIV). The source and the result of a man’s wealth must be pure in the eyes of God.

God bless you, and remember, I will love to hear your thoughts on money and on this article.

On male grooming…

I remember that while I was growing up, I had a lot of admiration for guys with trimmed moustache, beard and what is known as ‘5-5’ (that hairline that drops down from the crown over the cheek down to the side of the chin) in Ghana. My admiration was somewhat disturbed when one day in a bus, I sat behind a nice-looking gentleman busily scratching his five-five intermittently. Then I reflected on the advice my peers gave me; “…the more you shave, the more hair grows”. So if more hair grows in my face as I wanted, is this how I would itch, I asked myself.

After a few years, I begun to experience facial hair. I wasn’t as thick as my colleague-adviser, nor that fellow bus passenger. However, when I went to the barber’s they would manage to trim it to look   like what they had in their style posters. I looked on in the mirror once at the barber’s, and just told him to shave everything off. He asked me for confirmation… I remained resolute. At that time it took sometime to regrow. Now in my late 20s, it takes just three days to see and feel hair roots shooting up again just after a shave, with their attendant itching. Woe betides you that you scratch… you welcome razor bumps (which they say could result in keloids; need to verify that).

It takes some discipline to not scratch; same discipline you need to remind the barber to apply meth spirit after a shave to kill the sores a bit and to lower the risk of infections (I think)… no matter how hot it is. However, for a non-regular-income-earning student like me who cannot afford three or four shaves a month, I need to be kempt while minimising the cost of doing so. Averagely in my vicinity, a haircut costs between $1.50 and $3.. never mind that it is meager as compared to the minimum of $18 on Calhoun Drive, Garden City beach in South Carolina; 3 hours of work at Macdonalds can pay for ‘e

m.

So once in a conversation with another friend he was describing a grooming treat he had at some expensive barber’s. After he was shaved, they applied a towel soaked in warm water on his scalp, even though he could not fathom the reason for that. I decided to try same after shaving my five-five and beard. To my surprise, it reduces the itchiness drastically, and perfectly fitting my grooming plan.

1st day of every month; visit the barber’s for a thorough shave
When 5-5, beard/moustache is growing, shave with razor.. then use towel soaked in warm water.
Take a shower.

You can try this at home, and share your experience. If you have another (natural) alternative (without shaving cream and powder), you are also welcome to share it. Stay groomed and kempt.

The Quest for Purpose: Your Strengths

Memory Verse: “….who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4: 13, 14)

Your strength is your quality or ability that you have that gives you an advantage (Advanced Learner’s Oxford Dictionary). It can be your physical strength, physical beauty, wisdom, position, skills (such as good leadership skills and good communication skills), good character, good health, spiritual gifts, natural talents, etc. These inborn or God-given qualities or abilities help you get certain things done better than other people. I should say, God has been very good to give some (if not all) of these qualities or abilities to everybody. And you should be thankful to God for these endowments in your life. They can guide you to know the will of God for your life (Marriage, Ministry, business and career (Money)).

If you realize that it becomes fun when you are doing a particular thing,  perhaps that is your calling. Unlike others, you may find that you have the wits and guts to study your books and excel at your academics. It may be that God wants you to be in the academia. Or, you may find that you are very good at leading people, organizing programs, influencing people, etc. You may be having a leadership mantle upon your life. Or, you may find that you have the grace to share God’s word, pray, and do the things of God in

such a way that people admire. It may be that God is calling you into His vineyard to do His work.

It is said that coming events cast their shadows.  Watch the names and titles by which people call you today. God may be revealing your purposes to you by this means. Perhaps they call you pastor, or seer, or prophet, or professor, or doctor, etc. It may be your calling. Don’t be surprised that in future you will find yourself in those fields where God has given you the strength. The little things you are capable of doing well today should give you an idea of what God wants you to do, of the areas where He wants you serve, and of those people He wants you to become partners with in marriage and in ministry. God did not put those strengths in you to be wasted. If you really want to make it, you should exploit those strengths and link yourself up with the right people.

God blessed Esther with a wonderfully beautiful physical appearance. This gave her favor in the sight of king Ahasuerus. When Haman plotted against the whole race of Israel and she seemed not to be aware her purpose, Mordecai alerted her: ‘…and who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ (Esther 4: 13, 14)

God is expecting that whatever qualities or abilities you have should be useful for His kingdom (remember, God’s general purpose for creating us all is that we save lives and expand His kingdom). If you are nice-looking in your appearance, talented, skillful, or spiritually gifted in any ways, God is also expecting you to freely use it to expand His kingdom. Don’t be proud and pompous, or greedily make money out of it. Jesus gave gifts to the apostles to ‘heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils’, and He told them, ‘… freely ye have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). Otherwise you will attract God’s wrath on your life.

However, your strengths are not the only indicators of your purpose. That is why we should also allow God to lead us into His purposes for our lives, since our strengths can be misleading without God’s leading.

By Samuel Tetteh-Baah