On The Path of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Getting Ready For Your Time
THE first person i know in history who prepared for his future through reading is Abraham Lincoln. Due to poverty, he attended formal education for less than two years. He was admitted to the bar through apprenticeship and study. Five months before receiving his party’s nomination for President, he sketched his life:
‘’I was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia of undistinguished families. My mother who died in my tenth year was of a family of the name of Hanks. I grew up in Indiana. When I came of age, I did not know much. I could barely read, write and cipher, that was all.’’ But Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois.
When he was accosted by his friends over his devotion to reading, Lincoln replied that he would prepare himself for when his time would come. And indeed, his time came and he successfully gave account of himself by saving the United States from disintegration during the U.S. civil war. He also defined democracy as the government of the people by the people and for the people. He emancipated the slaves in the United States. The second person is Baron James Callaghan of Cardiff who entered the civil service at 17 owing to poverty. Self educated, he later became British Prime Minister from 1976 to 1979. Another is Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany (1933-45). Hitler, not being able to gain education because of poverty, read anything which came on hand while eking out a miserable existence as a third rate artist. He enlisted in the German army in World War I, and was wounded. His life took a higher turn thereafter. Also, a natural law propels a man to the level of his knowledge and competence. However a person may be propelled above his competence by his contemporaries. That accounts for many failures in public office.
Getting ready for future greatness is exemplified in the Bible by Joshua, secretary to Moses. God said to Joshua: ‘’Moses my servant is dead. Now then get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give you. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses,’’ Joshua 1:2. Are you standing today at the crossroads of change? If so, observe two things in Joshua’s story: One, when his time came to lead, Joshua was ready. Until then, he faithfully served Moses and found fulfilment as a second fiddle. He didn’t push and didn’t play politics. He just prepared himself. Then God promoted him.
Two, Joshua went further than his mentor. Moses’ leadership ended where the Promised Land began. Under Joshua’s leadership, Israel would move into it, possess it and become a great nation. Everyday he had spent in the wilderness equipped him for this moment. God never wastes experience. Everything you’ve been through, including things you didn’t understand, are preparation for what God has in store for you.
Ever wonder how Joshua felt stepping into Moses’ shoes? He needed assurance, so God told him: three, ‘’I will give you every place where you set your foot; meaning just step out in faith and claim it. It is yours as long as you are willing to take possession. Four, ‘’No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life,’’ Joshua 1:5. Yes, you will face criticism and come under attack. There were 31 kings, seven nations and giants waiting for Israelites in Canaan. But every battle you fight is just an opportunity for Jehovah to show Himself strong on your behalf.
Five, ‘’As I was with Moses so I will be with you,’’ Joshua 1:5. If you are anxious about the future, recall God’s faithfulness to you in the past. At the end of his life Joshua wrote: ‘’Now, I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises Jehovah your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled,’’ Joshua 23:14. And the God who came through for Joshua will come through for you. Thus, the bottom line is: Everything works for the benefit of those who love God, and of whom God has called for the fulfilment of His plan – Romans 8:28.
Our champion for today is Muhammad, in full: Abu Alqasim Muhammad Ibn Abdallah Ibn Abmuttalib. Born in 570 A.D in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad died on June 8, 632 A.D. in Medina, birth place of his mother. According to tradition, Muhammad was the man to whom the religion of Islam was revealed. Thus, as the founder of Islam his life is of monumental significance in the history of mankind.
Early in life, his merchant activities resulted in his marriage in 595 A.D. to the wealthy widow Khadijah. He received his prophetic call in 610 A.D., beginning his religious activities with renegade followers of Jesus Christ.
At this time in western civilization, only the Jews were known to believe in one God. Jesus was a Jew and his disciples created a sect from Judaism namely Christianity. In the fourth century, Christian Era, at the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) the doctrine of Trinity was accepted by the Christian church. It divided the Christians forcing a dispersal of the church.Then the Unitarians merged with the followers of Muhammad. Opposition in Mecca forced him to emigrate (hijrah) to Medina in 622. He defeated his opponents at the battle of Badre in 624. By January 630, Muhammad had conquered the Saudi peninsula, entering Mecca with great honours. On his death he left Arabia united and ready for the spreading of Islam to Syria and Iraq. The Quran Islam’s holy book was compiled after his death by the third Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan in 650 A.D. from the foregoing you can see that both Islam and Christianity are sects of Judais