If you want to be successful, you just have to be diligent in what you do and you have to build your competence consistently. The Bible tells us that a man who is diligent in what he does will stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29) and when we read in context, the Bible wasn’t talking about diligence in doing the wrong things but about diligence in service and career. You don’t have to be a Christian to be successful because anyone can be competent and diligent. However, aside from being competent and diligent, there is a God-factor that could just work for anyone without even being literate. It doesn’t happen to everybody but God makes it work for some people according to His own wisdom and purpose.
When God decides to just get things to work for someone, their incompetence becomes a kind of competence, their foolishness becomes a kind of smartness and their ignorance sounds like local wisdom. God works like that too! This is not a general experience and therefore everyone should strive towards knowledge and diligence. However, God in His own wisdom can override all those steps to success and just put you at the helm even without you ever dreaming of it. This is the wonders of the God-factor. Let me share a true story with you.
Sometimes in the early months of 2019, a certain school in Delta State, Nigeria had to send pupils home because their parents couldn’t pay school fees. Some schools would prefer flogging the pupils while others prefer sending them back to their parents since it isn’t their fault that the school fees aren’t paid and therefore a kind of abuse to flog them. A particular kid from the school by name Success was walking home when a certain lady who had known her to be very outspoken, stubborn and funny decided to make a video with her and post on the social media just for laughs.
She asked Success why she was going home at that time and the young girl responded in Pidgin English “they sent me home because my parents couldn’t pay school fees. They should have wasted their energy in flogging me!” She implied that she was used to caning and would have preferred they flogged her since it wasn’t going to pain her that much like they expected. She made her response in such a manner that communicated her gross stubbornness which must have been contributed by the kind of ghetto environment she was coming from.
When this video got online, it started trending! And guess what? Three remarkable things happened. God turned Success’s stubbornness to a winning point that people readily interpreted it as being very smart! Many celebrities raised funds for her that even her university education has been secured. She became a star overnight and international bodies recognized her as a good ambassador of child education. Note, this never happened because there were no smarter kids! There are in fact, smarter and even more outspoken kids to whom Success would be no match! Can we question how God decides to announce someone?
The School itself quickly got attention from the State government and renovation for the depleted school building commenced immediately. The lady who wanted to make fun with Success on social media got her own share of the favour. Some organizations gave her millions of Naira and a job in an Oil Company citing that Success wouldn’t have been noticed if she didn’t make the video. The lady was not doing the video for any philanthropic purpose neither did she care about Success that much but God still turned the interpretation of her actions into what would also favour her.
This is how God changes the story of men, not because they are very pious or prayerful but because in His own wisdom, He just wants them to skip the natural laws of success. God can use the incompetence of someone to bring him before kings! A mentally challenged man was brought to the limelight in Nigeria because a video trended where he was exhibiting funny spellings as a result of his mental challenge. Guess what? He became a celebrity overnight and featured in public events. Organizations have also made efforts to see to his treatment. Yet, this is not the only mentally challenged man in the country; some appear even better and smarter. Some look more promising than him but God can decide to turn the heart of any man towards you not based on competence but based on His own mercies!
When that defining moment comes, foolishness looks very admirable and mental disorder looks smart. It doesn’t happen to everyone though, God isn’t partial but He knows why He has to exempt people from certain laws and still put them ahead of people who have been so faithful with what they are doing. The story of St. Paul should be another inspiration as regards to this. Paul wasn’t the only person who was persecuting the Church as a result of ignorance; he wasn’t the only zealous Jew! He wasn’t even the only educated man in the Jewish nation but Jesus personally came to Paul Himself and made Paul experience His reality and saving power! Paul wrote a large percentage of the New Testament and the doctrines of the same Church Paul had persecuted previously are based on the teachings of Paul. Literally, Paul was just ahead!
Yet, Paul was not among the twelve disciples of Jesus neither was Paul the replacement for Judas. No other person in the Bible experienced Jesus like that in the New Testament. While the rule says we should preach the gospel to get people saved (Romans 10:14), Jesus would also go ahead of us to show Himself to certain people even more than we have ever seen. It has nothing to do with how much we have been faithful to Him.
Would we say Jesus undermined the loyalty of His disciples? Would we say God is partial? If we calculate these things with human wisdom, we may end up saying God is partial but no, God in His wisdom knows why He does what He does. The first can be the last and the last can be the first! This is what the God-factor does. Don’t expect that everybody must go through the same difficulties with you before they get to where you are. God can overturn everything and make it very much easier for them just for His purpose and God may allow you to pass through the fire for His own purpose too. It is this God-factor that many people interpret as luck.
It is true that the Bible talks so much about diligence, knowledge, competence and consistency as factors of success in life, the Bible also talked about the God-factor and how people can succeed without the listed factors. God isn’t encouraging laziness and every man should strive towards being diligent but to deny the God-factor is to deny that there is God.
It is true that the Bible says in Proverbs 22:29 “do you see a man skilled in his work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” But God also says in Zechariah 4:6 “…not by power nor might but by my Spirit”
While we should strive to be skilful and consistent, it is also important never to put our trust alone in ourselves. We should be hopeful that God blesses the works of our hands but we should also know that God can decide to put work in the hands of the incompetent and make them competent.