In the Gospel, we see the story of how Jesus fed the five thousand with only a few fishes and bread. Feeding the five thousand was a great miracle, it is a remarkable one to reckon with but there is a deeper revelation in that act of Jesus. Let’s read
“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people.” – Luke 9:16 NLT
Before the bread started multiplying, the Bible says that Jesus blessed the bread, gave thanks and went ahead to break the bread! If manna would fall from heaven in the old testament, why did Jesus have to break the bread? Why didn’t the bread just multiply without being broken? What was it about being broken?
The bread was blessed but the multiplication of the bread wasn’t in its blessing but in its breaking. This represented what Jesus was going to do, he was going to die and by his death he was going to become many! In the process of breaking, the bread reached about fifteen thousand people if we should count the women and children. The leftovers filled twelve baskets. People must have eaten to their fill, some might have eaten a double or triple portion and it was more than enough! Had Jesus continued to break it, it would continue to increase.
Jesus didn’t have to die to be blessed, Jesus even before death was blessing personified! Many were coming to Jesus and Jesus was healing them, forgiving their sins and setting them free! Despite all of the display of God’s greatness, there was a problem. Jesus was God’s way of being with a man but God didn’t just want to be with man, he wanted to spread himself and dwell in man. To achieve this, the blessed Jesus who was born of the blessed virgin mary had to be broken! The process of breaking doesn’t make any sense sometimes as we may see ourselves at the lowest level of life during that phase.
Jesus was powerful, men had sought to kill him before but couldn’t. Jesus had the ability to raise the dead, he had the ability to send armies from heaven but Jesus chose the path of breaking! He said in John 12:24
“I tell you the truth unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
As a child, I and my siblings created a micro garden on our verandah where we tried out some crops. We sowed tomatoes, we sowed pepper and we sowed beans. I know that when we plant a bean during the cold weather, at first it seems like nothing is happening and all of a sudden, this beans begins to rot and then break apart. The first time we tried it, we couldn’t bear the fact that our beans were rotting away, we thought that it was going to be the end of that bean and we even wanted to know if we could save it from rotting away! It was after we had given up on it that we saw a plant sprouting up from what is left of the decayed bean. In coming months, we harvested lots of beans from the plant!
You may be blessed but it doesn’t mean you can’t be broken! The beauty of seed is in the breaking. When our bean began to sprout, the beauty was becoming more evident. It may take time but it continued to grow, we began to see the beautiful flowers and then the multiple seeds! Sometimes, the blessing must die for its multiplication to start!
That God has blessed you doesn’t mean you may not need to be broken, it doesn’t mean you may not have to be dragged out of your comfort zone into the fire! Your disposition during those moments of breaking matters. At the time of breaking, you may not understand it but you are being prepared for multiplication.
Joseph, the son of Israel had his own moment of breaking. He was having beautiful dreams, he was seeing himself in a condition that clearly shows that he was blessed but Joseph never knew what was going to come before him. He had to be sold into slavery, he had to go to the prison but all of that was moments of his breaking! Just like a seed, he was decaying, he was forgotten and suddenly, he started sprouting.
The moment of breaking is a moment of new things, its the moment of sprouting and it is one of the most important times in your life. Your breaking may not be pleasant, friends may desert you, people may betray or even deny you but if you can stay in it, you’ll sprout! For every man passing through the phase of breaking, greatness lies at the end of the tunnel! Jesus looked ahead and saw the joy awaiting him and he was willing to lay down his life. By his resurrection, ascension and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is able to multiply through us, this is God spreading himself through man!
When the grain of corn doesn’t die, no matter how much it is blessed, it cannot multiply. What you are going through right now may be your own moment of breaking, pass through it with pride and enjoy it knowing that the glory ahead far outweighs suffering.
Staying healthy isn’t just about checking our blood pressure level, treating infections, avoiding bacteria and eating lots of fruits and vegetable. As awesome as all of these things are, you also need to ensure that you are emotionally healthy, your emotions can have a great effect on your body!
There are many ways to stay emotionally healthy but I’ve crafted out five biblical ways you can achieve that.
Anger is cool and important when under control. You can get angry for so many things and it can help you swerve into taking the right action. But then, anger can destroy you when you let it swell out of control. Many times, people who took actions under the heavy influence of anger lived to regret their decisions. The Bible says
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT
We were never told that it is wrong to get angry. It is okay to get angry when things are terribly wrong but it is never okay to live at the mercies of your anger, it is a problem when your anger guides the decisions you take, it is not okay when you lost control because you are angry. It gives the devil a foothold, not just to make you take wrong decisions but to also keep you unhealthy. Another way to say this is “acknowledge that you were wronged but live a life of forgiveness!” The Bible says
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 KJV
Anger is a process that must be slowed down. Being slow to anger isn’t cowardice, it is the highest display of strength and the Bible relates the strength of such as to one who conquers a city. So it’s possible to conquer without anger!
2. Alter Your Thinking
Change the way you think. Always think the right way, fill your mind with positive thoughts, with things that keep you motivated and with things that are moral, sound and pure. Studies have shown that whatever we read overtime begins to take a form in our character. You may want to read good books, listen to good songs, set your mind on great things! The Bible says
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” – Proverbs 23:7 KJV
Man is the product of his thoughts, the thought keeps the heart in certain conditions and determines our actions. We can’t hide it for long, whatever we fill up our minds with is eventually what we will produce. The Bible says
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23 NLT
When the Bible is asking us to guard our hearts, it’s not referring to taking regular dosage of blood tonics, avoiding red meats and all of that. As awesome as those precautionary measures are, being careful of what we let into our thoughts is another way to guard our hearts because that is what determines the direction our lives will go! Jesus said in Luke 6:45
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” – Luke 6:45 NLT
It takes a good heart to be a good person, people are good simply because their heart is good! The outward manifestation of their goodness is a product of the treasury of their good hearts! This means when you think good thoughts over time, you begin to produce forth good fruits! The evil man is evil because his heart is evil too! When you always think evil thoughts, it becomes your reality.
3. Delete Negativity
This is a follow up to the second point but deserves a separate tab. Stop seeing negative, talking negative and doing negative things. Don’t always believe that the world is against you, don’t believe that only bad things come to you. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself sweet words. Instead of thinking failure, think success, instead of thinking giving up, think of forging ahead. The Bible says
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8 KJV
Put your mind on what is true! Stay positive!
4. Associate With Motivators
Once in a while, you’ll definitely need motivations. Sometimes, you may be too weak to read it in books, to watch it in movies, to hear it on radios! Sometimes, better motivations come from the association we keep because they don’t just encourage us to do the right thing, they support us in doing them. It could be a coach, a mentor, a friend or all of the above! Make friends with people you can trust with your plans, people you are free to discuss your failures and people whose sole aim is to see you succeed.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14 KJV
You need counsellors, where there is none, people fall!
5. Be A Motivator
It is no longer a secret that we learn even more when we teach and reach out to others. Don’t just be on the receiving end, don’t just look for people that will help you stay motivated, look for people to motivate! For example, when you are going through tough times in life, you can heal faster when you start encouraging others going through the same thing instead of retiring to a nook and mourn yourself. Whether you are passing through a moment of loss and grief, a moment of failure or a moment of lack of motivation in yourself, reach out to others! By seeing other people heal by your words, you see every reason to heal in yourself. The Bible says
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ” – Luke 6:38 NLT
Whatever we give, we receive in full measure! This applies in many contexts and it also applies when you give yourself to motivating others.
There are many more ways to stay emotionally healthy which can’t be exhausted in one sitting however, these five points are great ways to start! Any other way you know? Let’s have it on the comment section.
Becoming a teen, I was the black sheep of my family. Everything I did was customarily wrong even when I try to please everyone. As a young teen, I suddenly developed kleptomaniac tendencies, I would always pick small money from my father’s pocket when he enters the bathroom and sometimes I would always look out for hideouts where they hid money from us.
Most times, it was that hidden money I was after as I always rationalized my actions with “well, they must have forgotten that the money is here”. The more they devise new means to hide it, the more they train my mind to know exactly where they would be hiding it. It was an impulsive behaviour that was beyond my control. The fact that my father usually labels me as a wicked boy made things worse for my emotions because it wasn’t intentional.
Before such propensities evolved, I have had a mysterious experience as a kid in my primary school when a hand tapped me one early morning and said audibly “go and preach the gospel”, I believe it was God. As a kid, I started going for early morning street preaching but things changed when I got admitted into a seminary school. While in Junior Seminary, all my belongings were stolen except the shirt I was wearing on my body. The day I removed it to wash it, it was also stolen! The senior prefects who also majored as official bullies didn’t give my kind any chance, they would beat me every morning because I had no shirt. Stealing became a survival skill for most of us, I found it hard stealing other people’s stuff not because I didn’t need them but because I was scared, very scared of getting caught. After a year and some months, I left the school.
It was the moment I came out of the junior seminary that I saw these thievish propensities sprouting! I realized later that it had become a part of my natural idiosyncrasies as I hiked through juvenile. Those times, these things were what I never wanted to do but I found myself doing them! Sometimes, after stealing change, I would go to a nook and cry. It was ravaging me, particularly with the way I was always dealt with and spoken to as a result of that.
I was feeling a void in me, my father found me extremely disgusting. Whether I try to please him or not, he found me very horrible and every subtlest misstep would bring his resentment on me. I wanted to do what was right but inside of me, I was trudging in confusion, striving to come to terms with who I was, with my identity and with the supposed God’s judgement. Anytime I was privileged to attend church programmes, I would answer altar-calls because we were always told that the moment we are prayed for, the desire to do what is wrong would leave! Well, it never left me! Oftentimes, when I steal money, I wasn’t regarding it as stealing, I was always considering that I would soon make money and repay all the money I had taken.
At a point, it was declared openly in my family that God was angry and has instructed that they stop praying for me since he has marked that I will depart at the age of sixteen.
My parents had directed my siblings before then to stop associating with me, they didn’t want me to influence them wrongly. Mum would seldom wake me in the midnight to talk to me, she wasn’t like my Dad. Her concerns were usually shown more softly even when it becomes unbearable. Sometimes, I watch my mum’s frustration and cry, I wished she knew that I wasn’t doing those things intentionally, that I was also battling within myself to do what was right.
I wasn’t doing something so different from what other young ones were doing but it was serious in my family. What is defined as stealing in my family, is what some other families may define as merely crossing boundaries. In my family, taking food from the pot without authorization was as severe as stealing money and stealing money was treated as a near-murder case. With my recent interaction with people, I have realized that what is considered wrong in some families is typical in other families. I also realized in some studies I have done as regards to teenagers that some behavioural traits are very common and would likely be outgrown if handled with care.
My mother didn’t stop always praying for me though, she felt she was losing me away to the devil. It was at this period that my siblings were told not to have anything to do with me, I would stay in the room alone all to myself. When it was declared openly that God was angry with me and that I will die at the age of sixteen, I felt even more awful! My father had rejected me, my siblings have been asked to reject me and now God, according to them, had rejected me… I was slowly moving into depression. I remember my several attempts to kill myself, my self-esteem was deeply hurt that I felt terrible in the presence of people.
There was no day my father did not call me names, there was no day he wouldn’t shout at me, fear became a part of me and my heart would skip at every occasion. This was also how I developed conflict phobia, allodoxaphobia and several other related phobias. I was also punished for the offence of others in the family. Anytime something wrong comes about in the family, with little or no inquiry, I was invariably accused and punished. My words became unbelievable too. Whether I was telling the truth or lying, they were all treated as lies. Sometimes, to win the trust of my mother, I would steal money from her bag and return it telling her I picked it from her room.
One of the nights after dad had finished flogging me for something I didn’t do wrong, I looked at the wounds and determined I was going to die. I tried mixing the methylated powder with water believing it would kill me if I drink it. Dad caught me, he asked me what I was going to do with it and I told him I wanted to apply them in the wounds he gave me. He flared up and accused me of belonging to a cult where they taught me to use powder on my body after being flogged. Guess what? He started beating me again.
All through the night, I was crying. I could not sleep, it had become so intolerable and I remember he told me “you are not my son! I disown you today!” I felt even more offended, not because he vocally disowned me but because I stopped deeming him as my father that moment and I didn’t see any reason someone who isn’t my father would want to discipline me. I even began to feel very offended whenever he sends me on errands or beat me for my poor result in school.
At some of these occurrences, my mother usually seemed helpless. Whenever dad wanted to beat me, he would send her out of the room, lock up the door and deal with me till his anger is satisfied. Like many African parents, my father was a very strict and mean man but inside of him was a very soft, weak and water-hearted man. All that he was doing was a display of fear, he was dealing with me the way he thought was the best way to protect me. His intentions were for my good, he was scared I would turn into something he didn’t want, he was overprotective and coming from a polygamous family whose mother was the last wife, Dad didn’t have the experience of what it looked like to have a close relationship with his father. These days, I hold no grudges against my father, I appreciate everything he did even if they weren’t the best way to handle issues; it was his own best and he desired to have a morally sound son. If he had known better then, he would have done better.
That night, I packed up my bag, sneaked it out of the house and the next morning, I ran away from home! I wanted to run into a speeding car and die but on second thought, I went to my Uncle’s place where I stayed for a while before my aunt tried resolving the issues between I and my father. I was restored home. Before I got restored home, I had noticed an old laptop in my Uncle’s room that I felt he wasn’t using, I believed that the moment I grab this laptop, I would be able to make money with it, not as if I even know how but the urge was uncontrollable.
This kleptomaniac tendency manifested again and I carried the laptop. I had this bond with gadgets and I don’t know where it came from, I was always attracted to electronics whether it was a calculator, walkie-talkie, electronic watches and all that, I was always attracted to it. My father saw the laptop later, it was another series of beating and moral instructions before it got returned. I felt so ashamed of myself and for some days, I couldn’t even lift my face before my aunt and cousins. Those days, I was thoroughly searched whenever I come visiting. I wasn’t visiting because I wanted to, necessity called for it and I believe you must have read about in another story.
I remember one of the days my cousin complained that she was looking for her money, I was blamed, my tears were not enough proof that I didn’t do it and even though the money was never found, I was regarded and treated like a hardened criminal, this continued to make low self-esteem spread within me with speed. Nobody knew that I was fighting battles within me, I was struggling to come to terms with who I was. I questioned God on why I was created and I suggested that he would have made me an animal if I needed to exist.
At some point, I questioned if God truly existed because I believed if he did, he would have been able to control me even when I couldn’t control myself. At some point, I was also lacking the motivation to do the right thing because when I commit a crime or not, I would be accused of crimes I didn’t commit. However, whenever I remember the experience I had as a kid; about a hand tapping me and asking me to preach the gospel, I would always withdraw my questioning. Other times, I would feel that I had gone so bad that God has truly rejected me and marked me for destruction.
I was not a stubborn child, I was a scared and very quiet child who shiver whenever a hand is raised out of fear of being beaten. I remember back in the junior seminary school where I was accused of belonging to a spiritual cult because of the way I was usually quiet, the way I shiver whenever a senior is talking to me and the way I would cry instead no to requests from the senior folks. One of the days that I slept off in the classroom during night preps and didn’t make it back to the hostel room, many people believed I disappeared for an occultic meeting.
I was also very anti-social and scared of letting my opinions out. We barely had opportunities to relate with people anyway because we were restricted from going out, having friends and even relating with people closely. My dad usually felt very uneasy whenever he bumps into us on the road talking with someone whether male or female.
I was empty inside but in that emptiness, I always felt God was reaching out to me, I always loved God emotionally and I always felt sad that I wasn’t making God happy. Some days I would kneel asking God to take away my life rather than allow me to stay in the world and doing what I don’t want to do.
It was within this period that it was announced that God has rejected me, he was angry with me and that I will die at the age of sixteen. Few of my relatives started dreaming of my death too, they would always call my mother to relate their nightmares and this further validated the claims that God was done with me. I started seeing death hovering over me, it became a psychological problem. Anytime I walk on the road, I was expecting a car to just run into me and kill me!
We always read Bible during night devotions too and we’re asked to preach from it in turns! Initially, I only loved reading the stories in the Bible, I had never read beyond the book of Acts of the Apostles or the book of Judges. While we weren’t very committed to a local assembly, our family was a staunch Christian home. The nearest Church was very far from home and we went to church only on Sundays and sometimes, before we get there, the service is almost over.
After a long while, a new Church was planted close to home. First, I stopped attending Children church and started going to the adult church services. Sometimes, my parents would force me to sit with them in Church, I would become stiff especially when I sit with my dad. During music sections, I don’t move my body, I would just stand moping at the band and feeling chained! Who knows? I may dance and dance the wrong way, then dad will wait for me at home for a beating. Dad misinterpreted my uneasiness too! He believed I had a demon in me that makes me stiff in Church.
Somehow, I was able to break free and start attending services independent of my parents. Sometimes, I would just wake up, prepare and leave earlier than them and this way I would sit alone. I still had dads eyes on me though but whenever he looks away I’d steal some dance steps. I would watch my fellow youths in excitement as they dance and I felt there was a way to express myself the way I felt inside. When I was done with “O” Level examinations, I started going for most of the Church weekly activities, I was seen virtually in every single activity of the Church.
At first, I was endeared to Church for two reasons, first it was a place I felt safe and secondly, it was the only reason I could stay away from home for some time. Though there were times I would have issues with my dad for coming back from Church late, the Church was one thing they wouldn’t want to stop us from being committed to even though they wanted to have a say on how to be committed and where to be committed.
One Sunday morning, during church service, the preacher was preaching from Romans 6:23 which talks about the wages of sin and the gift of God. While the preacher dwelt on the wages of sin I became curious, I had to read again to see if there were any wages of righteousness but I couldn’t see, I rather saw the gift of God! My curiosity heightened, does it mean there aren’t any wages of righteousness? Why are we struggling to be righteous then? I asked myself and I decided to read the entire chapter, I couldn’t find a place where the wages of righteousness was mentioned and I went back to chapter one of Romans and started reading from there.
That was the beginning of my turning point.
I didn’t stop reading, I would read it over and over again even as I got home. What I saw was clashing with virtually everything I’ve heard as the gospel, it was subjecting a lot of things to questioning. It was at odds with many things I’ve heard not in the Children’s Church, in the adult Church and even in school moral instructions. I was fighting it but I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to understand better.
At some point, I would feel like “wow!” And at some other point, I would feel bitter with Paul and ask “is he encouraging us to continue sinning?” Within this time, I joined a youth ministry in Church and began to come out of my shelf gradually. My parents too were amazed! To some point, they started becoming proud of me and this alone was a big motivation to continue. What they have tried to see by all means started becoming possible just by the simple entrance of God’s word. I don’t know how it happened but God’s word was changing me drastically.
My life started changing, my viewpoint started changing with what I was reading in the entire letters of Paul and I began to doubt some things I heard earlier. I began to doubt that God was done with me, I began to doubt that God wants me dead at sixteen years, I felt it was the devil trying to take advantage of my situation. I have always heard and believed that the wages of sin is death but I was never taught the gift of God which is eternal life, I have always wanted this life, I had always wanted to work for my salvation but the more I tried the more I got even worse. I was never told it wasn’t my duty to work for my salvation, I was never told that the price Jesus paid was complete and perfect! I thought Jesus only came to make it easier for me to be saved but in Romans, I was seeing that Jesus saved me regardless of my sins!
I strived with the truth for months as it wasn’t what I’ve heard since I was born. I had no privilege to be taught those kinds of truth in the local assembly but each time I was in service, a voice would be explaining scriptures to me even when the preacher is saying something else. It used to come so clear that I would be writing them down as though I was copying it from somewhere. As each day passes, I was opening up for the truth more.
I started finding peace in me, my self-esteem started to improve and I began meeting people. In the youth ministry that I joined, I felt accepted for the first time. During Bible studies, I would also be allowed to contribute, this way, I felt my voice matter as they would always marvel at my contributions during the Bible study. I had experienced this too in Scripture Union during follow up and Bible study classes.
I was growing and I became sure that God never hated me, I became sure that I was not going to die at the age of sixteen and I realised that I was seeing death only because I started entertaining the thought of it. The change became obvious, it didn’t happen instantly, it took time and it is still happening till date but so far, it was glaring! My mistakes stopped becoming a yardstick for me to measure God’s love and acceptance.
It was at the age of eighteen that I remembered I was informed that I was going to die at the age of sixteen, that God was angry with me and has marked me for death. They were wrong, if the Bible contained the word of God, then they weren’t saying the truth! The truth I saw was what set me free, the more I understood the gospel, the more I realized I had no problem, that I was a slave by ignorance. I started seeing the best of myself, I started feeling much more confident of who I am.
While I have heard moral instructions for decades, it tried but it didn’t change me. I was so weird that Dad felt I had a demon! I remember the day he took me for deliverance, they turned me around, pushed me to the floor, raised me again and poured oil on me. It didn’t change me. I was not as bad as many young boys because I didn’t have the opportunity to be bad like them anyway but it made no difference!
I remember when I was taken to one “Evangelist-seer” who tried pressuring me into agreeing that I do see myself naked in the dream. She tried convincing me of a dream that was supposed to be mine! I never saw myself naked but she was insisting I do and that I was lying. For the sake of peace and because my mother would not believe me, I nodded reluctantly. She gave me Psalms and fasting… It didn’t lift as feather off me, I became worse.
The gospel did what years of disciplines, moral instructions and threats couldn’t do! Knowing that God loved me regardless changed everything, I would stay on my knees praying and crying to God, those tears were tears of affection. Somehow, what was in me as a child became stirred up! My love for gadgets got channelled rightly, I combined it with my love for writing and it was easy. Those things I supposed were deficiencies turned out to be a kind of strength! Sometimes, what we call weaknesses are strengths that got manipulated.
I heard the gospel, it changed me. No wonder the Bible says it is God’s power unto salvation, we don’t need to know how it happens, we just have to believe. All we know is that the gospel is God’s power to save those who believe… Realizing that God’s mercy is bigger than my mess mesmerized me and made me better.
Its been over a decade-plus but I am still living and enjoying God’s love. The death I experienced was the one I died with Christ and now I live for him. If he says I am free, who am I to question it? That’s how I’ve gotten from there to here.
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No matter how long you have driven through the wrong path, it is not too late to reverse and it is not wise to continue on the wrong path. The farther you drive through the wrong path, the farther you are away from where you are supposed to be.
Often times, many people prefer to continue walking on that wrong path simply because they have been there long enough but the earlier you retrace your steps, the nearer you get to where you are supposed to be and the longer you procrastinate, the more you’ll stay on the wrong path.
You may have tried certain things and it didn’t work out, it’s not an indication that you should stop trying, you’ve got to start all over again. You may have had a very bad experience in your past relationship, it’s not an indication to lock up yourself and never open up for someone else, it’s time to pick up the pieces and love again. You may have had a terrible experience in your life pursuit and you felt the urge to resign but it’s time to pick up the lessons and start all over again.
It’s not too late to start over again It’s not too late to reverse and follow the right path.
In the part of the world where I was born, religion plays a very vital role in the life of the people. Poor people often find solace in the hope that religion offers and to some extent “Pastors” are well respected and almost worshipped especially when trails of newsworthy miracles follow them around. Here, people are more interested in your ability to wow them with miracles than your ability to teach them the word of God which is the major reason why we gather.
As a result, so many Pastors try to live up to expectation. People also value the words of their Pastor which is a good thing but they run to Pastor for what isn’t in the Pastor’s job description. This is where they make serious mistakes and this is where lots of Pastors miss it. Many Pastors will claim to have answers to things they don’t know because they want to appear relevant. Those who have extra coaching abilities will rob others of the time they have dedicated to learning the gospel just to listen to his coaching lectures every Sunday!
It is okay to be a Pastor and still know a thing or two about marriage counselling, business, career and so on. It’s okay to teach what you know including things happening in the society. It is okay to always throw in counsels when needed but in areas of your expertise.
Here is where the problem lies.
When we think that being a business, career, relationship and life coach is the same as being a Pastor, then we are missing it! In the Church ministry, it will be wrong prioritizing certain things against the main reason for our calling as Pastors. Many times, because of how we present ourselves, people tend to think we have all the answers to all their questions. We never saw a place in the Bible where marriage and career were based on Pastor’s decisions.
An elderly female preacher once told us a story in a conference. She had a Pastor whom she submitted to and was committed to the ministry in which he has been called. When suitors started coming to seek her hand in marriage, she went to her Pastor to seek counsel. This wasn’t a decision her Pastor was supposed to make for her, it was a decision she was to make on her own. But because she believed Pastor had all the answers to every question, she went to him to seek counsel. This Pastor asked her not to marry the very person her heart was beating for. He encouraged her to marry a richer suitor who can take care of her.
She went home, she was having some doubts this time about what the Pastor had told her. She prayed and was convinced in her Spirit that the same man her Pastor asked her not to marry was the man she should marry. She defied all odds and got married to this man. Her Pastor wasn’t a bad person but at that moment of decision making, he didn’t offer the best counsel. Her marriage was and is still blissful without issues for more than 35 years… Why? Because she realized Pastor doesn’t have all the answers and they have boundaries.
The ministry of the Pastor is to teach and disciple people with the word of God. It is not to make decisions for them. As a Pastor, you’re still very great if the only thing you know and can teach is the gospel. Why not focus on it? You must not give answers to every area of life just because you are scared to have your members seek knowledge from elsewhere. Stop confusing people with what you are ignorant of. You’ll still do better as a Pastor teaching nothing else but the word of God.
If you are a life coach and also a pastor, you must learn that the two aren’t interwoven, you ought to separate them! Practice your calling as a Pastor and coach people without the “ministry attachment”. Don’t enforce your opinion on people just the same way you teach them the Bible authoritatively. Church services aren’t the time to display your extra coaching skills. I agree, to Pastor people is to coach them but it has it’s limit… A pastor is only meant to disciples believers to mature and grow in the knowledge of the word of God. Anything outside that isn’t included in the job description of a Pastor.
Learning to separate the two will bring a balance. As a minister of the gospel and also an ICT coach, I know I can’t come to an audience yearning to learn the gospel and start teaching them ICT. I don’t automatically become my ministry proteges’ relationship, career or ICT coach if they never signed up for it. If they are signing up for it, they are doing so at their own discretion, as a separate business and without a ministry label attached. This way, we don’t start mixing up things for ourselves, we don’t come to a gathering where people want to learn the word of God and start teaching them how to make money or how to woo a girl! I’d rather fix a date for that but not certainly on events and meetings dedicated for the gospel of which I was called to teach.
A pastor isn’t necessarily a career or relationship coach, being a Pastor doesn’t give anyone right to control others and impose decisions on them. People should be free to have an opinion and coaching isn’t about having an opinion, it is about showing people things from a better perspective without robbing it on their face as a superior-no-alternative answer. After you’re done, they have the right to chose or reject your perspective.