By REV ANGELA PALACIOUS
We have come this far by faith and by hard work on the part of those engaged in building rather than tearing down. We have had 40 years to test ourselves as a people. Where do we go from here?
Let us consider seven building blocks with which to build this nation: leadership, inspiration, trustworthiness, faithfulness, dedication, commitment and good stewardship. We may need to cultivate them personally if we find ourselves to be deficient.
LEADERSHIP: A great leader leads by example. Such a leader does not need to coerce members to follow, but inspires them to follow. A great leader has a vision, a mission, is motivated, enthusiastic, passionate, and knows how to bring out greatness in others. Are we great leaders in our own right? I pray that the answer is yes. May we always be led by the grace of God so that we may then lead others to Christ. These are God's words to Joshua:
"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:5-9 NIV)
INSPIRATION: This is the idea while perspiration is often the result of the labour that it takes to bring the idea to birth. It is the ability to see what God sees and to show others what we see. It is a positive word and a positive influence. It means being the wind beneath the wings of a person or an organisation. Some questions for us to ask ourselves are:
How inspiring am I?
Do I leave persons and places better off because I have been around them?
Is my mind open to new ideas?
Am I able to communicate this to others effectively?
Do I help groups with which I am affiliated to move forward or backward?
St Paul instructs Titus how to inspire his people: "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone...God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." (Titus 3: 1-8 NIV)
TRUSTWORTHINESS: This describes someone in whom trust may be placed not to disappoint when given a responsibility. It may be expressed as confidence in the ability to depend on the person, and a feeling of security in an intimate relationship. Most of us know what it is to have a car that can break down at any time, or a friend who is not reliable, and this is why it is such a valuable character trait. When are you at your best and with whom? When are you most likely to fail and why?
God is trustworthy. We can put our trust in God's faithfulness. We may not understand God's ways as God's thoughts and plans are so much greater than our finite minds can comprehend, but we can trust that God is loving and good. Unless the Lord builds this nation, we labour in vain:
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23 NIV).
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at email@example.com.