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 46 years to test ourselves as an independent people or nation. 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.
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.
"Joshua, no one will be able to defeat you as long as you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will always be with you; I will never abandon you. Be determined and confident, for you will be the leader of these people as they occupy this land which I promised their ancestors. Just be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that my servant Moses gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go. Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:5-9 GNT)
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:
1. How inspiring am I?
2. Do I leave persons and places better off because I have been around them?
3. Is my mind open to new ideas?
4. Am I able to communicate this to others effectively?
5. Do I help groups with which I am affiliated to move forward or backward?
Nehemiah 2 16-18 describes the kind of inspiring leader that Nehemiah was: "None of the local officials knew where I had gone or what I had been doing. So far I had not said anything to any of the other Jews--the priests, the leaders, the officials, or anyone else who would be taking part in the work. But now I said to them, 'See what trouble we are in because Jerusalem is in ruins and its gates are destroyed! Let's rebuild the city walls and put an end to our disgrace.' And I told them how God had been with me and helped me, and what the emperor had said to me. They responded, 'Let's start rebuilding!' And they got ready to start the work."
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.
"Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my saviour. The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains." (Habbukuk 3:17-19 GNT)
• 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.