The Power of Association and Imitation
Listen, brethren, one thing about which most of you have hurt yourselves is your refusal to imitate. And that is why you have made such little progress. God raises leadership so that it should be imitated. When you decide to be your own original, and it is a poor original, you have decided to rank low on that Day, to your own eternal loss. Do you want an angel to come from heaven as a model? When he comes, he will make you dumb as he did to Zechariah. How can you crumble your future, crumble yourself and become what you have become because you will not imitate?
This ruling of the Prayer Book the way I do, I saw it in a tract in October 1966. It didn’t have as many headings as I have put here, but I imitated.
Please, I want to talk again about something. I was in Form Two when I decided to get a Ph.D. Where did it come from? The principal, Dr. Rudin, had a Ph.D. So I asked, “What is this?” They said it is a degree for the highest level of learning. I said, “I will get one.” When I got to Fourah Bay College, I went to see Professor Landor to sign my form that I should do Chemistry. There I saw on his name “Ph.D., DSc.” Then I looked in the University; nobody else had a DSc. Of all the lecturers, those who went far stopped at the Ph.D. Since he liked me, I asked him what the DSc. meant and why the other people did not have it. He said it comes from a thesis from research of high distinction. So I said, “I will have a DSc.” And it took me 34 years to have it. Listen, my beloved, are you contented to be ordinary, just to be one of the masses, whereas God created you with unusual distinctiveness? My supervisor stayed in one area of research, so I also knew that one had to stay in one area of research. In his whole academic life, all his students worked in that domain. Some people jump here, jump there, jump here, and jump there. Then there is no major contribution.
Joyce Chaplain came to Fourah Bay College and gave a talk on “Adventure With a Pen.” She talked about writing for God. It awakened an old interest in me because when I was in Cameroon Protestant College (C.P.C.), Bali, I wrote two articles for “The Messenger of the Presbyterian Church.” That was the newspaper of the Presbyterian Church. They paid me 500 francs for each of the two articles. I wrote one in Form Three and the other one in Form Four. But that day in the Bible Study Union after Joyce Chaplain spoke, when we came out, the moon was shining and I lifted up my hands and said, “God, enable me to write the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” I think we are around 150 books now. We have 350 to go. I already have the titles for 300.
You have the gift of God and you have unusual potential. If you would believe God, believe yourself and dare, there would be no limit to what God can do through you. Can you break forth out of mediocrity? Can you break forth out of mediocrity, out of settling for something less than your all? You are greater than what you are now! You are greater than what you are now!
Let me tell you a sad story. The Lord said that A. T. was to be my interpreter into French and become a leading teacher of the Word, and that I would travel with his wife and him, and she would write books as we travelled. But he knows why he is not at that post. The Lord said D. N. was to be my interpreter into French and become a leading evangelist as he followed and grew along as we ministered together. For both people, I initiated them. I began to take them out. They know why they are not there. It is not the lack of the gift. It is not the lack of ability. In fact, when we went to Bangui, I stayed in the room just to listen to D. N. preach. He is a good communicator of the Gospel. I won’t continue.
There is a lesson. God runs His world, and once in a while He raises somebody and ties the destiny of many people to that person. But the devil also knows how to turn people’s hearts away; so that they settle for something far less than what God had in mind. There are many other examples.
One anomaly is that of the people who have lived around me for the last 25 years, and most of them have done nothing to put on any of my strengths. I pray that they don’t put on my weaknesses. My wife is the first person who has not imitated me. She has not imitated me. It is a strange thing – for 41 years. If you ask her, “Show me your Meditation Book of five or ten years ago,” she has not imitated me. M. M. has not imitated me. She is my secretary. M.C. M. was my secretary. She has not imitated me. I could go on and on.
By the grace of God, I have handled finances in the most unusual way and had dealings with God that are most unusual. And it started at the age of eight-and-a-half when I went and worked on a Bakossi man’s coffee farm. He paid me one florin, that is two shillings. That was the old currency. It was the first gift I gave to my father. That was how I established myself as an eternally rich man. I worked and I gave.
I want to tell you, break free from the demons that make you attempt to be a poor original! The Apostle Paul, Watchman Nee, John Wesley, George Whitfield, are the people who have influenced me the most. Watchman Nee’s book which I finished in India is the 67th book by him that I have read. I have read “Against The Tide” five times. That is his biography. And, brethren, it was God’s sovereign leading that I read that book just these last weeks. God has miraculously guided my reading. The years are passing. Somehow, you will not give an account only to God. You will give an account to posterity.
When I still had time available, I spent nine days in the Prayer House with Donald Ngonge, Sister Emilia Tendo and Sister Henriette Mbarga. Sister Esther Kouonang could not come because of her work. I did not go to our house in those nine days. We just stayed there and we prayed. Does any of you remember what year it was? – 1989. Among the males in our Ministry, Brother Donald is the one with the most developed ministry of prayer. Sister Emilia has become the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Prayer and Sister Henriette is the Principal of the School of Knowing and Serving God.