Coscharis: Look Your Storm In The Eye ~ By Sam Otti
Growing up, Dr Cosmas Maduka, Chief Executive Officer, Coscharis Group, survived a furious storm to become a societal fat cat. At an entrepreneurship programme held in Lagos years ago, he stunned the participants with his rags-to-riches story.
His story was that of a multi-billionaire formed from the ashes of penury? Can anything good come out of Judah? Coscharis is a good case study that God often passes the rich palace to bless the poor in their slum.
His story is a gospel of hope for the downtrodden, never to be discouraged in the deepest valley. From the depth of misery, he crawled out to dominate the business world, with fleets of businesses running into billions of naira.
If you meet Coscharis, he would humbly say to your face that if anyone had a genuine reason to fail in life, he, Cosmas Maduka, would possibly be the one. His humble beginning is quite spectacular? At age 4, he lost his father. For lack of fund, he dropped out of school, precisely at Standard 3 to become an apprentice. At the end of his apprenticeship, he had N200 start-up capital.
His determination to succeed was stronger than the prospects of failure. His first lesson in entrepreneurship came from his deprived upbringing. At young age, he hawked akara on the street to support his widowed mum. That was his feeble step into the world of business.
Although he had the desire to go to school, his widowed mum couldn’t nourish his ambition. So his boyish expectations to be in school sank like an overloaded cargo. He threw hope aboard and left his widowed mum at home to become an apprentice in Lagos.
Lagos welcomed him with cold arms. For years, Cosmas slept in his master’s shop, and woke up early to bathe at the roadside before the day’s business. Children, who were early birds to school, launched a world war at him. They jeered and nicknamed him ‘shop rat’. Their mockery didn’t break his nerve. He prophetically told the army of mockers that he would be greater than them in years to come. And it came to pass!
Let’s steer this ship nearer to your coast. What words do you speak when you find yourself surrounded by seemingly distressing situations? What do you tell the troubles of life? Do you brave the odds or bow in defeat?
Maybe you will argue like the Jews. How do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? How do we praise the redemptive power of Yahweh in a slave camp?
Most often, we live in a world we create with our own words. Call yourself a failure and you will end in cesspit. Set your heart on high and you will fly on wings of grace. Never let depressing words rest on your tongue. They poison the heart and wither the bones. In contrast, words spoken in faith recharge the heart. They are sparks of energy that propel the human mind, thereby releasing positive strength to work. Like the anointing of Cyrus, such words shatter the gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron to access treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places(Isaiah 45: 2).
Granted that Coscharis could have absconded from his master, and shouted maltreatment from the rooftop, he acted differently. If he had given heed to discouraging voices, perhaps he would have returned to his poor home. He bore his pains in silence. Lessons from his poor home gave him the staying power. He knew that the seed of his greatness takes time to germinate and he paid the price with patience. Endurance won him the crown!
Let’s roll the camera forward. Those privileged kids that laughed at Coscharis didn’t know his story. They didn’t get closer to hear him. They stood afar and cast stones of mockery. Truth is always silent but falsehood thrives in noise. Do not be discouraged when people deride you as a lowlife because of your humble start in life. They do not know your story.
Don’t settle for less even if people undersize you for being at the lower ladder of life. Always give detractors a heads-up of the glory to be revealed. Aim at the stars, and you will land on the moon. No matter what life offers you, don’t live below your dream. The truth is most of these successful men and women we admire today have their humble beginnings. Although, many of these people have crossed the bridge and now live in homes paved with gold, they seem to forget the other side from where the journey started.
I admire successful people but I won’t borrow their lives. Don’t ever wear the garb of pretence to please people. Be yourself. You will rule your world by being true to yourself. It can only take time to get to the mountaintop. Don’t roll down the valley. A man is taller than every mountain he climbs. Keep clawing the rough edges. Keep climbing.
When challenging times come, as they often do, don’t let the waves of worry carry you. Resist the storm by reminding God of his promises. Search the scripture and hold God’s hand. His promises won’t fail you. I am a witness that storms would roar, but God’s whispering of peace would bring calm to its chaos.
Former US President, Barack Obama in his book, Audacity of Hope, narrated his long walk to political greatness. He audaciously drew from the bank of hope before the world could hear his voice. His message to the world is loud and clear- be audacious in hope.
Hope stretches a helping hand to those cast in troubled waters. Don’t sink with the tide. Those that reject hope sink in despair. No matter the crisis we face today, keep hoping and believing in a better tomorrow.
Faced with glittering successes, some people quickly forget that they, too, had faced life’s troublesome storms. Always give a helping hand. I have met people who sank to the lowest depth, while their privileged relations turned a blind eye. Do not hesitate to stretch forth a helping hand when storms of life rise against your neighbour.
To fellow comrades in affliction, hear me. In every difficult situation of life, there is a lesson to be gained. Poverty was the first Economics teacher Coscharis had. With little resources as a beginner, he made every penny count. Discover the lessons in your suffering.
Over the years, my dad, a school teacher, taught me never to count a man’s success on material things. Gold rusts and treasures decay. There are values that money cannot buy. The values of love for neighbour, self-giving, selflessness, humility, honesty, peace, integrity, hard work, charity are priceless. Seek them.
Above all, don’t let the storms of life frighten you. When the mighty waters arise, don’t throw hope overboard. Look your storm in the eyes and keep steering the ship. With faith, you, too, will ride your storm to get to the shore of blessedness.