When Grace became Work

Adedolapo Olisa
9 min readOct 14, 2023


This topic flowed effortlessly and connected when I explained it to my *friend* and now that I want to write it. I don’t know where to start but in summary it is about how I removed God from my purpose and started trying to sustain it myself.

Photo by Yosef Futsum on Unsplash

My purpose vision in life was this:

To stem (break, alter, stifle) the financial tide against the kingdom of God.

Let’s break this down a bit so you can get the full arrogance required to have such a purpose and the folly to try pursuing it without God.


The idea of stem here is that when you look into the world and where it’s headed, the kingdom of God was at a disadvantage. The kingdom of God is like a little boy at the bottom of a waterfall. The water is pouring hard and landing right on his head and he can’t do anything but just take the beating of the waves.

Stem here then is breaking the back of that water fall or moving the boy away from directly being under the point when the force of the water hits the stream below or the ground.

Stem is doing something, many things, anything to change the equilibrium set against having the kingdom of God at a disadvantage.

At the time, I looked at how Islam ravaged Nigeria. I remember growing up and as a kid Islam was less than 35% of Nigerian population. We were predominantly Christian but as a kid leaving the country at 18. It was all changed. Islam had become the dominant faith in Nigeria. Most populous, most influential yet these faith did not propagate in the same way.

They replicated through meeting basic human needs then assimilating you into their community and belief system. They don’t proselytize yet they are the fastest growing religion in the world.

Financial Tide

I had heard stories that if you want a mosque in your city anywhere in the world, all you need to do is place a request to Saudi Arabia!

Now I have never verified this but I have verified that in every sphere of life. Arabs investment has integrated and in some cases infiltrated.

The strategy is clear, win the financial battle in business and give it right back to the mission of Islam.

It just made so much sense to me especially at a time when Christian pastors can barely ask congregations to pay tithe to the church they already have been coming to for sermon, community, food etc. Let alone connect the most successful company’s revenue to Christian kingdom work.

These successful companies have leaders making decisions to fund charities and distribute money in so many other ways. The only thing they don’t do is invest in the kingdom of God. Boldly and unapologetically.

God can do it, but He needs me?

So for me, I was ready to lose myself and my whole life into this idea of stemming that financial tide and shift it towards empowering the spiritual leaders in the church, people that did the work of ministry out of live simply; by removing the hardships of deciding between ministry and family.

This is not was my calling. I wanna see pastors that are terrible at taxes and terrible at having the skills to run a business; I wanna see them thriving at simply preaching the gospel, teaching the seeking and raising new believers in the wisdom of Christ. I want to be a part of building the support that partners with them so they can meet people’s physical needs as a gateway to their spiritual needs.

I looked at Jesus so many times in Scripture. He consistently removed the log that was in the eyes of those he preached to physically before he asked them to see the light spiritually.

We can’t keep going to hungry people in remote places and telling them that Jesus is the answer when they are gonna die in a few hours if they don’t get food to eat.

God sized!

This purpose wasn’t mine. It was a revelation that came to me when I sought God’s face to find out what He made me for!

This purpose I have lived everyday since but here is the beauty of purpose. My contribution may not be to sit at the top of the food chain because I got this vision. It might be that I am to become teacher teaching kids early and young or raising pastors to understand what the Scriptures says about money. That it’s a tool not to be feared but to be sown. Or I might be a business leader that models what it looks like to have an organization that treats its employees with grace. So many ways to contribute — raising leaders that stem the tide or building a business that directly stems the tide or contributing to a local church that invests directly or not in stemming the tide.

One thing is evident, this is a vision that requires God and God is not blind to. Whether or not it was in his purview or priority; it is not gonna be done without his say so.

The Broke Chord

This vision is huge. In practical terms, it means that I will find myself emptying my bank account because God says so. I will quit my job on a moments notice to go serve wherever God was leading. I will live having precious little because in that season, God maybe interested in stripping me down to Make sure that I was all in.

These things and more requires partnering with a woman that understood and hopefully shared similar purpose of vision or at least there is alignment.

You can’t marry a woman that is grateful for your ability to provide then tell her God said we are moving on a missions trip to rural Africa where they walk around naked and have a primitive sense of civilization.

A woman that will share in that vision must already have had that vision shared with them by God and they must be surrendered to Him and by extension tenderized ready to serve.

I’ll skip the story you already know and just say. I thought I found her. Then she walked away. And I broke down.

I broke down because I couldn’t trust God because I couldn’t Trust myself to hear from God.

So then if I cannot trust myself to hear from God and I cannot trust God. What do I do with this vision that is virtually impossible without God?

I decided to keep it.

Let that sink in. Because this is the most dangerous decision I have ever made in my life.

I have been trying to pursue a vision God gave me, designed to make me rely on God for direction, by relying on my intellect, and logic.

I’ll skip to the summary for you.

Don’t ever try to fulfill God’s work with man’s wisdom.

Instead of wait on God and heal. I continued to pursue what felt really purposeful. In my business especially, we have stayed open and kept running. We have taken grace and made it operational and practical.

That has worked. Not in the sense that it’s been the right decision but that the business has stayed open and we have done some good things. It’s very easy to be encouraged by progress when you do not know the potential to compare progress against.

If you are trying to go from point A to B. You measure progress with time by how much the mileage to destination is reducing. You don’t look at how much power or acceleration they possess. Naturally though, a brand new Tesla is a more pleasant experience and a faster one too compared to say a 1999 Mercedes’ C Class. I don’t know how fast God wants us to move but I know just moving shouldn’t is not enough. How quickly, what directions, and many other alignment questions need be considered.

But with pursuing a woman on that journey. A co pilot on this journey. It’s essential to get it right.

I have been measuring women I have come across against the vision God has given me but because I have been unable to pray and wait on his answer, I have simply prioritized their earning power.

It’s wicked because I didn’t Realize that I had. I didn’t realize that money has replaced God in my vision. God was now who I lived for but not who gave me the strength and power to live. Money was. Money was my fuel. Not yet quite the God I bowed down to worship but certainly the god that met my needs.

And so for a wife. If she doesn’t have the earning power. What are we doing ?

How are we gonna stem any financial tide if I am just gonna be stuck trying to make enough to buy diapers when my wife is pregnant.

I had taken matters into my own hands. I was no longer considering good women. It didn’t matter how much connection we had. All that mattered was whether or not our partnership would be so strong financially that I could remain tethered to this vision that bled me dry but I don’t Need to worry about the home front since my wife could cover for me if needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I also realized that the reason I could not allow myself commit to a woman was because I wanted to see my business become more stable. I wanted to pursue my wife when I have clarity on how my finances will look. I wanted to buy a house and have a foundation set. I wanted to know that I could pursue my vision and take care of a home even if my wife didn’t have significant earning power.

This is dripping because I was neither available financially to commit yet I was looking for women that had high earning power and most of them were looking for financially stable men that matched or exceeded what they provide.

Simply put:

I have money but I am recklessly spending it trying to save God’s kingdom on my own. So much so that I cannot provide for myself basic amenities of life let alone provide for another woman let alone child or children.

It’s exhausting

This also has its root in a relationship that is well documented for me. I chose my business over my ex and I have been fighting to justify its vision since because I cannot let it go and accept that I chose to stay in California to keep building my business over moving to North Carolina for the woman I loved.

It’s not so simple and it’s not even so true. But it is true that I resolved to be a man before I commit to any woman. And being a man meant having my own home to invite a woman to and being financially stable enough to provide for a wife and two kids on my single salary.

I’m soo so far from this. And it feels so lonely waiting.

And when I decided to get back out there. I did but I never released myself from the shackles of expectation that I placed on myself. I did not allow myself go love any woman that I love and chooses to love me back openly and honestly. Without fear or rejection.

I’m not entirely sure whether or not it’s a terrible idea to want to be able to provide for my wife and kids before I get married but it’s definitely folly to require it. And even more so to require her to have the earning potential now.

Returning to godly, sexy, smart.

All three traits have hidden in them the wisdom to find solutions especially ones that begin with prayer and resting in God to make a way no matter how thick the forest is.

It’s not been ass — lack of abundance. It’s been me, an ass — an immature donkey that obstinately has been going alone and going blind in a land littered with landmines.

God, I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being god. I’m tired of upholding your vision with my logic. I’m tired of carrying on a load that was never intended to be carried by a man. I am tired of hurting women because I feel hurt by you. Give me the humility to wait on you, to depend on you, to cry to you and to not move until you arrive like Samuel did to Saul.

I surrender.



Adedolapo Olisa

I’m an aspiring story teller that is learning to let stories tell their own morals. You’ll find me where Faith-Tech-Art meet.