Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time. Arnold H. Glasow
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
Alexander Graham Bell
The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.
John C. Maxwell
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. Abraham Lincoln
It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. Winston Churchill
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. Vince Lombardi
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Benjamin Franklin
When you think of success, what comes to mind?
Will you be a success? If so, how do you want others to view your success after you have passed from this life?
Bill Gates, was worth over $75 Billion in 2012. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and considered the wealthiest person in the world, is indicated being worth $135 million In 2019. What about other famous people? Some names you are probably familiar with: Michael Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan. And I'm sure there are some you are thinking of not indicated here.
Miriam-Webster.com defines success as:
- Degree or measure of succeeding
- Favorable or desired outcome
- The attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
Most people don’t think of the first two lines, the concept of success, and they focus on the last line, our culture's ‘measure’ of success. And it's no wonder why these characteristics are typically associated by most when looking to answer the question as to what makes success. We are bombarded by ads, movies, and influence from others we look up to. With the encouragement to strive for these material things. Much of our culture promotes the achievement and gaining of material wealth as what will bring us ultimate happiness. But will this bring us real happiness and is material wealth an indication of real success? Is there a happiness that is possible apart from material wealth? Could there be something more important to strive toward?
Pastor Harry Walls, was the speaker at Grace Chapel's January 2019 Men's Conference in Lancaster.
Grace Community Church - multiple sermons
He brought a very effective perspective on success showing what God values, and his message is still causing me to think about its impact on my own life and motivations.
Pastor Walls gave the example of another well known person in reference to success, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs, worth billions at the time of his death, had created the Apple computer, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Music. Was he successful? He died as a Buddhist, and it is indicated that the last thing he said before passing was, "Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!".
What Do Steve Jobs’s Final Words Mean?
My wife's grandmother, Bernice, passed when my wife's mom Mary was 8yrs old. My wife's grandfather, Everett, was with family in the room with Bernice when she passed. He tells of the final words of his wife right before her passing. Her last words were:
"Everett, do you hear the music?"
(there was no music playing in the room)
Then her eyes became big as she looked upward, and exclaimed, "JESUS !", and she was gone.
Do you think she was truly successful?
When you think of true success, do you only think of it in relation to this life here, or do you think about a 'success' that extends far beyond this life?
Have you ever worked on a project that you really placed a lot of effort and time into and in the end found that all your effort and time were wasted? Have you ever really thought about what you spend your time and effort on in this life, and whether it will be valuable beyond this life? Or when you think about it, do you feel that it doesn't really have any value past this life? If what you are working on doesn't have any value past this life, would that would be similar to a lifelong project that in the end was a waste of your time?
You may have heard the phrase, "Climbing the ladder of success" as a reference to our efforts in this life. A saying that I believe is even more important and references this ladder is:
“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” Thomas Merton
When the Ladder of Success Leans Against the Wrong Wall
Suicide is listed as the 10th most common cause of death. Some of those who are well known have committed suicide surprisingly after they have had professional or public success. I have heard of a few athlete
What seems to be common in many of these suicides is the reality that those individuals have either reached a point where they believe they will never attain the earthly success they once had, that they have experienced a loss they can never recover from, or have a deep sense of being alone. Essentially, they may think that all is lost, and they are filled with hopelessness. Many athletes have suffered from depression. Could some of the depression have come from the realization that they had passed the peak of their careers? If these people felt that there was something they could never loose, or that their success would have an impact beyond this life, or that there was any hope, would they have made the same choice?
Why Did the World’s Greatest Chef Just Kill Himself? - Benoît Violier
Before There Was “Up,” There Was “Lawnchair Larry” - Larry Walters
Ronda Rousey had suicidal thoughts after suffering loss to Holly Holm
Athletes and Depression
In the last two links above, you can see through some of the comments of athletes, and their concern that they will lose their identity if they don't have the sport, or have the success they once did in that sport.
If you know of someone who has committed suicide, my heart goes out to you. Maybe you are feeling a loss or hopelessness that you feel will not end. I cannot imagine the pain and loss that you are feeling. I can only encourage you to look to one who "will not leave you nor forsake you".
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I've indicated previously that time and money are both similar in that they are limited resources. That we will never have enough to do or buy all the things we want to do or buy. As a limited resource, we must decide how we will use these resources. And not only decide how to use them, but also realize that when we've chosen to spend our time or money on one thing, we've automatically chosen not to spend it on another.
And similarly, how do we treat our relationship with God? If you are in a romantic relationship with another, do you show respect for them in the decisions you make in time and resources? If they love something, do you love what they love, or at least make an effort to do what supports what they love?
In the same way, if we claim to love God, what should be our attitude about what's important to God, and what he loves? That we would love those things and make them important too, right? So what is the most important thing to God, and what does He love?
Pastor Walls shared about Jesus being questioned by the religious leaders of his time, to test him. One of them asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment of the law. At that time there were over 600 commandments. Matthew 22:35-40 gives the answer.
Matthew 22:35-40 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
This passage shows what is most important to God, and if we truly love God, our efforts and time will be invested in working toward what is important to Him.
He also has a great series on Success (linked below) that expands on the information he shared in his first session with us. His series below on success shows what success is from God's standpoint, and how to be successful in His eyes. Truly, having success from God's perspective is the only success that impacts beyond this life, and thus, the only success that will ever matter. And since all the quotes at the beginning of this page concern the principals of success, they are fully compatible with being Successful for God's glory.
So, what building is your 'ladder' leaning against?
Measuring and Maximizing Your Success - Harry Walls
Additional Messages from Pastor Harry Walls
Dealing with Difficult Days - Harry Walls
Shades Mountain Community Church - multiple sermons
Grace Community Church - multiple sermons
Cornerstone Sermon Podcast - one of the podcasts
of Grace Community Church
Next Page: Temptation