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Unearthing the Secret of Success


With a two year-old, a three-and-a-half year-old, and now a week old new born, it’s funny just how out of control of my schedule I feel—most of the time! Yeah, I’m laughing about it now, because I was never good at scheduling my time! I can think of two very important meetings within the last few weeks, that I have showed up at, only to discover that I had missed it, or had it in my diary at the wrong time. Then there’s a whole other dimension of scheduling—that is the aspect where we plan our time to make sure that we are not wasting our precious time. There are of course countless self-help books & courses to help one manage their time better, written by CEOs and various successful individuals that seem to manage their days with supernatural precision. Theoretically, I understand them perfectly, but practically, it’s as if they and I are not the same species.
I do pursue at least a functional usage of the principles of time management, scheduling, and planning,the way a sportsmen might try desperately to try to catch a ball headed his way. But like the sportsman to whom the ball is thrown, I can feel this important skill just beyond my grasp, being fumbled about at my fingertips as I try to catch this elusive pass. The pressure is truly on because, it feels as though if I can catch this pass—ie: if I can just get control of my time, I can sense that the results will be phenomenal. I will study this, pray that, read such-and-such a book, concentrate my efforts here, and prioritize these things, and the results will be amazing! My life will be this well-oiled machine, churning out results, producing wares & bearing much fruit. Yes! But, even as the taste of glory is on the tip of my tongue, the ball is slowly slipping from my grasp. My legs fail to carry me as fast as I need to be in order to cradle my hands beneath this slippery object. But with hope strong to capture what I know could, nay should be mine, I make one last effort with a dive, arms outstretched. But, unfortunately, time after time, I am left face down in the mud, my target lying just out of my grasp, where it so often seems to remain, chuckling in malevolent glee and triumph.

Why does getting control of my time seem to always be just beyond my grasp???

Oh, but I am not firmly defeated, and I truly do laugh at my predicament as for one, it is actually quite funny, and two, deep down I know that my hope of glory does not lie in my abilities at all, and that dispelling of this age old myth brings a magnificent sense that the victory is already secured. I am not sure if the point of what I’m trying to say is obscured in this analogy so let me try to say it plainly.
I keep getting lured into a trap of believing that my success in life depends on my ability to follow Christ. It does not. Some of you are thinking, “Why, yes! Your point was obscured by that analogy.” Allow me to try to connect my mental dots.
Success in this world according to the self-help books & seminars is about taking control of your life. It’s about taking the resources that you have been given, whether they are material, or the set of skills and giftings that you have. Then, you plug those skills, gifts, and resources in to your schedule, and make sure that you apply diligence to their usage and the result is… your success!
And, let me say that I agree that the above principle is true, God ordained, and does work. However, God is above these principles, and there are many examples in the bible and throughout history where God blesses someone with the fruits of success based on other principles. Humility, obedience, mercy, love, kindness, generosity. God often brings about success for someone, or a group of people in a way that would completely defy the worldly formulas for success. And, He loves to do that, because it brings Him great glory. Such are the stories of: Samson, who being blinded before he destroys a whole dictating regime; the Israelites who destroyed the walls of Jericho by marching around it; the unarmored boy, David defeating Goliath with his sling; Hezekiah defying the king of Assyria, when only a miracle would deliver him.(2Kings19); Or what about Gideon (Judges 6&7), his land was being attacked by a combined force of nations. And listen to the wisdom of God, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…” Gideon’s force of 22,000 was reduced to a force of 300 before God gave the victory to his 300 over a vast, swarming army (Judges 7:12) looks beyond, the skills, and natural gifts that a person has, and gives new gifts—Spiritual gifts.
What about examples of the wisdom of God in the New Testament? How about Jesus choosing fishermen and tax collectors for the position of ‘world church leadership’? Or, what about the fact that God sent the fisherman, Peter, to preside over the flock at Jerusalem, while he sent the ex-religious nut, Pharisee, Paul to the Heathen, pagan idol worshipers. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to send the ex-pharisee to the Jews because he could relate to their world-view? And, wouldn’t the down-to-earth fisherman be able to more effectively minister to the heathens? Maybe, but God often defies the traditional path to victory. This is exemplified in the path that Christ walked. At the height of his ministry, after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when his popularity was at a peak, and all the tabloids were raving about who this man was, He gives Himself into the hands of His murderers. Do you remember where Peter tries to correct Jesus and set him straight with some real wisdom. “Jesus, this isn’t the way man. Look, we can make it big, but you can’t go dying on me now. Fa’ real bro, what we need is a business plan! And, maybe a mission statement, It’s the latest thing..” Jesus cuts him off, “Get behind me Satan. You don’t know what you’re saying, God’s carved out a different path for me and it’s not the paved road to success that you envision” (obviously paraphrased).
The path that God had carved out for the Son ultimately led him to a throne in the glory of glories, but it was through death on the cross that He had to travel. Likewise for us, our path to victory, success & glory must pass through the gate of death on a cross. We allow ourselves to be counted as dead in Christ, and our lives, surrendered as such. And, God for His part, accepts our surrendered lives and gives us a deposit of the glory to come in the person of His Spirit, who comes and breathes a new life, His life into our own. To those of us who have experienced this new life, we see the wisdom of God clearly in this plan for us and it excites us! But, for those who have not tasted it, and do not wish to, it will ever remain a bit of foolishness which they will never entertain above their own ideas of how to achieve their lofty ambitions.(1 Cor 1:18-31)
Christ has won my victory. He watched over me my whole life while I made bad decision after bad decision, and when I was twenty three years old, He revealed Himself to me as the one who saves not only after death, but in this life as well. He revealed that He has mercy sufficient enough to cover up all of those bad decisions and sin, regardless of how nasty. And, therein lies my victory, my salvation, and my success!
Which brings me to my scheduling issues. I honestly do want to be better at it, and I will work on it still… But it must be worked on in the light of my victory, and always done with a willingness to allow God to accomplish what He wants to accomplish in His own way. I mustn’t limit God’s ability to grant me success by saying that the only way is for me to get better at such-and such. It’s not true, God can do great things with just a mustard-seed of faith, and it pleases Him to do so, because He is greatly glorified in such miracles.
Another by-product of this slight shift in my mentality is that much of the pressure for me to perform is alleviated. I’m able to breathe a deep sigh of relief and know that He’s got it all under control. And you know the funny thing. The kind of restful state that this produces is the very state that we are most likely to perform well in! When I am at rest in Christ, I find that I am doing the best in time management. Funny, eh? But, who can question the wisdom of God? May He forever get the glory!

2 Responses to “Unearthing the Secret of Success”

  1. Jason D
    February 14th, 2009 19:53

    Well said John. Congratulations on the new baby

  2. Foster
    December 1st, 2015 15:04

    Les antioxydants (catéchines et procyanidines de la famille des flavonoïdes) contenus principalement
    dans l’enveloppe extérieure de la lentille(6) favoriseraient une diminution de la concentration sanguine et de l’oxydation du cholestérol LDL (« mauvais » cholestérol)(7).

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