Weekly Thought- November 18, 2014
Fred’s friend Steve Brown of Keylife Network reminded an audience recently of Fred’s impact. He said, “There are times when I still reach for the phone to call him and ask a question.” Many knew him for his humor, his business acumen, and many approached him for his honest approach to serious questions. This week begins a series based on a letter written to an unknown recipient who asked the question, “Can I be a Christian and still be successful.” The letter is 30 typed pages (Fred never skimped). It will be excerpted over the next six weeks.
BWFLI is actively scheduling events for 2015 and 2016. We are pleased to return to several campuses which have welcomed us over the last six years. We will also add new schools to our group of friends. Please pray as teams are organized, funds are raised, and preparations are made. You are greatly appreciated – and needed.
Does Success Trump Saintliness? (Part 1)
“Is it possible to enjoy success in business today and be a Christian?” “Can a person get rich and still be a Christian?” “Is it possible to live a consistent Christian life and still get ahead in a large corporation?”
These questions have been put to me on college campuses, in plush corporate board rooms, and by earnest young people expecting to claw their way up the ladder. And my answer in every case is a simple “Yes.” It is possible and I have seen it happen again and again.
But I think it is very important to understand that being a Christian will in no way insure success in anything. Rather, success comes from a single-minded application of your abilities – it comes from hard work – it is using your talents and gifts to their highest advantage. Wealth may come as a result, but then again, it may not.
This may sound particularly (and peculiarly) pious, but I believe in working for success, not praying for it. Instead, I suggest praying for maturity while working for success.
Now, it seems to me that the desire to succeed – to get ahead – in the business world is perfectly natural and admirable providing the motivation for doing so is right. Such questions as: 1) Why do I want to be successful? 2) Why am I willing to concentrate all my energies on getting ahead? are pertinent and probing. In my experience, it is a good habit to ask “why” before asking “how.”
Behind every plan of action, every commitment of tie and energy, there should be a solid philosophical base – a healthy “why.” It doesn’t seem to me that climbing the mountain just because it is there is sufficient reason for the struggle.
For some, the why is an unscratchable itch to win – to come in first – to be looked up to and admired. For others, it may be the urge to own the things or the position that money can buy. Still others want to impress and please family or friends. And for some, the motivation is to creatively use the God-give talents to benefit humanity.
Now, here’s a bit of a shocker that emerges from my observations and experience: essentially, one’s motivation has little to do with achievement, but it is of ultimate importance when it comes to a person’s mental and spiritual attitude in the midst of the effort.
Think about: 1) What is the “why” of my activities? 2) What motivates me to action in business, relationships, church and community? 3) How strongly do I believe a Christian can be a success?
Words of Wisdom: “I believe in working for success, not praying for it. I suggest praying for maturity and working for success.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people…” (Colossians 3:23 NET Bible)