Feb 8, 2012, 2:04 PM
“Do not wear yourself to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” (Psalm 23:4)
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
The world has defined success in terms of hard work; the harder you work the more likely you are to succeed – in other words, the more you put in the more you pull out. The method the world uses to attain success therefore demands a lot of effort on our part. The more we believe that success is at our fingertips, the more we will apply ourselves, giving our utmost; the more we behold the silver lining at the horizon beckoning to us.
In the world we live in, success is measured by the amount of money we amass or display – that is, by our wealth and our possessions. All the formulae borne of the prosperity theory and the ‘get rich quick’ books in the market cannot replace success that is derived from serving the Lord. When the Lord blesses you with success, be sure he will add no sorry to it. We shall not all taste of success in the same manner or degree, but we all shall be successful when we stick by God’s plans for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (an expected end).” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Success thrives on relationship
The Bible teaches that it is God who gives us the ability to get rich. We understand this when we are aware that everything comes from him because he is the Creator of all. Do you have a relationship with God? Do you believe in him? Do you trust him with your plan for success? Will you entrust your future well-being to him? He admonishes, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3) Every man, woman and child has to cultivate this relationship to succeed; self-effort is illusionary. A local adage says “Na God deh gi!” meaning it is God who blesses.
There was a severe drought in Israel and Isaac, Abraham’s son, contemplated migrating to Egypt where under similar circumstances his father had headed. But he received a word from God not to budge and he obeyed. “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and I will bless you.” (Genesis 26:2) In the midst of the drought and famine Isaac prospered to the extent that he became an object of envy. Every plan of the enemy to frustrate him met with God’s ability to prosper him. The Philistines ‘stopped up his wells, filling them with earth.’ In the final analysis, they asked him to leave the area. Nevertheless, the further afield he went, the more Isaac prospered. “Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.” (Genesis 26:12) In the end his enemies were baffled and sought to sign an agreement with him. They claimed; “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you …” (Genesis 26:28)
Our success is sure when we know God is on our side and when we abide by his precepts. From time immemorial, God has never failed and will never fail. He is not a human being to lie. What he says, will he not do? Sometimes we want to step ahead of him and do it our way only to reap regrets afterwards. He promises to “… meet all (our) needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) Observe it is ‘all of our needs’ not just a few.
What is propelling your drive for success so you could be at the helm of your affairs? Do you know what tomorrow will bring? Trust God to make a way for you where there seems to be no way? Success at all costs could lead to all manner of ‘headaches’ that could literally pull you apart. In the end you would resemble a piece of wood that has been tossed in every direction during a storm.
There is a slippery way with success when for a moment we owe it to ourselves forgetting that it is not as a result of our intelligence that we have become successful but that it is the will of God. God himself warns “… and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 8:13-14)
As soon as our businesses begin to prosper, we remove the God factor to take all the glory for ourselves. As if that was not enough, we turn our backs on the One responsible for our success.
Agur wrote in the Book of Proverbs; This is what he asked God for: “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonour the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8)
King Solomon exhorts us to listen attentively to a father’s instructions. “My son do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (Proverbs 3:1)
God wants us successful and prosperous not by hook or by crook, but his way – the true way.