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THE RISE AND FALL OF NINE RICH MEN
A popular story recounts a meeting that may have taken place at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago in 1923. There is debate whether the meeting in fact occurred, but what is not in question is the actual rise and fall of the men featured in the story, who were nine of the richest men in the world at that time: (1) Charles Schwab, President of the world’s largest independent steel company; (2) Samuel Insull, President of the world’s largest utility company; (3) Howard Hopson, President of the largest gas firm; (4) Arthur Cutten, the greatest wheat speculator; (5) Richard Whitney, President of the New York Stock Exchange; (6) Albert Fall, member of the President’s Cabinet; (7) Leon Frazier, President of the Bank of International Settlements; (8) Jessie Livermore, the greatest speculator in the Stock Market; and (9) Ivar Kreuger, head of the company with the most widely distributed securities in the world.
What happened to these powerful and rich men twenty-five years later? (1) Charles Schwab had died in bankruptcy, having lived on borrowed money for five years before his death. (2) Samuel Insull had died virtually penniless after spending some time as a fugitive from justice. (3) Howard Hopson became insane. (4) Arthur Cutten died overseas, broke. (5) Richard Whitney had spent time in a mental asylum. (6) Albert Fall was released from prison so he could die at home. (7) Leon Fraizer, (8) Jessie Livermore, and (9) Ivar Kreuger each died by suicide. Measured by wealth and power these men achieved success, at least temporarily. But it did not surely guarantee them a truly successful life.
Many people think of fame and fortune when they measure success. However, at some point in life, most people come to realize that inner peace and soul-deep satisfaction come not from fame and money, but having lived a life based on integrity and noble character.
(From a sermon by Sajeev Painunkal SJ, What Changed Zaccheus? 10/30/2010 )
BLACKABY: WHAT DOES A CALLING LOOK LIKE?
Henry Blackaby shares from his book "The Power of the Call" pages 10-14 a clear picture of what one looks like who is called by God into pastoral ministry:
1. The pastor is chosen
2. He is chosen by God
3. He is chosen by God to be His servant
4. He is chosen by God to shepherd His people
5. He recognizes that God’s people are His inheritance, that they are God’s “special treasure” (Exodus 19:5-6).
6. He has integrity of heart.
7. He recognizes that his assignment will require “skillfulness of his hands” (hard work, consistent with his heart).
8. God calls his servants to be stewards (Acts 20:28-31)
9. God calls his servants to be spiritual leaders
a. You cannot do Kingdom work with the world’s methods.
10. The people are your ministry not the means you use to fulfill your ministry.
On Sept 16, 1620 2 ships set sail from Plymouth Englnad, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks in the ship. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower..
Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.
And with great excitement and expectations that set sail for a new land... It wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who would later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship... The nights were cold, damp and dark... Remember there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. And to make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse those who were sick... saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions... Bradford records, "BUT IT PLEASED GOD BEFORE THEY CAME HALF SEAS OVER, TO SMITE THE YOUNG MAN WITH A GRIEVOUS DISEASE OF WHICH HE DIED IN A DESPERATE MANNER.. AND SO HE HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST THROWN OVERBOARD. THUS HIS CURSES LIGHT OWN HIS WON HEAD, AND IT WAS AN ASTONISHMENT TO ALL HIS FELLOWS FOR THEY NOTED IT TO BE THE JUST HAND OF GOD UPON HIM.."
But their problems were far from over yet, they encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind -- eventually cracked and bowed the main beams when they had just went over the half way point across the Atlantic. And although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured all the vessel was "strong and firm under water." He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. AND Upon raising the beam, they "committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed." These 100 people; cold, wet -- on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean -- put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, "a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea," William Bradford writes, "AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL..."
Before going ashore they decided to write a document know as the Mayflower Compact.
At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.
The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, "they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor...and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean... and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) "LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER."
This coming thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day... Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies.... and watching football games. And that is fun stuff -- it is important to get together with loved ones... But that is not what thanksgiving is really about -- it’s not about food and fun... it is about giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty.
We usually picture the first thanksgiving in America, as the time when the Pilgrims and the Indians got together for a great feast (though I really don’t know how they could of eaten pumpkin pie without cool whip). But I tend to look at that time when on the sea battered Mayflower anchored in the bay at Cape Cod, a group of weary and worn men and women were on their knees praising their God in heaven for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first thanksgiving.
True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship: “For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose—and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the ...
In a recent report by Linda Duxbury of Carleton University’s School Of Business. Ottawa, and Chris Higgins of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, London, entitled “Work-Life Balance in the New Millennium: Where are We? Where Do we need to Go?,” the authors claimed that many Canadians are finding it very difficult to balance their roles in life as employer, employee, parent and spouse. This shows up in increased workloads, more stress, declining physical and mental health, increased absenteeism, lower job satisfaction and lower commitment to employers. Duxbury says: “Our data demonstrate that the inability to balance work and family life is everyone’s problem. It hurts the employer, the employee, the employee’s colleagues, the employee’s family and Canadian society as a whole.” Estimated absenteeism from work-life conflict costs Canadian firms almost $3 billion a year, which results in extra visits to the doctor adding $ 425million annually to the cost of health care.
Hence, this whole thing of being a great worker is a very live issue in our day and time. If things aren’t working well in the work world it can be damaging to our lives and if we buy into Linda Duxbury’s conclusion, all of Canada, all of life will be affected in one way or another.
Peter Drucker offers insightful guidance to the church when he calls leadership a peak performance by one who is "the trumpet that sounds a clear sound of the organizations’ goals." His five requirements for this task are amazingly reliable and useful for those who dare to lead churches:
(1) a leader works;
(2) a leader sees his assignment as responsibility rather than rank or privilege;
(3) a leader wants strong, capable, self-assured, independent associates;
(4) a leader creates human energies and vision;
(5) a leader develops followers’ trust by his own consistency and integrity.
H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Risk, Victor Books, 1993, pp. 227-228.
Companies and ministries that don't deliver trust risk destroying potential customer/constituent goodwill and, ultimately, their businesses or ministries. Those that don't uphold their promises and values undermine brand awareness and constituent loyalty. Marketers build trust in their products, services and organizations by establishing brands that consistently deliver what's promised. That trust can be damaged—even destroyed—in short order if customers/constituents believe they have been deceived. Organizations seen as fundamentally honest and integrity-driven in good times and bad usually are allowed tremendous leeway when they need it—as well as permission to fail, as every organization will do from time to time. (CRM 10/07)
Years ago in Germany, there was a young Jewish boy who had a profound sense of admiration for his father. His family’s life centered on the acts of piety and devotion prescribed by their religion. The father was zealous in attending worship and religious instruction, and he demanded the same from his children. While the boy was a teenager, the family was forced to move to another town in Germany. There was no synagogue in the new town, and the pillars of the community all belonged to the Lutheran church. Suddenly the father announced to the family that they were going to abandon their Jewish traditions and join the Lutheran church. When the stunned family asked why, the father explained that changing religions was necessary to help his business.
The youngster was bewildered and confused. His deep disappointment soon gave way to anger and a kind of intense bitterness that plagued him throughout his life. That disappointed son, disillusioned by his father’s lack of integrity, eventually left Germany and went to England to study. He sat daily at the British Museum, formulating various ideas and writing a book. In that work, he introduced an entirely new world-view, envisioning a movement that would change the social and political systems of the world. Drawing from past experiences with his father, he described religion as an “opiate for the masses” that...
I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvellous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he examined it carefully, and then, to give it a test, he sent for a rifleman - but the inventor bolted out of the other door!
One fine Spring Sunday morning, a Priest was gazing out of a rectory window at a nearby Trout Stream. "Today would be a good day to sneak off and go fishing", he thought. The weather was perfect, his fly rod had new string, he had very recently heard reports of a good Trout run, and the Associate Priest was more than ready to handle the Mass. So, within minutes, the Mass was underway and the Priest was quietly sneaking out the backdoor, rod, net and creel in hand, heading upstream.
But he didn’t go unobserved. An Angel was watching his every move and went straight to God. "The Priest lied so he could sneak away and go fishing", the Angel reported to God.
Smiling, God said, "So he finally gave in to temptation."
The Angel nodded, "Should I alert the congregation, Sir, and allow him to be caught?"
"No, give him complete privacy," God said.
"Should I command the fishes to avoid him, so he gets skunked and catches nothing?", the Angel asked.
"No", God said, calmly, "We want the Priest to catch something. In fact, command the largest Trout in the stream to take the bait and give the Priest the fight of his life."
Confused, but loyal, the Angel did as God instructed and within minutes, the Priest had hooked a massive Trout. The fight was spectacular. The Priest was using every trick in the book to successfully land the fish. He loosened the drag so the giant fish could run and not snap the line. He slowly walked the bank, up one end and down the other, allowing the huge fish freedom and time to tire out. Finally, after an exhausting ten-minute ordeal, the massive Trout cruised into the shore and the Priest proudly scooped him up in the waiting net.
The Angel quickly turned to God, "Should I make a hole in the net so the fish is released?"
"No", God said, calmly, "The Priest will release the fish."
"What?" the Angel said, shocked, "The Priest lands the biggest fish in the stream, by far the biggest catch of his life and, forgive me God, but you actually expect him to release it?"
Smiling knowingly, God assures the Angel, "The Priest is supposed to be in Church. He can’t carry the giant fish into Mass and he certainly can’t talk about it to anyone."