Summary: We’re talking about success today – success uncensored. As I listen to the words of that song, some people think success comes together. You are going to have a day where it all locks into place. A day where the stars align. It’s going to happen. It feels
Series: Christianity Uncensored
Message #2: Success Uncensored
By: Jud Wilhite
We’re talking about success today – success uncensored. As I listen to the words of that song, some people think success comes together. You are going to have a day where it all locks into place. A day where the stars align. It’s going to happen. It feels like today. Other people think that if you really want to experience success then it really has nothing to do with the stars aligning, you have to work for it. It’s all about education. It’s all about getting degrees. Then you’ll have success. Others say it’s all about self-discipline. Others say it’s all about who you know. Some say it’s all about who you marry. It’s like the CEO of a fortune five hundred company that pulled into a gas station. The service attendant was putting gas in the car so he went in to pay. When he walks back out he notices that his wife is now out of the car and she’s talking to the service attendant. He picks up on the fact that they know each other. In fact, they used to date in high school. They get in the car after it’s all over and they drive along in silence for a few minutes. He gets a big smile on his face and says, “I bet I know what you are thinking about.” She says, “What?” “I bet you are thinking, ‘I’m glad I’m married to a fortune five hundred CEO instead of a service attendant.’” She said, “No, that’s not what I was thinking at all. I was actually thinking, ‘If I had been married to him he’d be a fortune five hundred CEO and you’d be a service attendant.’”
There are all these different perspectives on how you would achieve success. We live in a culture that is infatuated with success – how to achieve more, how to become more, and we see it all around us. There is a whole success industry out there. Millions and millions of dollars are spent on books, tapes, and seminars helping us to become more successful. In fact, there is a company called Successories. I don’t know if you have heard of this company. They do posters, coffee mugs, and all these things you can put around the office to inspire you to be successful. They have quotes. For instance, I had a Successories poster in my office a few years ago. It was a picture of an eagle. It said: FOCUS. Then the inspirational quote at the bottom was, “If you chase two rabbits both will escape.” You have to think about it for a second. That’s good. It inspired me to stay focused.
Well, there has been a backlash to the success industry. There is an organization out there that has done their own posters and coffee mugs. They are called, De-motivators. Their by-line is, “Increasing success by lowering expectations.” They’ve done their own posters. I thought I’d start off by sharing some De-motivator posters with you. You have to think a little bit to follow some of these. This one is called mediocrity. You see the leaning Tower of Pisa there. It says, “It takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late.” Put that up at the office. Here is another one: “Regret.” It has a guy on a snowboard flying off the edge of the cliff. It’s not a good day. “It hurts to admit when you make mistakes but when they are big enough the pain only lasts a second.” This one is my favorite: “Persistence.” You have a guy chasing a girl. “It’s over man. Let her go.” Aren’t those great? This one is great too. It’s called “Wishes.” It has this nice night sky with a star that’s falling. It says, “When you wish upon a star your dreams can come true. Unless it’s really a meteorite that is hurling towards the earth that will destroy all life. Then you are pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for, unless it’s death by meteorite.” Here is one on success. It’s a guy getting creamed on the football field. “Success: Some people dream of success while others live to crush those dreams.”
There are lots of perspectives out there and lots of different books and materials to help us be successful. Much of it is wonderful and very helpful stuff. What is success anyway? Is it fame? Some people think, “If I were just famous then I’d be successful.” Is it money? It is power? How do we define success? The Bible actually has a term for it. It’s the term wisdom. A successful life according to the Bible is a life lived with wisdom. There is wisdom literature in the Bible that tells you how to live your life. What James is going to do for us this morning is peel away the veneer and show us an uncensored look at how we can live with wisdom in our life and really live with success.