Summary: Each one of us has a journey set before us,a journey with which we can draw from the examples of the past for living today.
Today, as we gather here in this sanctuary, our lives have intersected, our path’s have crossed, somewhere between the lines of Ecc. 3:2 , where there is a time to give birth and a time to die. The intersection is life’s journey, the journey we all take, the roads we travel, the mountains we climb, the valley’s we visit. It is the journey of hopes and dreams, the desire for success. How well are you doing in your journey?
Over the next several weeks I am going to talk about the journey, and most importantly how you can realize success in your travels, I think that is what we all want, isn’t it?
I want to open talking about a journey another man took in Genesis 24. It is the account of Abraham, advanced in age, blessed by God the Scripture says in every way, who now wants for his son Isaac a wife, so he calls one of his servants to travel back to Abraham’s homeland to arrange a marriage for Isaac, the custom of that day. The first ten verses give account of Abraham’s instructions and the servants departure. In vs. 12, the servant prays, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show kindness to my Master Abraham. The account goes on to tell how Rebekah came to the well where he prayed, he found out she was the daughter of Abraham’s brother, how the servant praised God for answering his prayer and he was invited to her home to make the necessary arrangements for Rebekah to return with him. When the family asked him to stay 5 days more, the servant replied in verse 56, Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey." We know the rest of the story, Rebekah returned and married Isaac, and the lineage of Abraham continued, and continues to this day. The servant indeed had a successful journey and is responsible because of his obedience, for this great heritage of peoples around the world.
So lets talk about your journey and my journey. Throughout the Scripture God has granted his children success as they travel from cradle to grave, its available to each one of us. How we read between the lines of our lives and grade whether we have been, or are successful could be different.
What would most people call a successful person?
Someone with the wealth of Bill Gates
The physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Cindy Crawford
The intelligence of Albert Einstein
The athletic ability of Michael Jordan
The business prowess of Donald Trump
The social grace and poise of Jackie Kennedy
The imagination of Walt Disney
The heart of Mother Teresa
When we try to describe what success is, we tend to look at other people, but in truth, we cannot be someone other than who God has created us to be, each with our own individual gifts and talents, when used properly will bring us into the realm of success. That is what will allow us to reach our potential.
God designed you for success but along the way, between the lines, we have drawn upon wrong pictures of what success is. The most misunderstood concept of success is found in the accumulation of wealth. Consider John D. Rockefeller. In his lifetime he gave away over $350 million dollars. He was asked how much money it would take to satisfy him and he replied, "Just a little bit more." Solomon said in Ecc. 5:10 he who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.
Wealth is fleeting. Remember the example I used two years ago about a group of the world’s wealthiest men who gathered in 1923 at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago? The who’s who of wealth and fame, they controlled more money than the total amount contained in the United States Treasury, listen about their life and decide how successful they were with their wealth.
Charles Schwab--president of the largest independent steel company -- died broke
Arthur Cutten--greatest of the wheat speculators -- died abroad, insolvent
Richard Whitneypresident of the NY Stock Exchange--died just after being released from Sing
Albert Fall--member of the U.S. President’s cabinet--was pardoned from prison so he could die
Jess Livermore--greatest "bear" on Wall Street -- committed suicide
Leon Fraser--president of the Bank of International Settlements -- committed suicide
Ivar Kreuger--head of the world’s greatest monopoly--committed suicide
Another misconception people have is when they have attained success they will feel successful or happy. It is this continual search for feelings that is the cause of so many people feeling miserable. Happiness is a continual roller coaster ride, its the ups and downs of continual mood changes. Life is uncertain and emotion’s are not stable so it cannot be a gauge of success.