By Dr. Harold Sala
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Some of the world’s most successful individuals have ended up as miserable failures who learned how to make a living but never learned how to live. I’m thinking of the businessman who sat down with me and said, “I’m the president of my company. I have more than 2,000 employees who are directly under my responsibility. I have been extremely successful in my field, but I’m a miserable failure when it comes to my home and family.”
Is it possible for a man to be a success not only in business but in his personal life as well? Scores of men have found that it is, by following a centuries-old formula found in an ageless book called the Bible. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, chapter one, verse eight, God gave to men His formula for success. That formula—now 3500 years old—begins as a man takes God as his partner and follows the teaching of God’s Word.
The next step is to turn his life and resources over to God. Then—and this next point is extremely important—he must determine what God wants him to accomplish with his life. This takes the form of a goal—a life purpose—which under God he strives to accomplish. There is nothing which cannot be accomplished in His will. But to reach that goal, a man must learn to discipline himself, shutting out the pessimism and discouragement that stops most people. The Bible does not suggest 100% perfection. A successful man may fail; he makes mistakes, but he learns from his failures. Often in the path of failure we hear the voice of God redirecting us back to His will.
The next guideline is to apply yourself with everything you have, and this guideline spells W‑O‑R‑K. It is right here that a lot of people drop out. They are looking for the short‑cut—the executive position with ringing phones and secretaries at their elbows, the pensions and retirement benefits without ever rolling up their shirt sleeves and getting their hands soiled. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Paul wrote to the Colossians, and reiterated an Old Testament truth, stressing the fact that what is worth doing is worth doing right. He said, “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not as unto men.” God expects nothing less than your best, and to do less than your best is sin.
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most successful scientists of the last century, discounted genius and brilliance, saying his accomplishments were 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration. What you lack in native genius can be compensated for many times over by honest, hard work.
Two more elements go into the Biblical success formula, and both are necessary. The first of these is the willingness to step out from the crowd and attempt something that others have not the courage to try. This is the principle of faith, faith in yourself and in God.
The life of R. G. LeTourneau well illustrates the point. LeTourneau would closet himself in with God, determining what should be done, and then with great confidence he would undertake projects that others had never dared to try.
Finally, the truly successful man will give the glory of his accomplishments to God who made him successful. Moses reminded the businessmen of his day, “It is God who gives you the power to get wealth.” In the final analysis, success is not fame or fortune, it is simply finding the will of God for your life, and then doing it. You must realize that God alone crowns your endeavors with His blessing.
Resource reading: Numbers 22:29-41