Friday, September 18, 2009

Yipee! God Sanctions Success

Praise the Lord.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in his commands.
2 His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked man will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
Psalms 112

The hardest part about writing this blog for me is accepting what it says. Just because I’m blogging about throwing away your 401K doesn’t mean I want to throw mine away. Guess what. I also want a big house and I’d like to drive a Buick Eight in mint condition, have a massage in my home at least once a week and never have to do my own nails (hands or feet!) ever again! Frankly, it’s as painful to me to learn what the Bible says about money.

But then we come on a scripture like this and I can finally breathe. If you’ve been waiting to exhale too, here’s your chance. Yes, Praise the Lord! I love the picture we have here of a truly successful man. Wealthy, fearless, stable, triumphant, influential, honored and envied: Sounds like a universal wish list – it’s what we all want. Add love in there and we’re golden! What a relief that God actually sanctions successful people like this guy, which means I can be in God’s will and have all these things too!

Psalms 112 not only paints us a picture of ultimate success, it gives specific direction on how achieve it. Let’s look at the adjectives used to describe that direction: reverent, joyful, obedient, gracious, compassionate, righteous, generous, just and worry-free. This is quite a different recipe for success than the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, which are (in sum): be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first (this comes third?); think win/win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; and build your production capability. Sounds like a lot of work. For starters, I need to learn how to synergize.

You can spend a good deal of time and resource to chasing and implement The Secret of success – there are hundreds of books on the subject, not to mention seminars, conferences and retreats. But why would you waste your precious resources on such nonsense. Are you a Christian? Do you believe the Bible? Then stop messing with all that garbage and set your feet on the road to success today with this one simple instruction: Seek first the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness.

That means stop right now trying to learn to synergize and get back to the basics: pray morning and night, meditate on the Word day and night (that would require memorizing some of it), focus your attention on living like Christ, getting that tongue under control, loving the unlovable, helping people in need, that sort of thing that you don’t need to read a book to know how to do because the Holy Spirit is right there at every turn telling you “This is the way, walk in it!” (punctuation added ).

Following this one simple “habit” (seeking God’s Kingdom first), you will begin to notice (and others will too) that you’re become more and more like the man in this psalm : reverent, joyful, obedient, gracious, compassionate, righteous, generous, just and worry-free. When you arrive, Praise the Lord! And don’t be surprised to look around and realize you’re also in the house of your dreams, with beautiful kids who bring you joy, doing something you love to do that provides a comfortable life for your family and plenty left over with which to lend freely and scatter abroad.

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