The Secret to Success

(Ken Hope)

And the Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. Gen. 39:2 (NASV)

Friend, whom do you consider to be a success? What reasons would you cite to validate your perception of this individual? Most people today gauge success according to the worldly view of money, material possessions, or might. Let’s consider what God and man have to say about these things.

First, a person is not a success just because he has money. A millionaire by the name of Jay Gould declared while dying, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.” Henry David Thoreau is on record as saying, “Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.” Jesus Christ said it even better in Mark 8:36 when He asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” How sad it is when the only yardstick for success is material gain.

Second, success will never be obtained simply by acquiring material possessions. Jesus taught “…a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15). Our affluent society is proof positive that possessions cannot bring peace, contentment, or happiness. One of our own songwriters has truthfully stated, “The successful life we’re living has us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys.” A man is not a success but rather a failure when he “…layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Lk. 12:21).

Third, the secret of success does not lie in the realm of strength, power, or military might. It has been said that Alexander the Great wept in his tent after conquering the entire world of his day. His sad lament was recorded for all men to ponder; “There are no more worlds to conquer.” Solomon’s inspired words help us understand this point when he proclaims, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32). It is because of his lack of self-control that Samson has been called “the strongest, weakest man who ever lived.” Remember, Goliath’s brute strength did not make him a success, but rather played a big part in his becoming a corpse.

Friend, when God judges success one day it will not be according to man’s faulty, inaccurate scales of wealth, abundance, or power. His accurate assessment will be based upon the reliable scales of obedience and truth. When we are with the Lord, He is with us (2 Chr. 15:2), and if the Lord is with us, then are we a success (Rom. 8:31)!