When someone is successful, we like to find out how he or she did it. And when people are successful, they want to share how they did it. We think of success as some effective formula that a smart guy thought of and applied to his situation and made things happen.
Indeed, hard work often entails success. But success is not due to hardwork.
I’ve seen lots of people who worked hard all their lives and yet ended up feeling failures. I’ve seen hard working men regret in their old age about how they felt they didn’t work hard enough. I’ve also seen people who worked hard to be financially successful but failed.
Yet, I’ve also seen folks who merely worked a little and attained success. In fact, I’ve seen how poor people became moneyed almost in an instant, without much effort.
Of course, I’ve also seen people who worked hard and succeeded at their careers and prospered financially, as well as those who were lazy and ended up miserable.
The fact of life is that, hard work is not a guarantee that you’d end up successful or rich, just as success or riches do not guarantee happiness.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. [Proverbs 14.23]
Look closely what it says–all hard work brings “a profit.” No doubt, hard work will bring a profit. But it doesn’t say all hard work brings success or riches. You get it?
And yet, each of us should strive to be a success at what we do and have ample money for what we need and want in life.
Sure enough, you need to work hard if you aim at being a success. Often, I’ve watched with amazement how lots of electoral candidates worked hard to win, only to lose the election because only one guy could win. And sometimes, that winner hardly worked at all for his success, but there he was being declared the winner.
Thus, I often smile when some successful guy claims he has the sure formula for success and wants to teach everybody else about it. He’s supposed to be the guru now and everyone should listen to him. And yet, fact is, not all who listen to him end up well. Often, only a few succeed–the rest end up wondering why the formula doesn’t work for them, though they apply it almost fanatically.
When the “guru” sees this, he blames the failures for not being serious enough about his formula or not trying really hard enough. He does that to save his butt from shame. Anyone is to blame except gurus. I also hear this often from so-called expert church planters. I still have to see a “guru” honestly say that his formula doesn’t work all the time or it’s not for everyone. They only say that after the people have paid for the formula.
Truth is, there are no success formulas and there is nobody who can guarantee success for you–except God. Personally, I think failure has lots more benefits to us than success has. No wonder “God has bound everyone over to disobedience (or failure) so that he may have mercy on them all,” [Romans 11.32]. And we have to look at this side by side with another bible truth:
I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. [Ecclesiastes 9.11]
Success, says this passage, is a matter of “time and chance.” In other words–luck–being in the right time and right place where God is lavishing his favor. It’s not because you’re smart or skillful or the strategies or formulas you have figured out. It is all by God’s grace.
Now, some smart Alecks will claim that they know how to be in the right time and place where God is pouring out his favor. Again, its a claim of having the right formula or strategy, just the same. They use these claims to gain a following and make money out of that, and gullible people follow suit. That’s how a lot of people arrive at success–they need a following, a mass of people who sacrifice and carry them up to their pedestals. That, too is a matter of luck, not ingenuity as others say.
The truth is, without God’s approval, no success is possible even if you pour your whole talents, skills, energy, resources, time, hard work and dedication to it. That’s why in Job, Satan kept on asking God’s permission before he could do anything to Job. That devil knew that nothing is possible–no matter how powerful you think you are (even if you claim to own the kingdoms of this world) without God’s approval.
But mere men do not know that. They have no revelation, so they keep asserting that they worked out their successes and consequently they have the success formula that people should follow.
Thus, when you are successful in your career, family and life as a whole, it’s not because you are so good and smart. It’s all because of God. You may share with others the Kingdom success principles God taught you but never claim that it’s all because of you or the formula you figured out. Be wise about it all by being meek and giving all the credit to God. There’s no reason to brag about anything. It’s not about you.