448. Measuring Success

“A few years ago,” Stan began, “before we moved here, I knew a fellow who is a perfect bad example of something we see way too often.”

“How so?”  I asked.  “A bad example of what?”

“I met him in a Bible study class.  He was bright, young, ambitious, and anxious to be  successful in business.”

“And that’s bad?” I replied.

“No, of course not,” Stan said, “but the story gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective.”

“This fellow had some great ideas for new tech products and we spent a lot of time together praying for God’s wisdom and guidance, not only for the business, but for whatever blessings of success God might choose to grant.”

Continuing, Stan said, “I remember clearly this fellow’s commitment to giving God all of the glory for any success and for using that success to advance the Kingdom.”

“I still don’t see the bad example,” I replied.  “It all sounds good to me.”

“Success came, but the fellow left,” Stan replied.  He left the Bible study saying he was too busy.  He stopped attending church services, saying he had to work.  Pretty soon his whole demeanor changed as he took more and more credit for the wonderful success of the business.”

“Before too long,” Stan continued, “he had moved into a very large and very fancy new house, was driving amazing cars, and had all of the trappings of great financial success.”

“I didn’t see much of him as we were in different circles, but one day I ran into him by accident. At one point in the conversation I asked him for a donation to a mission trip our church was organizing.  He didn’t donate anything then, but told me to catch him later.”

“As we ended our conversation,” Stan said, “I asked him something about how the business was going.  He said he had worked really hard to build what he had built, that he was enjoying the fruits of his labor, that he was still working hard trying to keep it growing, but that there were some challenges on the horizon.”

“It wasn’t too long after that,” Stan continued, “that I saw in the business section of the on-line business news that the company had filed for bankruptcy protection and that this man had filed for personal bankruptcy.”

“In my personal and humble opinion,” Stan said, “he had gone spiritually bankrupt long before then.”

“Did you reach out to him?” I asked.

“I did,” Stan replied.  “I left several phone and text messages.  I sent some emails and an actual snail-mail letter, but I never heard anything back from him.  I pray for him regularly. I pray for his wellbeing and that God would draw him close and open him to want to know God, His will, and His provision. I pray I will see him again on the other side.”

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Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory.  Psalm 115:1.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your amazing provision in every aspect of my being.  I stand in awe of your greatness and your goodness.  I confess that too many times I take personal credit for your provision.  Please forgive me all of that.  Please, Father, lead me in always acknowledging you as the source of all I am allowed to enjoy and in never taking personal credit for what you do.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Things to think (and journal) about:

1.  What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?

2.  What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?

3.  What is God saying to you to do personally?

4.  Who can you share this with to make a difference?

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

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