What is Success? – Hope 103.2

What is Success?

By Chris WittsMonday 14 May 2018Morning Devotions with Chris Witts

Did you ever see the movie Cool Runnings?  It is based on a true story—an incredible story of the Jamaican bobsled team going to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada.

The team coach, who years before had been a great bobsled driver, was disgraced for cheating, and his gold medal taken off him. The night before the gold medal run, Derice, the young team driver, asked the coach Irv Blitzer why he cheated. He had made winning his whole life’s ambition. He had to win at all costs no matter what—even cheating. But he then said, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it”.

I believe this to be a wonderful statement. It’s worth thinking about. Is winning a gold medal the most valuable achievement in life? It certainly is an outstanding win—but isn’t life more than that?

The coach was trying to say this: Happiness and contentment lies with what you already have—not with what you might achieve, even if it is a gold medal. That’s how I see it. James Oppenheim, a 19th century American author put it like this: “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise man grows it under his feet”.

Sacrificing Life to Get to the Top

Dr. Kenneth Pelletier of the San Francisco Medical School did a five-year study of executives from 14 major corporations and discovered that only seven percent of ‘successful’ people truly led the ‘good life’ that success promises. The study revealed that 93% gave up important aspects of their lives in order to make it to the top.

It seems that people spend two-thirds of their lives making money and losing their health and happiness and then try to get back their health and happiness. It is estimated that people who are dissatisfied with their lives increase their risk of premature death by at least 10%.

There is a widespread myth in the western world that goes like this: If I’m successful then I’ll be happy—if you want to pursue happiness, you need to focus on things, activities and people who actually make you happy. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Why aren’t more successful people happy? Some are, but not all.

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If they have made it in terms of achievement, what’s stopping their level of happiness? If our value is based on our accomplishments or wealth, what happens if these two things are taken from us, as they were for coach Irv Blitzer? The Bible says our real value comes from God—from a living real relationship with him.

The Wisest Person Was Unsatisfied

Ever wonder if there was a person who has ‘been there’? Who’s seen it all, done it all, a person who could say he’s lived life to the fullest extent of the word? Solomon has ‘been there’.  Solomon was King of Israel. During his time, he was the most renowned king not lacking in anything and exceedingly rich in the things that are necessary, not quite necessary and not necessary at all.

He was the wisest person who has ever lived, most powerful in word and speech during his time. In short, if anyone has ‘been there’ it’s Solomon. In the proceedings of his life, Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes—a book in which Solomon seems so frustrated and unhappy.

Solomon wrote out how he felt about ‘being there’ and its effects on him as a person. Now remember, Solomon is the wisest man who has ever lived but what does he have to say after all the pleasure of 700 wives, 300 concubines, gold too much to weigh—a name too famous to be oblivious to. What does Solomon have to say?:

  • “Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on Earth is worth the trouble.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
  • “Finally, I said to myself, Being wise got me nowhere! The same thing will happen to me that happens to fools. Nothing makes sense. Wise or foolish, we all die and are soon forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 12-13)

Created for Something Bigger than Life

Imagine the wisest man saying Nothing makes sense—is there any hope for humanity if the wisest man already admits that nothing makes sense? What he is saying in God’s inspired Word is this: We were made for something bigger than life.

If Solomon was content, and Ecclesiastes was never written because Solomon had found that everything makes complete sense and everything on Earth is worth the trouble, then I can say that indeed we were made for this life. But No! He was never satisfied. He wanted more because we are made for more!

There is something bigger than life and I’m sure you know it. You feel it. You sense it. Why? Because it exists! We were created for something more, something this life can never compare to and that is God himself.

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