August 17, 2020
At a reception, Ludwig van Beethoven, who was relatively unknown, mentioned to a music publisher his desire to have his work published. That is, anything he wrote would belong to the publisher forever in return for a guaranteed lifetime income. The man answered Beethoven to the effect that Ludwig would never be a master composer, let alone be published. His company was not interested. Wow, was that man wrong!
When the Beatles began performing, they were seeking a recording contract. One executive of a major music company turned them down. He indicated that there was really no great public interest in a group playing guitars! And, the rest is history!
From Beethoven to the Beatles it begs the question: “How does one measure success?” Perhaps an even more fundamental question could be raised: “What is success?” How these questions are answered makes all the difference, for time and eternity.
Certainly, the rich farmer that Jesus talked about in Luke 12 was successful. His barns were bursting with grain. He had everything he thought he needed. However, in spite of his success, God called him a fool (v. 20). “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” The man’s success didn’t impress God!
In Joshua 1:8 we have God’s prescription for success. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” The successful person, according to the Lord, reads the Word, repeats it, and recalls it to memory—with the intent to do it, that is, to live it. Note the promise here, “…you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
The world applauds and acclaims its view of success; but it deprecates and dismisses God’s view. The bottom line—when you and I by God’s grace hear these words from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23), we will really know what “good success” is!