Today, we will begin the second part of how to sustain anything series, this time we shall look at how to sustain success.
He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
– 2 Chronicles 26:5
We know it takes a lot of hard work and concentration to achieve success. Also, it is a generally accepted fact that success is easier attained than maintained. Once success is achieved, it requires a lot more efforts and resources to keep and grow it than what was expended in the process of acquiring it.
There are two fundamental ways to go about achieving one’s aim in life – God’s way or the world’s way. We have devoted a number of editions of this devotional to exploring the various ways one can attain success the God’s way. And there are still more to come because God is very interested in the success of His children.
Meanwhile, even as He is very particular about their achieving success, God is also very keen that their success is maintained and grown, rather than it flittering away with the years. The passage above tells us what it takes to maintain success. It was culled from the story of Uzziah, a man that was made a king at age 16. Not knowing what to do, he decided to seek the counsel of God through His prophet, Zachariah. And the Bible tells us that as long as Uzziah sought God in his new calling, he was prosperous and was able to cope pretty well with the massive responsibility thrust on him at such a young age.
Conversely, it means whenever Uzziah lost sight of God, maybe because he got sucked up in the pressures and demands of his office and time seemed too little in between to maintain his fellowship with God or seek His counsel on the matters of state, he must have struggled and failed miserably.
To be continued…
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Where does your job start or end?
Recently, a business associate and I went to call on a retail customer, and we experienced one of the real challenges in visiting a very large regional shopping centre that is over 2km long, with in excess of 300 shops spread over three shopping levels. How do you find a store when you haven’t been to this shopping centre for some considerable period of time?
Well, when we first arrived at the centre and had parked our car, the first thing we did was look for a centre directory or the customer service desk, but without any success. As we weaved our way past a host of customers and shoppers who all seemed to be well aware of where they were going, out of the crowd appeared one of the shopping centre security officers. He was, as you may well expect, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark tie, with the shopping centre logo emblazoned on his jacket. He was holding a two-way radio handset with an earpiece and remote microphone in his ear, which obviously allowed him to speak to other security officers working in the centre at that time.
Seizing the opportunity to seek some assistance from someone who would no doubt know where the store was located, I approached him and asked for directions. He smiled at us both and indicated that the store was on the next level, only some 75 metres from where we were standing.
Before we could thank him, he added.
‘However, please allow me to show where it is.’
We thanked him but said that there was no need, as we would now be able to find it with the help of his directions. His immediate reply came as a real surprise to us both.
‘No not at all, please follow me, it is not very far and it is all just part of my job.’
Almost without realising it, we were walking with him and moved onto the travelator that took us to the next level of the shopping centre and the short walk to store. As we walked, he asked how our day had been and then added that it was a very busy day in the centre, mainly because it was school holidays. When we reached the store, we both thanked him for his courtesy and asked for his name.
He replied with a grin on his face, ‘my name is Rob and I suppose you could say that it is not such a great name, given the work that I do here as a security officer.’
We both laughed at his zany sense of humour and once again thanked him for his courtesy and great customer service. As he moved away, he replied for the second time, ‘it is a pleasure, all just part of my job.’
The visit to our retail customer lasted about 20 minutes and then we head back towards the car park, only this time we were more certain which way we had to go.
As we walked along the shopping mall level we came across the customer service desk which we could not find on our arrival at the shopping centre, so we stopped to speak to the customer service attendant at the counter. We asked if we could speak to the centre manager and was quizzed in a friendly manner about why we wanted to see him – our answer was that we wanted to give some feedback about a positive customer service experience we had just had. Sadly, the centre manager was not available; however, the customer service attendant suggested we could speak to the duty manager in charge of centre security. So we decided that we would go down to the security office located on the loading dock on the first level of the centre.
On arriving at the security office we were greeted by the duty manager who had a very apprehensive look on his face, which we concluded was due to the fact that when similar contact was made with him by members of the public, it was to lodge a complaint of some sort. When we told him we wanted to give some feedback about a great service experience offered by of one of his team members, his face changed to a positive expression as we went on to praise Rob for making our visit to the centre an enjoyable one. We asked him to pass on our thanks to Rob and make sure that the centre manager was made aware of what he had done for us.
As we left the office and walked back to our car, we both discussed the likelihood that our expression of appreciation would make its way back to Rob and to the centre manager. We agreed that whilst it would have been great if the praise was passed on to Rob we realised that he would have no doubt been the recipient of many other expressions of appreciation from other customers just like us, who had experienced Rob’s all part of my job attitude to his work. Whether other people would have taken the time express their appreciation to his boss as we did – is a matter of speculation, the fact that we did express it to Rob and then to his manager was all that mattered to us at the time.
There is little doubt in my mind that people like Rob don’t walk their talk selectively, it just isn’t in their nature to be obligingly beyond expectations to one or two people as he did with us and then not do the same with others. I am sure Rob’s job as a security officer is full of daily challenges with lot’s of not so good things to deal with, so no doubt doing what he did for us and I am certain many others, is more than likely the part of his job that makes his day just that more enjoyable and rewarding.
There can be nothing better in life than to offer caring and genuine service to others and not expect anything in return, however, I am sure that the praise you receive for a job very well done will never go astray – will it!
by Keith Ready
Meditation: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
The final instalment of our meditation on relationships that could make or break will be focused on work engagements, with specific emphasis on boss-employee or superior-subordinate relationships. Here are our references:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. – Acts 16:16-19
The fifth relationship we will consider under this series is the second part of work engagements, but our focus today will be on whom you work with/for. The personality of your employer or boss can also play a significant part in either you fare for better or worse in life.
Many people are fortunate to have worked with bosses who mentored them to greatness, or through whom they were able to find their own footing or niches in life. On the other hand, many people have also ended up working for masters with negative or diabolical inclinations who left them worse off than they were before their involvement; that is if they left them at all.
Some employers of labour gained their wealth through ritual means and they have occultic covenants that they renew with the blood of their staff or staff’s relations. Some even tie down the destinies of their workers such that they would amount to nothing in life. There is usually an ascription of authority with every engagement between/among humans in a gathering, team or an organisation. The person whose leadership you submit to has some influence over you. That is why the Bible says, “by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:19).
In the case of the benevolent bosses, our first scriptural reference tells us the example of Jesus Christ, and how He was able to develop individuals, whom the society would normally regard as dregs, into polished, learned and articulate fellows in the space of three years. And by the time He was through with them, Peter, an erstwhile crude fisherman, could stand and address a learned council of synod with such confidence and elocution that they wondered where he got his aplomb from. Then they realised that he had been with Jesus. There is no better testimony to the abilities of any master than that.
In sharp contrast to this, we see the example of a repressive master in the second passage. A young girl whose spiritual problem was the perfect merchandise her masters needed for moneymaking purposes. Their source of income was guaranteed for as long as the girl remained in that oppressed state. Did you see their reaction immediately Paul delivered the girl of her demonic possession? That is how possessive such oppressive masters can be and how violent they can get when anyone attempts to liberate their prey workers. It is not out of love for the worker, there are usually more at stake than meet the eye.
Hope these two passages provide enough insight to help you realise how important you should take the issue of the organisations you apply to for jobs as well as whose authority you submit to as boss or master. Such relationship can either make or break anyone.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand… Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. – Genesis 39:2-5
The fourth relationship we will consider, which has great impact potential, is employment or work engagements – particularly the persons you hire to work with you as an employer of labour or the persons that provide various forms of services to you.
In the passage above, we see how the advent of Joseph into Potiphar’s household marked a dramatic turn in the Egyptian’s fortune. Joseph was a man with God’s calling; therefore the LORD was with him wherever he was and in whatever he did. Although the physical circumstances of his status as a slave did not indicate so; but, like all divine endowment, he didn’t need to advertise before others started seeing the grace upon his life, as everything he did came out excellent. Then his blessing started to rub off on his immediate environments until it was obvious to all that what was happening on account of him was not a fluke.
This underscores the value of engaging persons who enjoy divine patronage to work with you or be on your team. The value such individuals bring to your table is usually massive. You may wonder how you would identify them; it is by praying to God for guidance so that you could see what He sees about each person in your consideration.
Inasmuch as it is important to engage such individuals for that extra divine grace on your business or other endeavours, it is more important to retain and not lose them to envy or internal politics. Potiphar was smart enough to promote Joseph as the overseer of all his affairs, thus leveraging on the divine aura he perceived on him rather than becoming threatened by it. Some not so wise employers/superiors would start to envy Joseph and antagonise him to their own destruction.
Also, it is not uncommon for such individuals to outshine their colleagues which may result in hatred and envious schemes by the aggrieved mates, and may culminate into putting the boss on the spot. It takes a lot of wisdom to handle this kind of development as well. Potiphar failed in this second regard, as he eventually lost Joseph to a higher authority due to his inability to discern between truth and intrigues.
Employees or subordinates like Joseph are better collaborated with for fruitful results, not isolated.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
In continuation of our meditation on the relationship series, we will be considering business partnership or alliance.
Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold… Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. – Genesis 13:1-2, 5-6
Sometime later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea. – 2 Chronicles 20:35-37 (NLT)
The two scriptures above are self-explanatory in their moral. Thus, the third category of relationship we will meditate on today, in line with its ability to make or break, push up or pull down, is business relationships or strategic alliances.
God is very interested in the details of our lives. He wants us to marry a good spouse, maintain quality friendships and build successful businesses. But He is also particular about what we do in all of these and with whom we do them because, inasmuch as He is eager to bless us and prosper the works of our hands, we can restrain Him by the choices we make which contravene His counsel and expectations as spelt out in the Holy Bible.
In the first scripture, Lot was very fortunate to have pitched his tent with Abraham, a man favoured by God. In no time, he changed from being a helpless dependant into a prosperous fellow as the blessings of Abraham rubbed off on him in no small measure.
On the other hand, Jehoshaphat who was one of the star kings in the Bible got it wrong in business partnership or strategic alliance. He went into a partnership with Ahaziah, a man despised by God, and the venture proved ruinous with attendant loss of money and other valuables, as God scuttled it. Now, Jehoshaphat was a righteous king with a good testimony before God, but his right standing could not make up for the wrongness of his partner/ally, who was a time bomb waiting to explode – as God had intended to punish him for his misdeeds.
These two examples should help us see why it is very important to seek the face of God before we commit self and resources into a venture with anyone so that we can have a fruitful show for it and not end up fetching water with a hole-ridden basket.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Variables of Success and Prosperity (Part 1)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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.
– Joshua 1:8
Over the years, motivational speakers and authors have given us numerous principles of success. We’ve been told countless things we need to do and things we must discontinue doing if we want to be successful.
By human reasoning, most of the recommendations have some logical validity. However, it takes a lot to remember the numerous success tips, talk less of applying them. And considering that every success expert claims that his/her tips have been applied by others with measurable success, that adds more pressure on the readers/listeners, which then results in frustration when one cannot sustain the tips.
God is the Creator of us all. In addition to us, He also instituted success, prosperity, healthiness and other material/emotional states we desire. God has His own idea as to what we should do to attain success. And it is interesting to note that His requirements are not far-fetched. They are unbelievably simple, perhaps, that is why we often do not give them a thought; as they sound just too simple to be true.
The passage above gives us an insight into the mind of God concerning success and prosperity. God did not require that you do some rigorous routine to be successful. All He demands is to keep His laws constantly in our mouth, in our mind, and in our conducts. He then affirms that it is by so doing that we will prosper and have good success.
His describing the kind of success you will have as “good” means that there is bad success – the kind of success that is not sustainable and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the successful. I want the kind of success He can deliver. What about you?
You will succeed in Jesus Name!