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Successful Failures
Last month, I heard Dr. Bob Smith speaking on a program called "Conference Pulpit" on the Bible Broadcasting Network. He told the story of a wealthy businessman in his city who came to personally speak with him, seeking some advice. The visitor was visibly shaken that day as he told this story: As a boy, he never forgot the day his dad left home forever, leaving the unemployed mother of three to tend for herself and the family. He remembered the very difficult years seeing his mom working long hours, then coming home to take care of her family's needs. From that day, he set two goals for himself. When he became rich, he would provide his mother the comfort and pleasures of life she never had. His second goal was to ensure that his own wife and family would never have to suffer the hardships he had known as a boy. His determination was a key factor in seeing his goals fulfilled, for he succeeded greatly in business. His mother now lived in a mansion-like home with several servants, and his own wife and family were as well off financially as anyone could be. After 15 years of marriage he got the shock of his life on the day a lawyer served him with divorce papers. He never saw it coming! Now his life was in shambles. When he begged his wife and children's reason for their action, he was stunned by their brutally honest answer. They all agreed that he was more interested, and invested most of his time and energy in his business, than on them. Now this broken man confessed that his life was no longer worth living. Many people around him would give just about anything to be as rich and successful as he. They didn't realize that this man would now gladly give it all up to have his wife and family back. Before you think that this was an isolated case, let me remind you that this happens much more than what most people think. I read the story not too long ago about a young man who was arrested for several crimes he committed. When he gave his name, one of the officers said: "Say aren't you the son of _____?"(A famous Christian minister and writer) "I think he's going to be very sad and disappointed when he finds out." At this, the young man barked back angrily: "I don't want to hear anything about my dad." He went on to add that his father was only interested in his ministry and didn't care about anyone or anything else.  I know of many similar situations, and I'm only speaking of those that involve Christians. Where did these men go wrong? Where did they fail and what can we learn from their stories? To begin with, they set wrong goals for themselves, those that were unrealistic or long-ranged. Even in the sport of bowling, the best players are the ones that shoot at a spot, arrow, or a mark close to the foul line, and not at the pins that are further away. In our opening story, the man had long-range goals that he eventually realized. Still, he never saw those much closer, which included his wife and family's needs. Christy Lane had the right idea when she wrote the song "One Day At A Time." How many times have we heard of poor souls that die before reaching their unrealistic goals? To be obsessed with the idea of becoming rich or famous should never be our number one goal. Then, there is the matter of selfishness. Successful failures never ask their loved ones, and much less God, what they want. Philippians 2:4 tells us: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Proverbs 3:6 advises us to acknowledge God in all affairs of life. Yet, very few people consult with Him for life's most pressing decisions. We will only know real success when we learn to align our goals with God's will.
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