Daily Devotional for Monday July 14, 2003
Success is ONLY possible through hard work
( Philippians 2:12 )
Success is ONLY possible through hard work. Last month Ruben Studdard was named the "American Idol" on the hit FOX TV show. Ruben, along with Clay Aiken, and the rest of the 10 finalists will all be getting mega-dollar record contracts and be "stars". What most people fail to recognize is that while we never heard of any of these people until several months ago, each one has spent years of hard work, honing their God-given gift of singing, to allow them to even have a chance at this opportunity of being called the "American Idol"
Many people will say they were "lucky". Well my friend, let me tell you that the word "luck" is not even in God's dictionary. There is simply no such thing as "luck" since God has a perfect plan and purpose for each of our lives, and NOTHING happens to us apart from HIM allowing it to happen. It was NOT "good luck" that allowed the 3 Hebrew children to escape the fiery furnace unharmed. It was God! It was NOT "bad luck" that allowed the horrible things to happen to Job. It was God!
While we rarely know "why" things happen to us for the good or the bad, the fact is, God is in 100% control of all things, at all times. God has a perfect plan and purpose for each of our lives! THE IMPORTANT FACT IS, IT IS UP TO EACH OF US TO DO OUR PART. The 3 Hebrew children had to maintain their faith and trust in God DESPITE their circumstances. Job has to maintain his faith and trust in God DESPITE his circumstances. "Luck" was not part of either one of their outcomes..it was God!
Over the years, I have been fortunate to know many people who by the world's standards were considered to be very successful. The one common bond that they all had was "hard work". You can't hit a homerun if you are sitting in the bleachers. More important, you can't just walk up to home plate either. You have to work hard to earn a place on the team. You have to work hard to get into the line-up. You have to put in the hard work, the sweat, deal with the ups and downs to even get yourself in a position to come up to bat!
One of the realities of life is that God is always working in our life, but for positive things to happen in our life, WE MUST PUT OURSELVES IN A POSITION FOR THEM TO HAPPEN! Ruben didn't just stay home in Alabama and sleep all day. NO! He spent years working on his gift of singing, he had to enter the American Idol competition, he had to perform, he had to keep working hard each week throughout the entire process. The point is, Ruben had to, and had to continue to, work hard for whatever success that he achieved! THIS IS A GREAT LESSON FOR YOU!
Does that mean that if you simply work hard, great things will happen to you? ABSOLUTELY NOT, at least by the world's standards. The world says that to be successful you must great wealth, great power. God however, says to be successful you have to have a great relationship with His Son Jesus! Like all things, to have that great relationship with Jesus, you must work hard. While the hard work you put forth in your earthly pursuits may provide great results for the few years that you live, the hard work that you put forth in your relationships with Jesus will provide great results for ETERNITY!
You have to pray every day. You have to read your Bible every day. You have to be part of a Bible-preaching, Bible-teaching church. While hard work may not always give you great earthly rewards, hard work on your relationship with Jesus will GIVE YOU ETERNAL REWARDS! We must never lose sight of the fact that we choose each day what is important to us, how we spend our time. While we should be serious about our earthly pursuits, we must never forget that our number one priority is our daily walk with the Lord!
I love you and care about you so much. There is no substitute for hard work. There are no short-cuts to having a great relationship with the Lord. While we have to work hard in school, in our careers, to enjoy this time here on earth, we must work just as hard on our relationship with the Lord that will live on for eternity. While the work we put forth in our earthly pursuits will pay off for the few years that we are here, the work that we put forth in our relationship with the Lord will pay off for eternity. Success in our earthly pursuits will only happen when we work hard and do our best. Likewise, success in our relationship with Christ will only happen when we work hard and do our best. Never forget, the things of this world will one day be left behind, but our relationship with Jesus is for eternity. WORK HARD ON IT EVERY DAY!!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller