February 16, 2010

Biblical success manual


few years ago we attended a church that had a unique mentor/protégé program. The church leaders encouraged the men of the church to seek out mentors and protégés and to use those relationships to promote accountability. It was a great system and was a motivating factor for many wonderful and lasting Christian friendships.

My mentor was a highly successful business consultant. He contracted with companies that were having difficulties and he had tremendous success moving those companies into financial stability and providing momentum for them to move forward into the future. He explained to me that to turn these companies around he introduced them to biblical principles of employee relationships, management, and motivation. He leveraged the idea that a biblical truth is still true even for a non-Christian. He presented these ideas as good business principles, not as religious guidelines or rules. But when asked, he told people where he got these ideas on business—from the Bible.

Proverbs 3:3-4

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

I wish I had his unique ability to quickly recognize the proper biblical application to life’s day-to-day situations. But I think I am a little bit less detail-oriented than he is. Fortunately, King Solomon addressed folks like me who can work better with an over-arching description of what needs to be done.

In Proverbs 3:3-4, the wisest man to ever live tells me that two vital components of success are steadfast love and faithfulness. So I am prompted to ask, why? Why would steadfast love and faithfulness help you to be successful in the eyes of God and men? It just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

But the passage does not end there. Recognizing that we humans have difficulty understanding the things of God, the author goes on to tell us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” To me, that appears to be the foundation of the entire thing. I don’t understand why steadfast love and faithfulness will give me success in the eyes of men. But God says they will. I need simply to trust him that this is true. And I need to work on that steadfast love and faithfulness. Those are the strengths I need to develop. It is my prayer that God will grant the grace to develop these characteristics in my life.


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