Answer 198- “GROWING GOD’S WAY”

Key Verse

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
— Matthew 16:26

Good Success

2 Chronicles 26:1-15; Psalm 37:3-11


The school paper listed students “most likely to succeed.”

There it was . . . the list they’d all been waiting to see was printed on the front page of the Liberty High News. Each year the graduating class put together a list of students “most likely to succeed.” The list this year contained six names.

Jordan Wallace — Salesman
Gracie Hawkins — Writer
Autumn Brooks — Singer
Damian Rodgers — Computer Programmer
Derek Johnson — Preacher
Miranda Bradford — First Woman President

I can’t believe it! Derek thought, scanning the article as he left the school building. Guess I’ll have to wait and see about that. He glanced up and saw a white Subaru across the street. “Hey, Jordan, wait up,” he yelled as he ran to Jordan’s car.

“Salesman of the year,” Derek laughed, “Give me your best sales pitch.”

“Well, Preacher, I’ll tell ya . . .” Jordan began with mock seriousness. Then, laughing, he said, “Get in, I’ll give you a lift home.”

As they turned the first corner Derek said, “I can see how you got on the list but I’m really having a hard time believing I made it.”

“Why?” asked Jordan. “Everyone likes you . . . well, almost everyone,” he teased. “And you are going to be a preacher, aren’t you? I mean, you are a Christian.”

“A Christian, yes. A preacher . . . ? Well, that depends on God. That’s a special calling,” Derek replied. “You know this success list should make us think. I wonder what success means to some people, anyway? Gracie is a great writer of short stories, essays, and such. I suppose success for her will be when she publishes her first book.”

Yeah, and for Autumn,” Jordan said, “it will probably be her first hit record.”

“And what about Miranda for president? She’s great at school politics, but . . . oh well, at least we can always say ‘We knew her when . . .’” laughed Derek. “And you! You can sell anything to anyone. Don’t try to sell the Eiffel Tower, though. That’s already been done!”

“Nah, I’ll sell the Statue of Liberty back to France,” Jordan joked. “I’ll let Damian set up the sale. He’s got a brain like a computer.”

“Yeah, he’s smart all right but he told me that when school’s over he doesn’t want to do anything. His parents have a college fund for him, but he said he doesn’t want to go to college. When we were voting, he asked me what I thought success was. Has he ever talked to you about it?” Derek inquired.

“As a matter of fact, he talked to me last night,” Jordan answered. “It seems, now that he is graduating, his folks are getting a divorce. I guess they’ve been planning it, but wanted Damian to finish high school first so he wouldn’t have to study and worry at the same time.

“He knew last night that his name was on the success list and just laughed about it. He said his dad is considered a great success—he has a new house, new car, ‘loving family’—but look at him!”

Jordan continued, “I know it’s hard on Damian but he can’t drop out of life because of his dad. So I told him he should look for someone else to use as a success model. Guess who he chose.”

“The president?” Derek asked.

“No,” Jordan replied, “he chose you! Evidently when he talked to you a couple of days ago you gave him your formula for success. After our conversation, Damian left. He said he had some important business to ‘compute.’ It was like he finally decided to do something about what you had said. What did you tell him, anyway?”

“It was just something Coach Shaw told me once. He was speaking of sports and business, but my answers had to do with something else,” Derek replied. “He had four steps to success.

“First: know what you want. I want, more than anything else, to be a Christian.

“Second: know why you want it. When all is said and done, I want to make my final home in Heaven.

“Third: know what it will do for you. God promised that if I obey His Word I will have ‘good success.’ Through example and experience, I know this is true. Look at my parents. Look at the happiness they have. That’s success!

“Fourth: know what you can do to get it. Like I just said, obey. Salvation and obedience are a winning team. One won’t work without the other.

“This formula may work for writers, singers, and even salesmen,” Derek continued, “but, seriously, if you want good success, God has to be first.”