SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

The Glory and Dangers of Success

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Blog, Food for Thought, Quotes | 2 comments

SUCCESS STICK FIGURECathy Foyston, owner of Back of Beyond Equine Centre in Huntsville, Ontario has enjoyed the success of teaching a faith-based, interactive horse camp for young girls. The son-in-law of good friends of mine has recently experienced success in setting a new record for a 50-K run in the Blue Mountains of Ontario. And I have been advised to “enjoy the moment,” having been successful in winning the 2016 Word Alive Press Fiction writing contest.

Do these experiences define success? I suppose venturing upon a particular project—be it teaching, running, or writing—and seeing it to a successful conclusion can certainly be called a success. One cannot help but feel a sense of satisfaction with a job well done. But can success become a problem? Does one tend to set future expectations too high as a result of a successful accomplishment? Does pride become an issue? Can one be wise enough to see the glory and dangers of success?

In The Name of Jesus Henri Nouwen acknowledges that the success he experienced as a writer “was putting [his] own soul in danger.” Charles Ringma suggests in Dare to Journey that success can become an insatiable hunger “that drives our behaviour and actions so that we achieve more and are satisfied less.” In both cases we might be left wondering, How could that happen? Why would Henri Nouwen fear for his soul when he became a well-known writer? Why would Charles Ringma warn about the dangers of becoming a success?

I suppose it comes down to human nature. Once we’ve had a taste of success, it’s a natural response to want to experience it again. It’s a nice feeling! We can’t help but repeat over and over in our heads the news that confirms our success, convinced that what we have done will make the world a better place! We can’t help but smile—even when no one is looking—until our cheeks hurt.

In truth, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the end product of a successful venture. There is nothing wrong with accepting the accolades of friends who wish us well or hearing them say, ” I am so very proud of you,” as someone said to me recently. There is nothing wrong with hearing the exciting words over and over again in our heads. The danger lies in allowing our success to determine who we are, allowing it to invade our lives, controlling and driving our motives, ambitions and character. The danger comes when we overindulge in the glory of the success.

In 1 Chronicles 28 King David prayed that his son, Solomon would have discretion and understanding in building the house of the Lord. He prayed that his son would have success. And Solomon did, until his very success and abundance became the source of his downfall. He overindulged in the glory of his success.

God’s Word constantly cautions us about the things to avoid—the things that will cause us to overindulgeHe encourages us to plant firmly in our hearts integrity and wisdom and keep our lives holy before Him.

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 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” (Proverbs 3:1-4).

When we do that, we will have success.

Am I happy that I won the contest? Of course! Am I humbled by their choice? Most definitely! Am I  pleased when I consider the four years and the many ups-and -downs of writing Harvest of Lies, of being convinced that the manuscript was worth my effort…then believing it was a waste of time? Yes, I am pleased! Am I praying that God will continue to have His hand over all that needs to be done to bring about something that will honour Him? Yes, otherwise I’d have shredded my efforts and called it a day.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3).


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  1. Heather Joyes.

    Congratulations, Ruth! Steadfast love, faithfulness, integrity and wisdom in action by word and deed. <3

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