TRA 36/99 - Sunday, November 21st, 1999
The Dynamics of Success
THE dynamics of success are particularly significant for those undertaking exams, those graduating into new professions, and those who are facing the new year with new opportunities. Yet some do not like to hear about success. They repeat trite sayings like "God does not call us to be successful, but to be faithful." That fails to answer the issue: "Is God honoured when his people are failures, wasting His gifts and squandering His resources?"
Jesus praised successful people in His parable of the talents. (Matt 25) 200 references to succeeding and success in scripture encourage us to succeed. The theme throughout the cycle of stories of Joseph in Genesis, repeated each time the hero is hurt is: (39:23) "but the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." When Israel entered the land of Canaan, Joshua said (1:7-8) "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." When King Uzziah ruled, Zechariah instructed him (2 Chron 26:5) and the result? "As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success." Nehemiah a great hero, prayed (1:11) "O Lord, Give your servant success today." David prayed Psalms (118:25) "O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success." Being successful does not mean behaving badly, equating blessing with money, success with getting away with it. Success is growth in excellence and virtue, in courage, generosity, patience, trust and love. The dynamics of success can be developed. There is no success without them. What are they?
Attempting is the beginning of all success. The successful person risks failure in order to succeed. The unsuccessful person is dominated by fear instead of faith, by inaction instead of action. Like the man Jesus spoke about who went and hid the one talent he had been given out of fear, they achieve nothing, lose the talent they were given and deserve their censure. For a failure uses up as much energy in failing as a successful person uses in winning. I love to visit our disabled workers at David Morgan Enterprises, or Wesley Goodwill Industries, or Wesley Commercial Laundry. Our people work, earn a living, push their boundaries and achieve their potential because they have a go. They are successful because they attempt!
Successful people not only attempt to accomplish their goals, but believe they can. In 1954 a young Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser was returning from the Cardiff Empire Games. She had overcome many handicaps to compete. Dawn Fraser was the youngest of eight children of a very poor family in Balmain. She suffered severe asthma. She left school at 13 to work in a dress factory. On the way home from Cardiff where she was beaten, she read a sentence that changed her life: "What the mind can conceive and the heart believe, the will can achieve." The result? Dawn believed she could set a Australian record and win gold at the Olympics. She believed it intensely. She won Olympic gold in 1956 in the 100m freestyle, and also gold in 1960 in Rome and in 1964 in Tokyo. She is the only woman to have ever won three gold medals in the same event at three Olympics.
Dawn Fraser was the first woman to break one minute for the 100 metres. She held that world record for an incredible 16 years. She held an amazing 39 world records. When Dawn Fraser helps Wesley Mission through our Children in Crisis work, I know there is a champion who is also a great success because she believed she could do it. Jesus said "If you believe all things are possible." (Mark 9:23)
Once you attempt believing, you have to commit yourself to your goals. Commitment is the third dynamic in success. Recently, Wesley Mission workers on the streets of Villawood, Blacktown and Cabramatta, working among kids abusing drugs and alcohol, told me there was a ticking time-bomb in Bankstown. At midnight, our workers go where the street gangs are. They give them hot drinks, biscuits, clothes if needed, counselling and they listen. They have made a difference in the lives of abusing teenagers in these tough areas. We gained the support of the previous Mayor of Bankstown for an appeal to put a Wesley Mission co-ordinator and team of trained counsellors onto the most dangerous streets of Bankstown. Then came the murder of a young Korean lad. Then threats to the police on their own radio network, the shooting up of the police station, the throwing of an explosive at the police station and the constant threats against law and order. Some youths abusing drugs and alcohol are out of control. The meeting in the Bankstown Town Hall was attended by the new Mayor, police, community leaders, businessmen, clergy and social workers.
The three local state politicians were there with three Wesley Mission co-ordinators. I spoke on the need of the community, our team and our practical program and our need of funds. We had already $17,000. We needed another $50,000. Because we had committed ourselves to the area before any of these troubles began, and because we had already raised $17,000, the community responded enthusiastically. Commitment succeeds!
Jesus "set his face steadfastly towards Jerusalem." (Luke 9:51) Jesus was a man of great purpose. "I have come to save the lost." (Luke 19:10) The Apostle Paul was likewise determined. (1 Cor 2:2) "I determined to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Paul summed up his whole life of self discipline and vigorous effort by using an illustration from successful athletes. (1 Cor 9:24-27) "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
I was talking to Ralph Doubell, the President of NSW Athletics. When he went as a young teenager to the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, he decided to become an Olympian. He started training for the half-mile with five years to go to the Olympics.
He determined to become the fastest man over half a mile. In the 1968 Olympics, everyone was concerned with the impact of the high altitude for Mexico City was 2500 metres above sea level. The lack of oxygen to the lungs would hamper track athletes except some of the Africans from Kenya and Ethiopia who lived and trained at high altitude. It was the Africans that passed the world record holder Ron Clarke as he collapsed from lack of oxygen just near the finish of his 5000m. It was two hours before Ron recovered consciousness and two days before he could speak. They did not know it then, but he had also ruptured his heart.
At the start of the 800m heat Ralph Doubell was tripped and nearly fell but won in 1min.47secs. In the semi-final he won in 1min.45secs. The final brought him side by side with the champion Africans. The mental pressure of an Olympic final was immense. The next two minutes would climax seven years training. The starter's gun fired twice recalling them. Someone had broken. It wasn't Ralph. But the starter walked to him and said if he broke again he would be disqualified. It was wrong. Unjust. Unfair. It wasn't him. It was the runner next to him. Would he argue with the Spanish-speaking starter? Raise a protest? The debate raged in his mind. What he had to do was compose himself, focus, concentrate, put that behind him, and start a fraction later than the others.
On the re-start, he was last. He gradually moved to sixth place. At the bell he was seven metres behind the Kenyan favourite. He drew up to share the lead with 200 metres to go. To pass him now was too early. He waited until 80 metres to go and then went with heaving lungs hurting.
For thirty metres they were stride for stride, the stadium erupting into cheering. He was screaming to himself "I can win! I can win!" The Kenyan faltered and Ralph stormed home in 1min.44secs. Olympic Gold! A world record. An Olympic record. An Australian record. He was only the third Australian track athlete in history to win gold. That was thirty years ago. The record still stands. No Australian has ever run faster. I looked at Ralph. It was his determination over altitude and attitude that won.
Enthusiasm is one of the greatest dynamics that leads to success in every field of endeavour. Last year I hosted a Breakfast at Novotel, featuring an address by the head of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, David Murray. David Murray spoke powerfully about why the Commonwealth Bank had decided to give Wesley Mission $90,000. He then challenged other people to donate to Wesley's "Children of Christmas" appeal and announced the Commonwealth Bank would match every gift made that morning. Immediately $60,000 was given and the Bank matched it with another $60,000. The enthusiasm generated was infectious.
I then auctioned a ride on a Harley Davidson motor bike back to work. I suggested people bid and send the managing director back to work, or some woman in a short, tight skirt! Everybody laughed. The bids came in - $30, $40, $50, $60, and so on to $200...$300...$400! Peter Lowry won the right to ride the Harley back to work. But he nominated the Government Minister for the Aging, Bronwyn Bishop! Mrs Bishop readily agreed and donned the helmet, sunglasses and leather jacket.
As the TV cameras and press photographers pressed around. She said simply, "For me to ride this motor bike, you should make it $4000 for the Children of Christmas!" "Right" said Peter Lowry, "I'll make it $4000 and with the Commonwealth Bank's matching gift that will make it $8,000 for the Children of Christmas." With that Bronwyn Bishop rode off in a bellow of the Harley's deep exhausts. Enthusiasm is contagious! The Christian should always be enthusiastic! The very word is made up of two Greek words En theos meaning "God within". And when God is within you can't help but be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is a dynamic of success!
There are no short cuts to success. Some fail in life. Many have nothing to aim for. They have no goals. They waste their potential. Many die like lost souls. They run their race, but do not finish their course! They do not continue to the end.
The Apostle Paul, in one of the last things he ever wrote, while awaiting a death sentence by being beheaded with an axe, just outside the walls of Rome, wrote: (2 Tim 4:7-8) "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." There speaks a person who has discovered the dynamics of success and who has lived them, no matter what comes. You can do it, through your faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. Like Paul, claim Jesus as your Saviour and live victoriously with Him. He is the secret to developing the dynamics of success!
Gordon Moyes 1999
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