Do you want to be successful? What is success? Is it becoming a billionaire? There is a show about billionaires that I watched the other night. A prince in Saudi Arabia finds that success is seen in his 400,000 sq foot house. He has a staff of over 100 that only makes sure people don’t get lost in the house. Then you have Donald Trump and other billionaires with commercial jets retro fitted to be like a palace in the sky. They make air force one look cheap. Or perhaps it is the mega yacht club. The largest yacht was a small 315 feet and cost only $200,000 million. So, Paul Allen goes out and has the largest yacht built, (the Octopus), at 414 feet. So then, the Rising Sun is built to be bigger and “badder”. It is 452 feet, has two forty foot landing craft, a submarine and a helicopter. How is success measured?
1) Trust Him with all our hearts.
It is not half-hearted trust which moves the hand of God on our behalf. God’s hand moves in response to our total trust. By faith, we must have confidence in the wisdom, power, and goodness of God.
“We must believe that He is able to do what He will, wise to do what is best, and good, according to his promise, to do what is best for us, if we love Him, and serve Him.” Matthew Henry
The situation looked dim for Daniel. He had to choose to wholeheartedly to trust God or half-heartedly trust God. The edict was given in accordance with the law of the Medes and the Persians that for one month, no one could pray to any god but Darius. This is where the rub came into play. Daniel could pray to God, but secretly and no one would know. After all, who wants to be thrown in to a den of lions. As I have heard all my life, “God also gives us common sense.” This compromise would be half-hearted trust. Instead, Daniel went to the open window and continued to pray so that all could see. The decision was made to trust God, at His Word, at His promises, as who He is. We have this same decision to make every day. Are we going to trust Him, to daily risk all for Him? Or are we going to “play it safe.” Jesus said in Mark 8:35, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Trust in Him.
Daniel chose to trust God and the consequence was being thrown into a den of hungry lions. Let me tell you, when we choose to trust Him, many times it will seem dark before we see the light. Why? Because God wants to show His power to the world. He uses men and women who are willing to trust Him as instruments to show the world His greatness. If the king had just pardoned Daniel, how would God have received the glory? If every step of the way in your crisis of belief we didn’t have to struggle, then faith and trust would be by sight. Ezekiel 36:22-23, “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”
The key is that no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God. What if he had not trusted? He would have been eaten by the lions. In a similar way, many time we as professing Christians are not experiencing the power of God in our lives. Not because we are bad people, but because we really don’t trust God. We don’t trust His promises. We intellectually believe that what was said in the Bible is true, but to believe that God moves in this way today is hard for us to accept. Central, this is part of our mission. This is one of the reasons God sent me to you. God is going to show this surrounding area His greatness. We as a church are going to be gripped by the greatness of God. And, it will not be for us, but for His name. God wants tthe world to trust Him. God wants Christians to trust Him. God looked and found the most unlikely people to show the world a small glimpse of His greatness. We must trust Him!
2) Lean on Him, not the things of this world.
To lean upon means to prop yourself up upon. Your trust to prop you up is what you lean upon. You might say, I trust the Lord with all my heart. How do we know this? By what we lean upon. Lean upon the things that seem logical in this world. Part of our problem is that we lean upon this world, not upon God.
a) Worldly Wisdom
1 Corinthians 1:23-25, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Paul Johnson wrote a book called The Intellectuals. Johnson examined the teachings of many of the most important thinkers of Western civilization—men like Rousseau, Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, Jean-Paul Sartre (Sar Tra), and Bertrand Russell. But he didn’t just study their teachings, he also examined the way they lived their lives. He looked at how they treated people, their habits, their marriages, their kids, and their friends.
Do you know what he found? Every one of them scoffed at God. They pontificated on eternity. They denied everything holy and presented themselves as the fount of all wisdom. But most of them didn’t have the sense to raise a child well. They didn’t keep their marriages together. They destroyed first themselves and then everything around them.
Worldly wisdom is not something that you can lean upon. It will not sustain you. It will not bring fulfillment.
b) Worldly Things
Henry Ford once said, “I was much happier as a mechanic, working in a shop.”
In Stockholm Sweden, you can spend the night on Lake Malaren in a fify-nine-room yacht that is a wonderful bed and breakfast. The yatch is a short walk from the Old Town and practically in the shadow of the city hall where the Nobel Prize is awarded.
Had you been in Hong Kong on April 26, 1999, you could have bid for an Imperial family rose cup from the Yongzheng period (1723-35). The cup sold for $17,840,000 dollars.
Vigee Le Brun’s 1787 oil painting of her daughter Julie is a beautiful example of maternal love and artistic excellence. It is worth millions and is held in the private collection of Michel David-Will.
If you would like to charter a private rail car for your next trip by train, Monon’s Business Car number three is available. It features a master bedroom with upper and lower berths, A Murphy bed, one convertible sofa, a marble tub, a shower, a dining room, meal service, an observation lounge, an open rear platform, a stereo, television and DVD, cellular and satellite phones, and an all-wood interior.
What do all these things have in common? F.W. Woolworth, founder of the Woolworth’s chain of stores, made one of the largest fortunes of the world by the early 1900s. A portion of this fortune, more than $50 million, was given to his granddaughter, Barbara Hutton, when she turned twenty-one in 1933. Although she was one of the richest women in America, Barbara was never able to find personal happiness. She married seven times (including among her husbands, a prince, a count, and the actor Cary Grant). Hutton spent her life battling drug and alcohol dependency and anorexia, and her numerous divorces left her almost bankrupt. When the reclusive Hutton finally died at age sixty-six, she weighted less than one hundred pounds and only $3,000 of her fortune remained. What do the four items mentioned above have to do with Barbara Hutton? At one time each of them were owned by her.
3) In all your journey, get to know him and He will make your paths straight or smooth.
If you love Him and get to know Him, you will trust Him. And, as you trust Him He makes your path smooth and straight. In other words, He assures that you will reach your destination. 2 Chronicles 20:20