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On Becoming a Man: Success Defined – John Maxwell to the Rescue



“Success is choosing to enter the arena of action, determined to give yourself to the cause that will better humanity and last for eternity.” – John C. Maxwell

It’s been almost a month since my last OBM post. I have been very busy offline; nevertheless, we will still have two posts as usual before the month runs out.

Sometime last February, I stumbled upon the 30th anniversary edition of John C. Maxwell’s debut book, “Think on These Things – Meditations for Leaders”, and I’m grateful to God I did. In this collection of very short chapters, the leadership guru who is not shy to proclaim himself a Christian, even on Twitter, shares nuggets on effective leadership. He defines success in a succinct way, I really cannot find something new to add yet but I have reflected on the key words and search further for their biblical basis. Let’s explore the keywords.

Success is a choice that we have to make. God is liberal in allowing us to choose between life and death, as in Deuteronomy 30:19. It all starts with you deciding what you want out of life. In the absence of this, the available easily becomes the desirable. I believe that a man in prison has not many options, hence he would value the gift of choice much more that the billions who do not exercise this power that can either make or mar a man. When you have chosen what you want to do, there comes the time to act. Maxwell says, “Success is finding a need and filling it.” Faith and action are like twin brothers. There are many doors that will not open until we take a step forward. There is the need to overcome that inertial force, perhaps of fear or doubt, that weakens one’s knees and delays action. There is also the need for persistence and diligence in following the action plan. He adds, “Success is having a plan and following it.” (Prov. 16:9).

The arena of action is not for the lily-livered – it takes courage and determination for one to thrive in that space. Challenges are a constant in the journey to success. How do you face challenges and handle problems when they surface? In the first nine verses of the book of Joshua, God takes His time to repeatedly emphasise the need for the new leader of Israel to be strong and courageous. There will always be giants on the way, but how do you see them? Do you think you will conquer them, or that they would conquer and have you for breakfast? I write this post with the premise that the reader acknowledges the importance and relevance of God’s direction in the execution of our plans. Sometimes, God speaks by opening or closing a door to something we want to do. In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Silas tried to go into Bithynia to preach, but the Spirit did not allow them. [It is also worthy of note here, that we must not mistake opposition for a closed door occasioned by God (1 Cor. 16:9).]

Success cannot be achieved without giving. Check out your circles and the people you know who are successful; which of them does not give? In several quarters, the Dead Sea is a metaphor for a life that only receives but never gives. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, The Dead Sea (Yam Hamelakh — “The Salt Sea”) is the lowest place on earth, roughly 1,300ft (400m) below sea level. Fed by the Jordan River, it has no outflow; the water eventually vaporizes due to the exceptionally high rate of evaporation (high temperatures, low humidity). It produces large quantities of raw chemicals which are extracted and exported throughout the world for use in medicine, agriculture and industry. If this sea were to be a man, we could say that it naturally refuses to give its content away, yet nature forces it to give away its moisture – what makes life worthwhile, while it’s remains are exploited by those who never worked for it. Success is losing your life, only to find it again! (Matt. 16:25). You get the point?

Success is meaningful when we give to better humanity. This cause is one greater than us, and we have been designed and fashioned for good works (Eph. 2:10). The parable of the talents highlights the importance of developing the skills and special abilities that we have, and sharing them with others. What is in your hand? Entrepreneurs are familiar with this idea. They can multiply a penny with their business savvy into several dollars over time. They are not magicians; they are profitable servants who do not despise the relevance of the tiniest of resources. They hate to waste their substance, and prefer to die empty after giving their all to the progress and benefit of humanity.

One last thing today on the OBM Series: What makes our good works much more than mere humanitarian service or charity is that we do them with a consciousness of eternity. (1 Cor. 3:6-13, 15). Today, I charge you friend, to choose to enter the arena of action, be determined to give yourself to the cause which is bigger than you for the advancement of humanity, and never lose sight of the life after death. What is your definition of success? What do you think of all I have shared with you today? I would love to read your views. I’ll be back sooner than you think!

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Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./ When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. Follow him on Twitter: @gbengaawomodu | Gbenga’s Notebook: | Facebook Page: Gbenga Awomodu

Digital Content Strategist | Creative Writer. Copy Editor. Storyteller. Vocalist. Amateur Pianist. Spoken Word Poetry recording artiste. Lover of Words & Images. #ArsenalFC. Twitter: @gbengaawomodu

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