페이지 정보작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-11-27 15:55 조회991회 댓글0건
Genesis 45: 1-15
An extremely popular MBC television series in Korea, called “Success Era,” concluded this past season with an episode about professional woman golfer Se-ri Pak as the grand finale. This program was started in November of 1997 in the midst of the great Asian financial crisis that led to IMF bailout in Korea to give a sense of hope and courage to the despairing and dejected people of Korea. As its pilot episode, “Success Era” featured stories about late Ju Young Chung, CEO of Hyundai Group, and Ja Kyung Ku, the Honorary CEO of LG Korea to give inspiration to the masses that were reeling from the effect of a massive financial crisis.
As featured subjects in “Success Era,” 198 people from all strata of society, who have shown particular distinction and renown in succeeding in life, were selected. These 198 people shared a common theme throughout their lives: Their lives had been pocked marked with and scarred by countless obstacles, tribulations, or tragedies. Insufficient scholastic background, physical disabilities, poverty, discrimination against women all these were some of the obstacles that these people had to overcome in order to succeed in life.
The personality with the highest viewer rating a rating of 28.7% prime time was fashion designer Andre Kim. During a fan poll, that asked viewers which inspirational personality they would like to see again, late Hyundai CEO Ju Young Chung took first place. Noted celebrities and personalities, such as actor Sung Ki Ahn, Chancellor of Korea University Joon Yup Choi, and CEO of Nongshim Foods Choon Ho Shin, did not appear on this program because they refused to acknowledge the fact that their life story was one of success.
The desire to succeed perhaps it is one the basic instincts inherent in all human beings. Nowhere in this world can we find someone who is willing to fail. Yet, there are remarkable differences in opinion regarding the definition of success. What constitutes success? An entrepreneur will tell you that success is defined as greatest net profit. An entertainer will tell you that success is defined as garnering as much fan support and love as possible, while maintaining a sky-high popularity rating. An athlete will tell you that winning games and ultimately championships is the essence of success. A studious student will tell you that success is believed to be gaining admission to a college or university of his choice and graduating with a good grade. And a pastor will tell you that success is construed as having the highest possible ABC rating Attendance, Building, as in having a sizable infrastructure to conduct service, and Cash, as in the amount of offerings made by the congregation.
However, are these externally visible gauges the only true indicators of success? In this world, there are accomplishments that we, as humans, may consider to be successes while God Himself may hold contrary views. There are dishonorable, filthy successes. There are tainted successes that not only destroy those in pursuit, but also negatively impact those around them. A representative case of a filthy success may be an election victory in a political campaign, where mudslinging, illegal shortcuts, defamation, and slandering played a crucial role in victory. Around us, there are too many people who are willing to resort to any means available, regardless of ethics or morals thus lending a true credence to the phrase “end justifies the means” in pursuit of this scarred glory, the deplorable and dishonorable success.
First place does not necessarily equate to success. There is only one first place; hence, as logic concludes, only one person who can claim to be the best erstwhile countless number of people may have strove and gave their all to be the best. Do we count the one in the first place as the only one that succeeded while we discount everyone else as failures? Being the best and holding the distinction as being in the first place, however, is not eternal. No matter how high a peak we may have conquered to be the number one, at some point in the near future, we must vacate that apex for someone else will always succeed over and surpass us. Like a mountain climber who conquered a mountain peak, we must come down from the apex some point in our lives; hence, first place and the top place are not eternal. Likewise, we cannot consider ourselves to be successful on the account of money, power, or fame. Because true happiness is not a result of some contest, an item subject to grade. Because true happiness is not determined by money, power, or fame.
Therefore, our success must be a thing of beauty, an item of cleanliness instead of something that is tainted and contaminated with impurities. Then what is a pure, beautiful success? What is a true success for us, as Christians? In finding an answer to this question, I would like to research into the success story of Joseph. The legendary story of Joseph’s success is a true, shining example of a pure, beautiful success.
First, a beautiful success is a success that realizes God’s will and intent. Joseph was a man sacrificed due to his brothers’ envy and jealousy. As the last born, he was a subject of his father’s preferential and spoiling treatment; furthermore, overt boasting of his dreams brought on great hatred from his older brothers. Joseph was eventually sold to Egypt as a slave and the tribulations and pains felt by Joseph during slavery is indescribable and inexpressible. In a foreign country, he had to crawl from the bottom. Joseph became the overseer of the estate of General Potiphar; however, by resisting the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was imprisoned. All of you probably know, quite well, how Joseph overcame all these obstacles and tribulations in becoming the second highest ranking man in Egypt, behind the Pharaoh, as the prime minister of Egypt, the overseer of all national affairs and the ruler of all but the one.
The important thing to remember is that Joseph interprets and construes all his success in the land of Egypt as a success that will realize God’s will and intent. Joseph clearly delineates this fact when meeting with his brothers after his travails in Egypt his brothers, whom, out of their hatred, tried to kill Joseph and eventually exiled him to a foreign land, away from the protective umbrella of his parents. Take a look at verses 5 through 8 of today’s scripture. “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
The reason for the beauty and effervescence of Joseph’s success lies in his belief that the course of his life is a result or providence of realizing the holy will and script of God. Everyone do you wish your success to be the bright, shining and beautiful success? Then ask of God’s intent towards you about what He has in mind for you. No matter what you do whether you earn money, go to work, study, or anything else, grab and hold onto God’s intent, of what He is trying to accomplish through you. In Matthew 6, verse 33, Jesus promised, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” If our lives are engulfed in the divine task of realizing God’s will, this alone will be enough to make our lives a success.
An owner of a tennis club was cleaning up the locker room by picking up used towels after a group of high school students used his club to work out. The owner cleaned the locker room, putting all towels in a basket, without much thought and out of habit; yet, his friend, who had been watching all along, asked a very profound and meaningful question. “Did you pick up the towels because you are the owner of this club, or are you a owner of this club because you pick up the towels?” Indeed this is an important question, for it delves in the very essence of our being, our existence in this world. Why do you do the work or things that you do? Do you do it because you have no choice that the responsibility had been thrust upon you without a choice, and you have nothing but the option of carrying out your responsibilities? Or do you do it because you consider it a divine purpose something that God has charged you to do and accomplish? Depending on how you answer this question, your success could either be crystalline or filthy.
Second, the price of beautiful success usually entails efforts wrought with sweat, tears, and blood.
In Korean, the word for gangs a group of people who resort to violence as a way of living is “Bulhandang.” The root of the word, derived from Chinese, has a deep meaning. The word “Bulhandang” means those who desire to make a living without shedding a droplet of sweat in other words, those who wish to live without working or exerting efforts. Disciple Paul warned the people of Thessalonia by saying, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (Thessalonians 3 :10). A filthy, decrepit success is one in which no sweat has been expended in essence, a cheap accomplishment without a concerted effort. Why is lottery or gambling bad? Both aim at receiving a jackpot that does not require any effort or hard work.
Joseph, after shedding all three liquids that humans can produce sweat, tears, and blood while exerting maximum effort, rose to the second highest position in Egypt. His accomplishment was not some jackpot, a thing of luck that did not require any work or effort. In order to realize his dream, Joseph had to work hard, often suffering great pain, in a foreign land. He had to fight through insufferable loneliness, the sudden, abrupt separation from his loved family, and had to start from the bottom in a foreign land that refused to recognize his status. But he trudged along, driving forth with a firm belief that one day, God will realize his dreams and began constructing his life. Everywhere he went, he was recognized and lauded for his characteristic honesty and diligence.
In verse 5, chapter 39 of Genesis, the Bible states that once Joseph became the overseer of the estate that belonged to the captain of the guards of the Pharaoh, Potiphar, “the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.” A diligence of one man brought unprecedented abundance and blessings for the entire household. Potiphar trusted Joseph so much that he left all affairs of the estate minus what he himself ate for meals up to Joseph. In Genesis, chapter 41, verse 38, it is stated that once Joseph started working under the Pharaoh, he earned such a trust from the Pharaoh that Pharaoh himself boasts to other servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” The secret to Joseph’s success was doing his best at all he did while having faith and trust in God. Joseph’s success is beautiful because it was gained through an investment of honest effort and hard work.
True mountain climbers, those who truly know and appreciate the mountain, do not call their work “mountain climbing.” Rather, they refer to it as “mountain entering.” It is not mountain climbing a competitive activity to climb higher and higher peaks, to determine who is the best but a mountain entering, where one enters the mountain with humblest of hearts to enjoy what the nature has to offer. It is true. In order to enter the mountain, one must become small and low; likewise, in order to achieve a beautiful success, one must lower himself to the lowest position possible. Sir Roy Sission of England stated that the secret to success lay in the ‘Three Hs of Leadership.” The impetuses of success are humanity, humility, and humor. Joseph probably embodied all three characteristics; no doubt he was a humane man full of humility and a good sense of humor. The reason why the success story of Joseph shine so brightly and referred to it often is that relying on candor and commitment as his watchword, without the safety net of his loved parents and family, Joseph created something out of nothing.
There is a beautiful story behind the creation of marathon, the event often referred to as “the flower” of the Olympic Games. A Greek soldier, in 490 BC, ran 26 miles, from the city of Marathon to Athens, in order to deliver the news of Athens’s triumph over Persia during the Battle of Marathon. This soldier, upon arriving in Athens, uttered one word Victory! before collapsing and dying of fatigue. When the Olympic Games were revived in 1896 in the West, a new event, a 26-mile running event called marathon was created to commemorate this soldier and his beautiful commitment. In order to carry out the task of delivering the news of victory to Athens, this soldier ran and ran for 26 miles, eventually giving his own life to accomplish the task. The sweat, tears and blood shed by those who gave their all to accomplish a task are objects of beauty. If you truly desire to succeed, sweat profusely. Always remember that beautiful success is realized after a hard day’s work through great efforts and, sometimes, pain.
Third, beautiful success always benefits and brings happiness to all those around them. A special characteristic of a beautiful success is that it always ends in a happy ending. Today’s scripture captures the reunion between Joseph, who accomplished a rare, extraordinary success in Egypt, and his older brothers, who brought such extraordinary pain and suffering to bear upon Joseph. Any other person, no matter that these people were his brothers and with the exception of Benjamin, all were his step or half brothers would have tried to exact some sort of revenges as a pay back for all those years of suffering and pain. But Joseph did not exact revenge nor held a grudge against his brothers. He did not repay evil with evil, going eye for an eye. Rather, he forgave, and responded to evil with good and kindness.
After excusing all the servants and assistants, Joseph wept aloud so loud that the Pharaoh in Egypt heard it in front of his brothers. In verse 14, it is stated that he wept while hugging Benjamin the sole full sibling of Joseph, meaning they had the same mother and Benjamin did the same in hugging him back and crying. Joseph, in hugging and kissing each and every one of his brothers, cast away all blaming and grudging feelings from his heart. They reconciled dramatically. Through all this we can gain a sense of the warm humanity of Joseph.
Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers, but he also interprets his exile to Egypt as God’s divine will and blessing, to rescue and save his people the people who were on the verge of death from starvation and famine. Joseph had the faith that his success ended not merely in his own abundance and riches, but that his success hinged upon realization of God’s plan to bring happiness and salvation to all people around him. A beautiful success enables my success to benefit others.
Therefore, a tarred success is one in which money, power and fame bring happiness and benefits to a select few and not to all people. The true discriminator of a beautiful and a filthy success rests here. How many people will benefit and be happy as a result of my success? Juxtaposed against this standard, our success can be beautiful, or it can be filthy and tarred.
During this year’s World Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees and won the World Championship. The Diamondbacks attract our particular interest because they have a 22-year old Korean relief pitcher, Byung Hyun Kim. Kim became a subject of attention as the possible goat should the Diamondbacks lose the series after blowing a 2-run lead in the bottom of ninth inning with two outs in both Games 4 and 5. However, since the Diamondbacks dramatically won Game 7, Kim’s mistakes were covered up and disappeared among the euphoria of Arizona victory.
The interesting thing to note is that despite the two crushing, demoralizing defeats, no one on the Diamondbacks criticized Kim for losing two-run leads on two consecutive nights. Rather, they encouraged Kim by saying “losing is not your fault but our collective faults,” and “we believe in you.” Furthermore, even the Arizona fans cheered Kim on during Game 6, chanting “We want Kim!” and “We’ll be OK with Kim!” from the stands. After Game 7 Arizona victory, Kim had the following things to say to the reporters who interviewed him. “All this time, I played baseball by myself. Because I was a pitcher, the sense of self was more acute on the field because the game hinged upon the pitches that I made. I though all was well if I pitched well. But through this Series, I learned that my teammates are my family. We win as a team and we lose as a team.” Byung Hyun Kim finally understood the essence of team sports through the World Series.
In Luke 6, verse 38, Jesus said that “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into you bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” We are all neighbors, living together and next to each other. The true success can be defined as those accomplishments that not only benefit myself, but one that benefits the collective community and those around us. What is the wrong with those children who learn to think that the first place is the only definition of success? Such notion, when analyzed carefully, is a very selfish, self-serving one. By being in the first place, those children learn to benefit only themselves and seek to be the best for their own sake and happiness. A success that provides something for the neighbors, benefits others, and brings happiness to all people around us is a truly beautiful success. No matter what area you succeed in, I hope that your success can bring happiness and benefits to all those around you.
Lastly, let’s think about Jesus with Joseph’s success story.
By the secular standards, Jesus Christ was not a success. Everyone strives to be the number one in this world; however, Jesus finished last and became a failure. His Disciples, of whom He had great expectations, did not meet nor measured up to what Jesus expected of them; furthermore, they failed to understand Jesus’ true intent. Jesus was arrested, tortured, interrogated, and executed at the cross in the most vile, decrepit manner. In sum, He failed greatly. Did anyone fail so completely, by the world’s standards, in history of mankind?
Yet, strangely, history does not view Jesus as a failure. Rather, the history views Jesus as its brightest, greatest, and most successful victor ever. Why so? It is because Jesus Himself demonstrated and carried out the three standards, the prerequisites, of beautiful success that I have mentioned above. Jesus was but a tool of God in carrying out the Herculean task of saving mankind. In order to carry out this task, and to realize God’s will, Jesus unsparingly shed His sweat, tears, and blood. He let His body be crucified on the cross and torn apart to meet God’s intent. Not only did Jesus meet God’s intent in saving mankind, he brought true happiness and benefits to all mankind, near and far, throughout the epoch of history.
Do you want to see a demonstration of a beautiful success? Think of Joseph and Jesus. I pray in the name of our Lord that your successes will be beautiful, ones that benefit all your neighbors just as Joseph and Jesus’ success brought happiness and benefits to all mankind.
I would like to conclude today’s sermon by sharing with you an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s work.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and ensure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
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