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Success?

By Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti
Editor, CQ Bible Study Guide for Young Adults

“S-U-C-C-E-S-S! That’s the way we spell success!” So goes a cheer that many college fans shout before and during their college’s basketball and football games. Success is, of course, synonymous with winning the game.

When the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died suddenly, the world hailed him as a success. In his case, success was synonymous with changing forever a genre of music and with making millions of dollars. Yet he died somewhat of a recluse and millions of dollars in debt.

How do you spell success? Does it possibly involve getting one or more diplomas from an institute of higher learning? Perhaps it includes getting married and raising a family? Maybe it entails having a job that pays well so you can acquire the latest techno gadgets, or . . . well, you get the picture.

Perhaps in itself, there’s nothing wrong with such success. However, it does come with a much higher price tag than we think, especially if we neglect that which is true success. Solomon “became great and excelled more than all who were before” him in Jerusalem. Whatever he saw that he wanted, he got (Eccl. 2:1, 10, NKJV). During the end of his life, however, he realized how to correctly spell success:

“Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say,” ‘I have no pleasure in them’. . . Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone” (Eccl. 12:1, 13, NRSV).

Now, how do you choose to spell success?