Success itself maybe a problem at times. The following examples, some of them, weak, provide evidence to illustrate that 'success' is a very slippery item!
The first example. What is widely recognised as the best soccer competition in the world, the English Premier League (EPL) is a case in point. English soccer coach Fabio Capello remarked on this exact situation when quoted at the World Cup of Soccer:
"The big problem for us is only 38 per cent of players in the Premier League are English. In other countries it (home grown players) is 68, 69 or 70 per cent. Clubs do produce young players. But some are Welsh, some are Irish, some are the others. They are not English but they play in the Premier League."
In other words, the very success of the EPL means that clubs want the best overseas players to retain their high standing. This in turn restricts the chances of their own English lads making it to the top. 'Success' has become the problem.
Success is also limited. Some years ago speaking at a Hughes Baptist Church men's breakfast, to introduce the subject of sports ministry, the question was put, as to what is the difference between a professional athlete and a carton of milk. The answer was: They both had a 'use by date'.
At the end of the talk, the Hughes Baptist Church Minister, an Englishman, in his vote of thanks, said he couldn't get out of his mind the image of that illustration. He vividly recalled as a teenager several champion EPL soccer players and years later read a newspaper article about their life after soccer. One was on the wharf and one was working in a milk factory. Yes, 'success' regularly has a used by date.
Success can come from fresh initiatives. Continental Airlines, one of the big five, they were on top of the game, but then found themselves losing vast sums of money and sought Chapter 11 (a USA pre bankruptcy situation whereby a company can still trade).
The new CEO undertook numerous journey's to ascertain from Continental Airlines customer's view. what the issues were and he found one common denominator. 'On time arrivals'. He initiated a small but effective financial incentive for staff that focused on this one single area and within a twelve month period, Continental Airlines profits soared. So 'success' can come from fresh initiatves.
Success is sometimes difficult to pass on. Some churches with large congregations have found this. It's been interesting to read the media reports coming out of the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles where Dr Robert Schuler is one day handing over the reigns to his daughter and the next day he's not.
Mr Basil Sellers AM businessman and philanthropist in his interview on the Australian Missionary News IPTV said that his business success was largely intuitive, and its not something one can teach someone else.
Moreover, that is very much like church growth, in that one Pastor recognises the opportunities whereas another are unable to perceive those same door ways. Yes, 'success' is very difficult to pass on.
So what is success?
Success comes in many forms. An athlete might consider 'success' as a personal best achievement although not gaining a place in the event. 'Success' might be gaining a pass mark in a subject for which the student struggles. Or 'success' might be attaining a result beyond one's wildest dreams.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has one formula for success, and that is when a person falls at the foot of the Cross and seeks forgiveness and seeks His Salvation. This 'success' relies not on achievement or intellectual capacity, rather on a spiritual humility that requires the acceptance of Grace. Now, that's 'success'!