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"If At First You Succeed, Then What?"
by Tom Goodman
February 25, 2015

Perhaps success should come with a warning label.

Charlie Sheen suggested his easy and early success has something to do with his chaotic choices.  "As kids we're not taught how to deal with success; we're taught how to deal with failure," he once said.  "We're told, 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.'  But if at first you succeed, then what?"

That's worth thinking about.  Our character gets tested at least as much by success as it does by failure.

I love that scene in Cool Runnings when Brister talks about winning, and then losing, his two Olympic gold medals.  Erwin Brister, played by John Candy, had been hired by a group of Jamaicans to teach them how to compete as a bobsled team in the Winter Olympics.  They were scraping the bottom of the barrel in asking Brister to coach them.  Though he was a two-time gold medal winner in the sport, he had been disqualified for adding weight to the nose of his American bobsled.  His two gold medals were revoked, and he descended into years of alcoholism.  But the team needed a coach, and the coach needed redemption, and so they agreed to work together.

By pairing an unlikely coach with an unlikely bobsled team from Jamaica, the film had plenty of comedic moments.  It also had one particularly touching moment.  The night before their qualifying run, one of the competitors named Dareese asked Brister about his disgrace.  After winning gold, why wasn't that enough?  Why did he have to cheat in pursuit of more success?

Brister responded, "Dareese, a gold medal is a wonderful thing.  But if you are not enough without it, you will never be enough with it."

Someone should have shared this wisdom with Gideon.  After winning his most famous battle against Israel's enemies, he faced an even tougher battle against his own ego.  How did success test his character, and how did he fare?  Come join us this Sunday at 10 for the last installment of our seven-week series through the life of Gideon.

The Scotsman George MacDonald said, "Without Christ a man must fail miserably -- or succeed even more miserably."  Let's avoid both forms of misery.

Finding Your P.L.A.C.E. in God's Service.  You can find out how God wants you to serve him by discovering your unique mix of Passion, Leadership gifts, Abilities, Character traits, and Experience.  During the small-group hour the next two Sundays, join Herb Ingram in A161 for this special class.  Register here.


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