Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Least Likely to Succeed

Then he prayed, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Make me successful today. Be kind to my master Abraham." Genesis 24:12 (NIRV)

My sophomore year of high school, I applied to become a reporter for our school newspaper. The English teacher serving as the paper's advisor commented that my method of spelling appeared somewhat unorthodox. "You spell the way you talk."

"But that's a good thing," I replied, "because authors are encouraged to develop their voice, right?"

"Eddie, you can't spell."

"Sure I can." I pointed to my feature story. "All these words right here has letters in them. Some, a whole bunch."

She admitted she liked my humor and the way I strung words together, so she put me on the staff … as an ad sales person. My senior year, Mrs. Pollard, my English teacher, heard me tell a fellow classmate I intended to go to college.

"Eddie, you can't be serious. You're not ready for college."

"But I'm going."

Mrs. Pollard took pity on me and agreed to help me become a better grammarian. "I still can't promise you'll get in," she warned. "You simply cannot spell." Same problem, different teacher. But oh did I have dreams.

Both English teachers were right. The admissions officials at North Carolina State University looked at my GPS and SAT scores and rejected my application. A few days later I made an appointment with the admissions office. The day of my interview I wore a pair of "mom-made" red and white polyester pants, a white shirt, and red tie. The admissions officer probably thought I looked like a clown, but dreamers see past their faults and reach beyond their potential.

After several minutes of me begging him to let me in, the admissions officer relented and reluctantly admitted me into their Industrial Arts program. I thought that was pretty cool since I figured Industrial Arts meant I would be painting buildings and designing weird looking homes. Turns out Industrial Arts was a fancy way of saying "shop class."

To get a jump on my college education I signed up for second session of summer school and promptly flunked English 101. In the fall I took English 101, again. And failed. Spring semester I squeaked by with a "D" and moved to English 102. I graduated from State four years later with a degree in English/Journalism and a cumulative GPA of 2.0. I was what I'd always been: average. But oh did I have dreams.

Last year, I finally reached that dream: I became a published novelist with HarperCollins. My English teachers were right in their assessment of me; as was my guidance counselor, the admission's officer, and pretty much every proofreader who has ever read my work.

But as I pursued my dream I discovered hard work and skill alone does not guarantee success. You need passion. You need a dream. And you need God.

In our verse today we find a servant of Abraham praying to God for success. What strikes me about this passage is the humility of the servant. He doesn't even dare speak his name before God. He only calls himself a "servant". We have to go all the way back to Genesis 15:2 to learn his name is Eliezer. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – these are the renowned men who inherited God's promise, not this humble servant. Eliezer simply interceded for his master Abraham and asked God for success.

Too often we put our own desires above those of others. We thump our chest, dance in end zones, and strut across life's stage, ignoring the fact that God alone gives us our daily bread and breath.

"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives," the apostle James writes. You and I ask in order "that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:3 (NIV)

Oh that more of us were like Eliezer: humble and bold and eager to work in the shadows on behalf of others. I write because I love stringing words together. If I could write anonymously, I would. But write I must.

If I may, allow me to pray today that God will give you success: not in order for you to spend it on yourself, but to serve others. And may we all enjoy the pleasure of living the dream God has placed within our heart.

Copyright © 2013 Eddie Jones. Used by permission.

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