Your gonna have to serve somebody
Posted on Monday, June 25th 2012 at 01:57 pm
John Shorbe spoke at 4 Tucson's Business Fellowship a week ago. John was the President of Canoa Homes, one of the top builders in Tucson during the "good times". He shared how difficult it was closing the company and liquidating the assets so that they could pay off their suppliers and sub-contractors. Thankfully they were able to do so, but he was left with little after 25 years of hard work. He went on to share what he had learned through being at the pinnacle and then in the valley. He said one of the most difficult things to deal with in life is prosperity. It can make us succumb to the gods of money, power and success.
John Rockefeller (owner of Standard Oil) was one of the richest men in the world. He was asked once what more he wanted, he responded "just one dollar more". Money will not satisfy. It is not evil in itself; the Bible says it is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Being content and thankful for what you have is a blessing. Otherwise the love of money can be like a drug addiction and the cup will never be filled.
Power can also consume us. John told a story about being in a meeting with high level government officials and they were talking about their "reports". He asked them what they meant and they said "so and so is his report". They had reduced the people they worked with to someone that "reported" to them. Recently we have seen the downfall of Jonathan Edwards (his ancestor is Jonathan Edwards the great revival preacher of the "Great Awakening"), a man of great charisma and promise who succumbed to the god of power. He was on trial for misusing campaign funds to fund his mistress, but make no mistake his downfall was because he was intoxicated with power and felt he was exempt from the rules (moral or legal).
The Bible tells us to beware when people speak well of you. We should strive to do our work with excellence, but when we start believing the press clippings, then success has gone to our head. A friend of mine was having problems with her knee and went to see an orthopedic surgeon. The doctor was very curt and dismissive with her and when she asked a question about what he was proposing to do he responded "so you're a doctor now?" I was a waiter in a fine dining restaurant while I was going to college and I learned a lot about people waiting on tables. We had many dignitaries, artists, politicians and other "stars" dine with us. Those that had sipped the elixir of success would snap their fingers, shout "waiter" or wave their napkin like a toreador when I passed by to "get my attention". Then they would ignore you and talk loudly when we would try to take their order. After all, didn't we know who "they" were?
John's message really hit home with me. I believe we are all vulnerable to some degree of succumbing to the gods of money, power and success. In the "good times" we rarely look in the mirror to see how we have aged. It is usually only in those moments when life has collapsed that we get a reality check. Bob Dylan said in a song "you have to serve somebody, it might be the devil it might be the Lord, but your gonna have to serve somebody". Choose you this day whom you will serve.