By William C. Sexton
“I have long been convinced that, if a young person will give his job, though a humble one, the best that is in him, he will be trusted and promoted to better jobs. A strong desire to succeed, loyal and faithful service will still be rewarded” (W.W. Otey: The Tree of Life Lost and Regained, p. 60)
The above statement was written by an aged warrior, claiming a faith that is so lacking in many people today. Yet, it is a faith that should be re-established, manifested and acted upon for the good of individuals and society, too.
People are unwilling to shoulder the responsibility for their situation, lack of success, unhappiness, etc. So many have come to look for something for nothing. Various teachers have proclaimed the message that success is ours to demand rather than achieve! Such is unfortunate and harmful, to persons who could succeed and society in which we live.
Brother Otey’s declaration is issued while pointing to the success of Joseph in very adverse circumstances (Gen. 37:150:26). Wherever he was, Joseph conducted himself honorably, trusting in God! “God was with him, and delivered him out of his afflictions, and gave him, favor and wisdom . . . enabling him to achieve for himself, his people and Egypt” (Acts 7:816). God blessed him and those associated with him, even some who tried to corrupt him and destroy his life, they failed while he succeeded. His people and the Egyptian were blessed greatly through him, God directing his life and he submitting.
Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Lk. 16: 10).
Man needs to learn early in life that he is required to be “faithful,” loyal, honest and honorable I He who conducts himself so shall have real success, providing he is trusting in God’s directions. We do not claim, of course, that one will be as rich in material goods as all others! But we do claim, however, that he who will conduct himself honorably and honestly under God’s directions will experience real success, even in this life (Jas. 2:5; 1 Tim. 6:18-19; Matt. 6:19-21; Gal. 6:7-9). One is to earn his way, however (2 Thess. 3:8-10; 1 Thess. 5:11-12; Eph. 4:28).
It is easy in our day for one to develop the philosophy that those who have “riches” have gotten them unrighteously and “I really deserve to have some of what they have without working for and earning it.” Beloved, I know of no passages that so teach. Do you? If you do, bring it out and put it on display and let us all examine it. God’s word tells the child of God to work with his hands in that which is good, that he might have to supply one’s own needs and to assist those who are in real need.
The Bible also tells us to conduct ourselves humbly regardless of the position that we occupy – servant or master (Eph. 6:59; Col. 3:22-4:1).
We challenge each of us to learn from God’s book that we need not be victims of our environment! Let us not try to escape the responsibility for being honestly productive in the midst of a social milieu that is less than conductive to righteousness. Rather, let us have faith to do right, trusting in God’s ability to produce goodness even through imperfect creatures and in an evil society (Rom. 8:28). Let us demonstrate that we have faith in the principle of success, when the directions from God are followed!
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 3, p. 84
February 2, 1984