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Me again, Son.  Have I told you recently that you make me proud?  You do!  You just seem to keep looking for ways to do the right thing.  And that's good.  It's not always easy.  But it's good. 


So you want to talk about success?  Think.  Take the time to look things over, pray, and make wise choices.  If you rush into anything, or choose foolishly,  it doesn't affect just you.  It has an impact on everbody around you, especially those you love.  If you get into a pattern of foolishness, it's really hard to get back on track.  And your mamma, especially, would be fussing all the time.  Mamma's are like that. 


You know this is another of those areas where everybody seems to have an opinion and everybody's opinion seems different?  The bible says you can find wisdom if you take stock of what wise people say, but you do need to decide who you're going to accept as wise people.  So here are some tips.


Some folks will do anything they can get away with just to put money in the bank.  They'll cheat.  They'll steal.  Maybe not outright.  They may not break the law, but they'll bend it as far as they can.  They may not lie, but they won't tell the truth either.  Then they'll laugh about it over drinks on Saturday night.


People like that are looking for the easy way.  And sooner or later, it will catch up to them. You can see pretty easily what those people become.  Every day they turn a little darker, and die a little inside.


Now if you keep doing the right thing, that won't happen to you.  And if you keep following God, and get to know Him and His ways, he will not let you go hungry.  That is a fact.  He'll keep you on the right path, too, if you pay attention.  He has a real knack for derailing plans that are based on wrong desires.


Do you want to be successful?  Work.  If a person doesn't want to work, or does a half-hearted job, that person will end up poor.  If someone takes hold of the opportunities that are there, makes wise choices, does the right thing, and consistently gives their honest best, that person will do well. 


But success takes time.  A farmer puts seed in the ground, and then takes care of his fields for a long time before they produce anything to eat or sell.  And when the time comes to harvest that field, he needs to be paying attention.  He needs to recognize the right time to harvest, and act immediately.  If he decides to stay in bed, or go on vacation when there's opportunity or work to be done, well that's just plain stupid. 


If you make up your mind and set your heart to do the right thing, you will be blessed.  Those "easy way" people with their fast money schemes are all talk.  And their talk is a cover for the fact that they really don't care who they hurt as long as they get what they want.


If you build a reputation for doing the right thing, people will remember you.  What's more,  that memory will keep on having an influence and blessing long after you're gone. And make no mistake.  Folks remember the ones who hurt or took advantage of them too.  Those people may have even had a good name once,  but the memory of their bad actions lives on like a cancer, until there's nothing left of the good.


If you're honest, you won't need to worry about your future.  Most good folks can see through a phoney, and eventually they figure out who the real crooks are.


If you listen with your heart to God's commands and leadings, that's wisdom.  Fools and self-appointed experts just run their mouths and are only interested in their own opinions.  And they end up getting knocked down to size. 


The guy who's always got a new scheme to get rich and avoid work is a troublemaker...for everybody.  Don't be taken in by promises of a sweet deal for a select few.


Don't throw in with people whose fancy words just cover up arrogant and hurtful plans.
Underneath it all, their ways are just plain hateful. 


When you speak, speak the truth.  Speak wisdom.  Be a source of blessing and life to everybody you come in contact with. 


Don't carry grudges.  They keep the hurt going.  Forgive.  Move on.   Above all, love.  Always remember to love.   That'll help you get through a lot of stuff. 


I love you.  We'll talk more later.


(hint:  Proverbs 10:1-12)

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