Growth and Success

Friday, 17 May 2013 13:09
by Pastor Larry Tong


I believe everyone wants to be successful. Very seldom will you meet a person who wants to fail. But many factors in life deter one’s success. It may be fear, not the fear to succeed, but the fear to fail. It may be contentment, the feeling of securely settled down. What is the greatest obstacle you will face once you have begun achieving your goals and tasting success? It may be the inability to let go of what you have so that you can reach for something new. In other words, the chief obstacle for success is one’s own achievement, as Rick Warren says, “The greatest detriment to tomorrow’s success is today’s success.”

So often, when we tasted “some” success, we became content. We tend to stay at where it makes us feel good. But then again, growth or success is limitless. In order to grow, we often have to answer a critical question: What am I willing to give up in order to reach a new level of growth? Jesus used an everyday principle to illustrate this concept. He said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (Jn. 12:24).” In the context, Jesus was referring to his death, yet the concept is still relevant, even for us. If we want to produce, we have to give up something!

When it comes to giving up, it involves risk. By nature, we don’t like taking risk. We want to stay in our comfort zone; stay in the same environment where we are most familiar with; keep doing the same thing, lest we make mistakes. Max DePree reminds us, though, “By avoiding risk, we really risk what is most important in life—reaching toward growth, our potential and a true contribution to a common goal.” I realize the higher we reach the harder it is to give up. I remember my parents said, “You can either taste sweet first, bitter later or taste bitter first and sweet later.” This is similar to the English idiom— “Pay now and play later, or play now and pay later.” It seemed that they said it a lot to me, because by nature, I love to play now, and never think about later! I was immature then (not to say that I am mature now). But I have grown to learn that there is always trade-offs. I like the term, “Give and take.” It reminds me that if I don’t give away something, I can’t take anything. If my hands are full of “old” toys or things, I can’t take “newer” things. What kind of “old” things are you holding on that prohibit you from taking “newer and better” things? It is worth our while to think about that, isn’t it?

The church theme for this year is “Growing Deeper.” It is our desire that all of you take “Growing in the Lord” seriously. We don’t want to stay on an immaturity level. You don’t want to continue drinking milk as your main diet. It is time to chew on savory solid food. Unless you let go of the pacifier, you won’t taste the distinct favor of fish, beef, chicken, pork or other meat.

Before I sign off, I wish to come back to the verse I quoted from the Bible earlier. Jesus died to yield many seeds. I am grateful that He chose to die, so that I may live. He gave, and I gained. Thank you, Lord! I pray that you, too, are as blessed as I am.

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day. I wish all the mothers will enjoy a day of rest on Mother’s Day. Go to church, and enjoy God-centered worship, and take it easy for the rest of the day! Now, that’s a good plan, isn’t it? This Bible verses came to my mind: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! . . . As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you (Isaiah 49:15; 66:13).”

Last modified on Friday, 26 July 2013 13:16

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