Throughout human history, people strove to gain success hoping that it would satisfy them. But history also showed that some of these individuals, whom the world regarded as epitome of success, have found that success does not really equate to true happiness or satisfaction.
Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship uncovered three points that would tackle success and what would truly bring satisfaction to a human soul, through his article in Christian Headlines.
First, he said that fame and glory are fleeting.
The pastor mentioned about M.J. Thompson's observation about Michael Jordan, saying that the basketball legend appeared to be unhappy after leaving his career.
"Jordan might have stopped playing basketball, but the rage is still there. The fire remains, which is why he searches for release ... the man has left the court, but the addictions won't leave the man," Thompson noted.
"Most people live anonymous lives, and when they grow old and die, any record of their existence is blown away. They're forgotten, some more slowly than others, but eventually, it happens to virtually everyone. Yet for the few people in each generation who reach the very pinnacle of fame and achievement, a mirage flickers: immortality. They come to believe in it. Even after Jordan is gone, he knows people will remember him. Here lies the greatest basketball player of all time. That's his epitaph," he continued.
Thompson further spoke about a fable wherein a slave whispered to the Roman generals in a victory parade, saying "All glory is fleeting". He said that Jordan's life must have been the same way. He had achieved an unbelievable success in his basketball career but that too, has to end. He then felt worthless afterwards, saying that his self-esteem is "tied directly to the game".
Next, Pastor Idleman argued that obeying the Word of God is important.
He said that the treasure that should be sought for is the relationship with God, family and others.
He added that essential qualities such as integrity, discipline and commitment should remain in a person's life, refusing to be eroded by "declining culture". A person can make a difference by obeying the Word of God.
"With life we were given power. The power to obey God is one of the greatest attributes that we possess. There is little we can do about life's glitches except to control the way that we respond to them. The obstacles ahead are not greater than God's power to take us through," the pastor further stated.
Finally, he said that success does not bring satisfaction.
He contended that successful personalities should not have turned to drugs, alcohol and spirituality if success could satisfy.
"Goals, dreams and aspirations are God's desire for our lives, but when these things are based on self-gratification, we encounter problems emotionally, physically and spiritually," he further stated.
The pastor then recalled Matt Smethurst's response to Jordan's question of where to find peace after basketball. Smethurst replied to Jordan that he did not really have peace even during his career, he only had fame and victory. The game did bring him a sense of purpose and value but not peace.
"The peace you seek isn't available on a basketball court or a golf course but on a little hill outside Jerusalem. There, Yahweh incarnate hung in the place of sinners-wannabe Yahwehs like you and like me. You've gained the world and found it lacking, Mike. Don't lose your soul," Smethurst further told Jordan.
Pastor Idleman concluded with the words from Mark 8:36, saying "What shall it profit any of us if we gain the whole world yet lose our soul?"