Temporary success may often crown the efforts of the godless, but even their greatest achievements cannot bring complete satisfaction. That was Solomon’s theme when he said, “… the expectation of the wicked shall perish.” If unrepentant sinners should view their most brilliant accomplishments in the light of eternity, they would find them to be as lasting and as valuable as bursting bubbles.

The 119th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: “Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph. Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years, in banishment.” No wonder Solomon warned of the poor prospects for anyone who strives to succeed without relying on God. – H.G.B.

Our Daily Bread, January 31


•      I discovered I didn’t feel worth a damn, and certainly not worthy of love, unless I was accomplishing something. I suddenly realized I have never felt I could be loved just for being. – Oprah Winfrey (talk-show host), Good Housekeeping, Sept, 1991, p. 63.

•      My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. That’s always been pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become somebody, I still have to prove that I’m SOMEBODY. My struggle has never ended, and it probably never will. – Madonna, Quoted from Vogue, in What Jesus Would Say, by Lee Strobel.

•      I had no idea who I was, or what I could be away from tennis,” says Chris Evert, recalling the final years of her career. “I was depressed and afraid because so much of my life had been defined by my being a tennis champion. I was completely lost. Winning made me feel like I was somebody. It made me feel pretty. It was like being hooked on a drug. I needed the wins, the applause, in order to have an identity. – Chris Evert, retired tennis star, Good Housekeeping, October 1990, pp 87–88.

King Oscar

Visiting a village school one day, King Oscar II of Sweden asked the pupils to name the greatest kings of Sweden. The answers were unanimous: Gustavus Vasa, Gustavus Adolphus, Charles X. Then the teacher leaned over to one little boy and whispered something in his ear.

“And King Oscar,” volunteered the child.

“Really? And what has King Oscar done that’s so remarkable?” asked the king.

“I–I–I don’t know,” stammered the unhappy child.

“That’s all right,” said the king. “Neither do I.”

Today in the Word, August 2, 1993

Filling Needs

•      Helping a person find out what he needs, then helping him find the best way to get it. (I Thessalonians 2:11)

Source unknown

No Scoreboard

Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa, Florida, was billed as the ultimate game in the ultimate city. Several years ago, Duane Thomas, then playing with the Dallas Cowboys, was preparing for Super Bowl VI in New Orleans. “If it’s the ultimate game, how come they’re playing it again next year?”

The nice thing about football is that you have a scoreboard to show how you’ve done. In other things in life, you don’t. At least, not one you can see. – Chuck Noll (football coach)

Source unknown

Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes once said that her mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. Her mother advised her that

“… achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”

Bits and Pieces, August, 1989