Ten Laws of Success

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Many years ago, I came across the 10 Commandments of Success written by Charles M. Schwab, the steel magnet of the late nineteenth and early 20th Century.

A few days ago, I came across a Rich Thoughts For Breakfast teaching I did about Schwab and his ten commandments for success.

As I read over what I had previously written. . .I was given a clear word from the Lord to expand this teaching and share it on SUNDAY NITE LIVE and in our Rich Thoughts Email.

What you’re about to see is the 10 Commandments of Success greatly expanded with fresh Holy Spirit revelation.

Based on his lifestyle, I find it ironic that Schwab chose the term “commandments” to describe his success strategies. His lifestyle was anything but that of a godly man. Yet, back in that day, doing the godly thing was more the accepted norm in American life than in today’s society.

Schwab was a brilliant businessman. In 1908, he took a major risk and had his company, Bethlehem Steel, begin construction of the H-bean which revolutionized building construction and made possible the age of the skyscraper.

As I read Schwab’s 10 Commandments of Success. . .I was stirred to give them a scriptural foundation and commentary.

After all, each of these commandments has scripture as its basis. For that matter, all success is born in scripture. It just isn’t always recognized as such.

Let’s take a godly look at Schwab’s 10 Commandments of Success with added information from the Holy Spirit.

1.     Work hard. [Hard work is the best investment a man can make.]

Ezra 5:8 in the New Living Translation says:

“The king should know that we went to the construction site of the Temple of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being rebuilt with specially prepared stones, and timber is being laid in its walls. The work is going forward with great energy and success.”

In whatever your hands are finding to do at this moment. . .are you working with great energy and success?

If not, what can you do to turn things around?

2 Thessalonians 3:6-7 in The Living Bible says:

“Now here is a command, dear brothers, given in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by his authority: Stay away from any Christian who spends his days in laziness and does “not follow the ideal of hard work we set up for you.”

Sometimes laziness can mean we’ve slacked off working hard because we’ve become comfortable. I call it falling into a comfort zone.

Being recognized as a Christian by our conversation and behavior and then doing just enough to get by is an insult and embarrassment to the cause of Christ.

Not only that. . .laziness and slacking off brings its own reward.

A lazy person’s wealth will always be a dream, never reality.

Proverbs 13:4 in the New Living Translation says:

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”

Notice the scriptures we just read said ‘hard work’ not just showing up to work.

On the other side … being a workaholic. . .is also not what God intends for His children.

Workaholics are people who don’t have their lives in balance. . .people who have allowed their passionate pursuits to cloud their good judgment and godly wisdom.

Psalm 127:2 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.”

I can easily write about this subject because I’ve been there. I’m a reformed workaholic. And just for the record, not all workaholics work only for the money.  

For some, it’s promotion, recognition, and a sense of accomplishment. However, being a workaholic could also be the result of a failure to properly plan or a basic lack of organizational skills.

Whatever the reason or cause . . .I can tell you from personal experience . . . the result is not good.

Take my word for it. . .this can happen even when you’re working for the Kingdom of God . . . even though your intent is noble and righteous ‘sounding.

Extremes need to be avoided.

What kind of worker does God want us to be? The answer is found in I Corinthians 15:58 in the Amplified Bible which says:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].”

2.     Study hard. [Knowledge enables a man to work more intelligently and effectively.]

1 Thessalonians 4:11 says:

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

First, I was taken by the phrase “study to be quiet.” So I asked the Lord how you would “study to be quiet.”

I looked up “study” in The ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament. . .and it’s more properly translated as aspire to a goal.

That’s why the Amplified Bible translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says “make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to be quiet.”

In essence, our goal. . .our ambition should be to live a “quiet life.” Now, less you think that the Word is telling us to become monks. . .consider that the word “quiet” also means “rest.”

One of our primary goals or ambitions should be to rest before Him. That is not just physical rest but also an awareness to His presence so we do not miss it when He speaks to our hearts.

It should be our ambition to lead the kind of life where we’re able to focus on Him and define our lives in relation to Him. It’s a matter of what we have made our personal priorities.

One of the things that I have to fight . . . in fact, it is one of the things that I jealously guard . . . is my time with the Lord.

There are mornings where I feel the press of impending tasks that need to be completed. The enemy would like for me to delay my Daily Bible Reading and time with the Lord. . .because he knows that meditation time deferred is rarely, if ever, made up once the day is started.

Truthfully, 1 Thessalonians 4:11contains real insight as to how every believer should live their lives.

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

This verse is saying that during our rest, our quiet time, we should only be concerned but doing the things that God has commanded us to do.

Here are five things that 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 is telling us to do:

# 1   Study. . .make it our personal ambition

#2    Be quiet. . .restful. . .free from outside distractions

#3    Mind our own business. . .be accountable for our own life

#4    Work with our hands. . . be productive. . .back in the day, it was an agrarian society and most all of their work was done by hands. Today we work with our hands but it is often on a computer.

#5    Follow God’s instructions

The next verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:12 which says:

“That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

Personalize this verse.

“That <Name> may walk honestly toward them that are without, and <Name> may have lack of nothing.”

3.     Have initiative. [Ruts often deepen into graves.]

In my mid-twenties, after re-dedicating my life to the Lord. . .I was sitting in the office of the President of a Christian College inquiring about taking some classes on religion. Instead, he wanted me to become his Director of Development, which I did.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the one thing in his office that grabbed my attention was a cross-stitched plaque he had hanging in his office which said:

“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told to do it.”

Last month, we taught “Seven Ways To Take Initiative” on February 18th and 19th. If you didn’t hear the teaching we encourage you to go to haroldherring.com and listen to the podcasts.

What does initiative mean to you?

According to the Random House Word Dictionary initiative is defined as:

“an introductory act or step; leading action; readiness and ability in initiating action”

A person with initiative is actively thinking and alert to the Lord all the time.

A person with initiative is ready to make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen.

A person with initiative refuses to live within their comfort zone.

A person with initiative is the one who will get the bonus, the promotion and/or the recognition when they are not even looking for it.

A person with initiative will soon be making the decisions instead of following them.

What does the Word of God say about initiative?

Matthew 7:12 in the Message Bible says:

"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”

If you always do what somebody else does. . .all you’ll ever be is second best.

Why be second best when God made you an original?

4.     Love your work. [Then you will find pleasure in mastering it.]

David Frost, the television personality, once said:

“Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”

Ecclesiastes 3:22 in the Contemporary English Version says:

We were meant to enjoy our work, and that's the best thing we can do. We can never know the future.”

If you hate your job. . .it will show in your work ethics and your facial expressions. However, if you love your job. . .it will also show in your expressions and your work ethics.

Al Lopez, the Hall of Fame baseball player and manager, once said:

“Do what you love to do and give it your best. . .If you don't love what you're doing and you can't give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You'll be an old man before you know it.”

He should know…Lopez lived to be 97.

I love what God has called me to do. I’m thrilled beyond words that He called me as a financial deliverer for the Body of Christ.

My body may get weary and my mind may slow down but my spirit still thrills for the adventure of setting the captives free.

Someone once said:

“If you love what you do, if you’re passionate about it, if you’re called to do it, then it’s doesn’t seem like work.”

Wait, that was me. I just wrote that.

My wife likes to say it this way … doing what you love means you never have to work a day in your life.

5.     Be exact. [Slipshod methods bring slipshod results.]

Genesis 27:8 in the New Living Translation says:

“Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you.”

Exodus 25:9 in the New Living Translation says:

“You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.”

Anything less than excellence. . .is not God’s best for you. It’s better to strive for excellence and fall short than not put forth all your effort to achieve it.

6.     Have the spirit of conquest. [Thus you can successfully battle and overcome difficulties.]

You will never win a battle that you’re afraid to fight.

Isaiah 41:10 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”

Your enemy may be as strong as Goliath. . .cunning as Deliah . . . and deceptive as the devil. . . BUT GOD.

That’s right, your God. . .your Heavenly Father. . .the Master of the Universe is on your side. He’s not only holding you up with His victorious right hand. . .He has made you more than a conqueror.

Romans 8:37 in the King James Bible says:

“Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.”

Before I define what you are …a conqueror … notice the scripture says “Yet amid all these things … “You may be looking at ‘some things’ … but don’t let that take your focus off what God says He plans to take you through the Word.

Looking up conqueror in the Strong’s Concordance, it’s the Greek word hypernikaƍ (G5245) and it means:

“to be more than a conqueror, to gain a surpassing victory.”

I noticed that conqueror comes from the root word nikaƍ (G3528) which is translated 24 out of 28 times as overcome. So it became obvious to me that in order to become a Kingdom Conqueror you must first be a World Overcomer.

Several years ago, I wrote “7 Steps To Become A Kingdom Conqueror and World Overcomer.” I encourage you to go to haroldherring.com search for “kingdom conqueror” and read the teaching it will empower your confidence in who you are in Him.

7.     Cultivate personality. [Personality is to a man what perfume is to a flower.]

Everybody has a personality. . .some good. . .some not so good.

What defines the type of personality you have? One of the answers is found in Proverbs 20:27 in the Classic Amplified Bible which says:

“The spirit of man [that factor in human personality which proceeds immediately from God] is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.”

As it says in Genesis 1:26 we were made in God’s image and after His likeness so we should work to cultivate His personality too.

How do we accomplish that? By thinking like He thinks.

Philippians 2:5 in the Contemporary English Version says:

“And think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.”

How do we think like He thinks?   Seven words.

Read your Bible. . .do what it says.

Ephesians 3:16 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].”

8.     Help and share with others. [The real test of business greatness lies in giving opportunities to others.]

Hebrews 13:16 in the Message Bible says:

“Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of "sacrifice"—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”

When most people read this verse. . .they take the phrase “share what you have with others” to mean giving and contributing money to their general welfare.

While that’s true. . .I believe there’s more to the verse.

Maimonides, a Medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, once said:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“Share what you have with others” also means to mentor them. . .teach them what you know. . .give them the benefit of your accrued wisdom.

As we help others become more self-confident in the Word and in their abilities they will be able to catch their own fish. . .and, in turn, help others do the same.

Ephesians 6:8 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Knowing that for whatever good anyone does, he will receive his reward from the Lord, whether he is slave or free.”

When we become better at what we do, we build a confidence in ourselves and with our peers then we generate an aura. . .an aura of a successful winner in life.

9.     Be democratic. [Unless you feel right toward your fellow men, you can never be a successful leader of men.]

Galatians 6:10 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God's family with you, the believers].”

One of these qualities is to give people the benefit of the doubt.

There have been numerous times where I gave someone a second, third, fourth or more chance to change their direction. . .to assume their God-given mantle as a leader.

Many times I’ve been disappointed because they didn’t grab hold of what I was trying to show them.

There have been times when I wanted to give up on them. . .throw in the towel BUT GOD would remind me in no uncertain terms that He didn’t, hasn’t and never will give up on me.

We need to keep our focus on God. . .no matter what’s going on around us. And, always remember, He loves us enough to never give up on us.

Luke 6:31 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.”

10.   In all things do your best. [The man who has done his best has done everything.   The man who has done less than his best has done nothing.]

Proverbs 21:31 in the Message Bible says:

“Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust God to bring victory.”

Colossians 3:22 in the Message Bible says:

“Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.”

Perhaps Charles Schwab’s most famous quotation was:

“A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things as in a vision, a dream of the whole thing."

I like the way the Word says it in Romans 4:17. . .where God gives us the ability to “. . .create new things out of nothing.”

The interesting thing about commandments whether the ten that Moses brought down from the mountain in the book of Exodus or the ones penned by Charles Schwab well over 100 years ago . . .if you don’t obey them. . .you’re not going to find the success you seek.

According to Wikipedia.com, “Charles Schwab even before the Great Depression had already spent most of his fortune estimated at between $25 million and $40 million. Adjusted for inflation, that equates to between $600 million and $900 million in the second decade of the 21st century.”

Wikipedia went on to say that “Charles Schwab himself died bankrupt, living on borrowed money for five years before his death.”

One last thing. . .success without God is temporary and fleeting even if you created a successful business empire and wrote the 10 Commandments of Success.