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Coca-Cola

In 1997, one of the finest business leaders in the world died. His name was Roberto Goizueta, and he was the chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company. A few months before he died, he said, “A billion hours ago, human life appeared on Earth. A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged. A billion seconds ago, the Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. A billion Coca-Colas ago . . . was yesterday morning.

He told the Atlanta newspaper he had no plans for retirement. Six weeks later, he was dead. And so was Coca-Cola. Or was it?

Normally, when the CEO suddenly goes away, the company goes in the tank. But not so with Coke. Goizueta had grown Coke from a $4 billion company to a $150 billion company. But he did something more important than that. He groomed Douglas Ivester to take his place, if and when the need would arise. Goizueta taught Ivester everything he knew, just in case. And “in case” happened. It always does.

You see, the key to your success in any venture is not what you do, but what you prepare others to do. Paul mastered this concept, and he told Titus to do the same. He understood the importance of finding good men and training them to lead the next generation.

 

Seven Keys to Wisdom

The Bible has a great passage about wisdom. It’s found in 1 Chronicles 28:9-10.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”

Within this passage, we find seven keys to the wisdom of Solomon.

1. Acknowledge God. This means acknowledging that God is real. He loves us and wants us to succeed. Acknowledging God also means realizing that we depend only on him.

2. Serve him wholeheartedly. if we don’t take action, our acknowledgment becomes empty. God deserves our full obedience through diligent service. We serve God by serving others.

3. Keep motives pure. If we serve only for what we get out of it, we’re really not serving. We’re being selfish. Instead, we should be sure that people benefit from our service by being drawn closer to God.

4. Be faithful. Regardless of results, circumstances or progress, if we’re faithful in our walk with God, our efforts will never be in vain. We see from the stories of David’s life that God blesses faithfulness, despite our faults and failures.

5. Realize that God chose us. We’re not accidentally a part of God’s plan. He chose us to serve him. He has a specific purpose for each of us to fulfill.

6. Be strong. God goes beyond choosing us. He also equips and energizes us to do whatever he sets before us.

7. Do the work. Knowing these keys, it’s time to get to work. When God calls and we get moving, he’ll be able to accomplish incredible feats through us!

Alice Chapin said, “How could I possibly be the apple of God’s eye when my behavior is not yet perfect? Because green apples are apples, too! One day I shall be a mature September apple, perfectly formed. But for now, I am still growing.”

The Mazeroski Home Run

The 1960 World Series was significant in many ways. For example, it was the only year in which the World Series Most Valuable Player came from the losing team – Bobby Richardson, of the New York Yankees. But the series is best known for the greatest home run in baseball history.

The date was October 13, 1960. The place was Forbes Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates were tied, 9-9. It was the bottom of the 9th inning. The Pirates were at bat. The pitcher was Ralph Terry. And the hitter was Bill Mazeroski.

Mazeroski was not a power hitter. In his 17 Major League seasons, he hit just 138 home runs. Maz was known as a defensive player, turning more double plays than any second baseman in history, making 10 All-Star appearances in the process.

But this day would be different. The light-hitting second baseman stepped to the plate with the world watching. And then he hit a fastball 430 feet, over the head of left fielder Yogi Berra, over the 406-foot sign, and over the fence and out of the park.

As a side note, a 14-year-old boy named Andy Jerpe recovered the ball, had Mazeroski sign it for him, and then lost the ball while playing in a park six months later.

But the lesson of “the home run” is this. We are defined by single moments. Bill Mazeroski played 17 seasons, set fielding records that still stand today, and made it into baseball’s coveted Hall-of-Fame – as a defensive genius. But he is known for one swing of the bat – producing the only walk-off ninth inning, game 7 home run in World Series history.

For good or bad, people will remember you for your defining moments. Here’s the good news. No matter your past, no matter your failures, your best days are still ahead. And here’s the even better news. God gets the last at-bat.

A Great Author Was Born

If he were still alive, Roald Dahl would turn 100 years of age today. He was born in South Wales. His childhood was filled with tragedy. Roald’s father and sister died when he was three, and he was later brutally abused at his boarding school. After high school, he traveled widely, joining an expedition to Newfoundland and later working in Tanzania. In World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot.

So who is this guy – Roald Dahl?

Ever hear of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Mr. Dahl wrote the screenplay. He also wrote other children’s stories, including the best-selling Someone Like You, Kiss Kiss, and James and the Giant Peach.

Roald wrote the screenplay for another movie. While it didn’t fit his normal mantra, it made him a rich man – the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.

I’ll admit it. I never heard the name, Roald Dahl. I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of him either. But as we reflect back to his birth, 100 years ago today, I have one thought. Some of the most significant things ever done were done by men and women whose names history does not remember. God’s best plans for each of our lives is not to be known, but to be faithful.

Leaping Frogs

Think of five frogs sitting on a log. One decides to jump off. How many are left? Five. Thinking of jumping and jumping are two different things.

Lots of people “decide” to do things, but they never do them.

Finding Forrester is a great movie. Sean Connery plays the part of a legendary writer who mentors a young man who has great potential as a writer. Connery tells Forrester to begin typing. He said, “Just type what comes to mind.”

The key to success is not planning, but doing.

A construction crew was putting a drain line in a building. A power cable was directly in the path of their work. Construction stopped while an electrician was called who declared that there was no electrical power to the cable.

The foreman asked, “Are you sure the power is dead to the cable and there is no danger?”

“Absolutely,” replied the electrician.

“Well then, you cut the line.”

After a pause, the electrician said, “I’m not that sure.”

Most of us don’t take action because we aren’t that sure. But there comes a time when you need to start typing, and a time to cut the cable.

There comes a time when you need to jump off the log. As the old prophet said, “Forget the old things. Behold, I am doing a new thing.”

Mediocrity

I love the words of Isaac D’Israel. “It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.”

True, competitive excellence requires 100 percent effort all the time. People figure they are getting by when they merely get close to it. And then, excellence gets reduced to acceptable, and before long, acceptable doesn’t seem worth the sweat if you can get by with adequate. After that, mediocrity is just a breath away. Let’s consider the real consequences of mediocrity, of only getting it right most of the time.

Natalie Gabal has done the research. If 99.9 percent was considered acceptable, in one year the IRS would lose two million documents and 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents in hospitals each day. Two hundred ninety-one pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly, 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written, and 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes would be shipped.

I used to have a man in my church would point out every tiny mistake in the worship guide or PowerPoint on Sundays. You know what I would tell him? “Thanks!”

God wants our best. Mediocrity is not an option. Can we achieve perfection in this life? Of course not! But we can achieve excellence.

The Wisdom of a Rabbi

A troubled man went to see a wise Rabbi. “Rabbi,” he said, wringing his hands, “I am a failure. More than half the time I do not succeed in doing what I must do.”

“Oh?” said the Rabbi.

“Please say something wise, Rabbi.”

After much pondering, the Rabbi spoke as follows: “Ah, my son, I give you this wisdom. Go and look on page 930 of the New York Times Almanac for the year 1970, and you will find the peace you are looking for.”

This is what the man found on page 930. It was a story about Ty Cobb, arguably the greatest hitter in the history of baseball, with a career batting average of .367. The story emphasized that, though Cobb had the highest career batting average of any player in history, he made an out nearly two-thirds of the time.

The man returned to the Rabbi, filled with wisdom and thanksgiving. “Thank you, Rabbi,” he said. “I see your point. Though I don’t always succeed, I succeed some of the time. I will take that to heart, and rejoice in my successes, rather than dwelling on my failures.”

The next time you step into the batter’s box and take a swing at life, remember Ty Cobb. And remember the wisdom of the Rabbi.

The Power of One Man

Why don’t you do more?

“I’m just one person,” you say.

To that, I quote the old Hebrew word. “Bologna.” One person can do a lot! Let’s consider an example. One man invented the bifocals most of you are using to read this print right now. He did it at the age of 79. The same fellow was the first to harness the electricity needed for you to turn on your coffee pot this morning. He founded an Ivy League school and fathered the U.S. Mail.

And he found time to invent the lightening rod and designed the heating stove. This fellow spoke and wrote in five languages, despite just two years of formal education.

Who was this man? Most of your guessed it – Ben Franklin. One might call him a bit of an over-achiever. Do you know people like that?

Mark Twain said, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

At the risk of annoying you with the example of Mr. Franklin, I challenge you to look into your own life. You are just one person. Correction – you are one person. (Leave out the word “just.”)

But did you know the Bible says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”? Don’t trust me . . . ask Ben.

How to Win Carnival Games

Ethan Trex has done the world a great favor. He has studied carnival games and devised a winning strategy. Follow these simple tips and you can be the king of carnivals, a prince to preschoolers. Let’s start with the “Balloon Dart Throw.” The scam is that the darts are dull and much lighter than normal darts. And the balloons are under inflated, which makes them harder to pop. The strategy is to not hurl the darts hard, but to loft them up, so they can come down onto their target with the assistance of gravity.

Ever tried the “Basketball Shoot”? The rims are smaller than regulation and oval-shaped. The backboards have a harder bounce, the balls are overinflated, and the rims are higher. The trick is to toss the ball underhanded; it’s all about getting a good arc on the ball.

Then there’s the “Milk Bottle Pyramid.” The bottoms are heavier. So if you aim for the middle, you’ll never win. You must go low!

Now let’s talk about the “Game of Life.” The scam is that it looks like you can win by your own strength. The trick is to recognize you can’t win unless you depend totally on God. God said, back in the first book of the Bible, “I will go with you to Egypt, and I will bring you up again.”

All in a Day

September 29. It’s just one day. But it is a day that will soon be gone. So make the most of today that you can. Today is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.

A lot can happen in a day – this day. Let me illustrate.

September 29, 1399

King Richard II became the first English monarch to abdicate his throne.

September 29. 1829

The Metropolitan Police of London, later known simply as the Met, was founded.

September 29, 1951

The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States was broadcast by NBC. The event was a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh.

September 29, 1954

The convention that established the European Organization for Nuclear Research was signed. It would be known as CERN.

September 29, 1984

The Chicago Tylenol murders began when the first of seven individuals died in metropolitan Chicago.

September 29, 2017

This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it!