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Announcements of new businesses, marriages, or churches is always exciting.  The launch of any venture is filled with optimism and enthusiasm.  A business owner believes that he/she has found a niche in the market that is going unmet and what they are offering will be welcomed by lots of people that have often wondered when “that product” would be on the shelves. A couple getting married are so in love that they know their relationship is the kind of which legends are born and movies are made.  And, when a group of people see a community that does not have a vibrant church at work there, the church planters are convinced that what they will provide in music, message, and meaningful life experiences will be met with throngs of eager people coming each week.

For those who press forward with great faith, a good work ethic, pursuit of excellence, and seek to provide the very best personal attention, their ventures will frequently succeed.  When those entrepreneurial types are interviewed about their greatest reward, it is surprising how many are quick to say they are gratified that the idea worked, and they were right in their concept.  Churches that grow and succeed most often will say that they are blessed that the people have such a servant hearted spirit of caring, giving, and serving… that is their joy.  And, marriages that last for decades will say that their reward has been and is a fulfilling relationship with their mate, children, and grandchildren.

The point is that while some would measure success by the money that was earned in a business, or the size of the flock in a church plant, or the home/cars/boats/trips/country clubs enjoyed in a marriage as the testimony of a great marriage, those are not the norm.   Interesting that in each case of success, the “tangible” things are not at the top of the equation when people speak of their success.  Rather, those things that affect the heart and soul are the richest rewards of their great investment in time, energy, and skills.   It is the satisfaction that comes when one has given their best and can enjoy the demands of the journey paying off in fulfillment of a job well done through the love shown by them and returned to them for their zeal.

One of the most grueling of all bicycle races is the Tour De France. A contestant in that event, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, describes it in a National Geographic article titled, “An Annual Madness.” The race covers about 2000 miles, including some of France’s most difficult, mountainous terrain. Eating and drinking is done on the run. And there are extremes of heat and cold. To train for the event, Lassalle rides his bicycle 22,000 miles a year. What kind of prize makes people endure so much hardship and pain! $10,000? $100,000? No. It’s just a special winner’s jersey. What then motivates the contestants? Lassalle sums it up: “Why, to sweep through the Arc de Triomphe on the last day. To be able to say you finished the Tour de France.” (Copied).

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things that you only hoped for. Epicurus. Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. Ben FranklinA heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.  Proverbs 14:30. The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  Proverbs 19:23. Solomon.