Last week I told you about the nice-guy prisoner who had a lot going for him but ended up in prison because he did “stupid stuff.” For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “Rick.” When Rick and I met in my office, he told me that after graduating from high school, he attended a trade school and became certified in a well-known trade. He was later hired by a company that paid him $24 per hour to work at his chosen trade.
When I asked Rick where he was currently working, he said that he was working for a local company and was being paid $11 per hour. The job he was hired to perform was not related to his trade. When I asked him why he wasn’t working for a company where he could get paid more for performing his trade, he said, “I like the job I have now because there’s not a lot of pressure. I’m able to get through the day without any problems, get off work, and then go about my business. I like it that way.”
I’ve written before about how everybody is born with a primary fault that they struggle with throughout their life. It didn’t take me very long to realize that Rick’s primary fault is laziness.
People who are inclined toward laziness are experts at avoiding responsibility. They’re also experts at making excuses for not getting their work done. They constantly avoid making commitments because commitments always involve work and responsibility.
Early in my career, I read The Ultimate Success Secret, a book that was written by Dan Kennedy, a business strategist and marketing expert. After I read the book, I hired Kennedy to assist me with marketing my law firm. He subsequently became a business mentor of mine.
In his book, Kennedy made the point that while everyone desires more control over their lives, most people fail to realize one critical thing about control: If you wish to exercise more control over your life, you have to be willing to commit to and accept more responsibility. Kennedy’s simple formula for success is
Control = Responsibility — Responsibility = Control.
To take Kennedy’s success formula one step further, it is my contention that success requires a willingness to sacrifice. One definition of “sacrifice” is “the act of giving up something that you want to keep, especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.”
My own definition of “sacrifice” is “the willingness to endure pain and suffering in order to get or do something else or to help someone.”
If you want to be successful in anything — acquiring wealth, enhancing relationships, spiritual growth — you must be willing to repeatedly endure pain and suffering.
Most people blame their lack of success on external factors. They refuse to acknowledge that they are simply not willing to sacrifice and tolerate the pain and suffering that is necessary to achieve long-term success.
Businessmen become millionaires because they are willing to consistently embrace the pain and suffering that is required to make and keep commitments and to take on additional responsibility. They’re in their office working long hours while the less successful among them insist on setting aside excessive leisure time to watch Netflix, browse the Internet, play video games, and engage in extracurricular activities.
The Catholics who have been elevated to sainthood by the Catholic Church got there because of their willingness to sacrifice and endure the pain and suffering associated with a lifetime of rigorous adherence to daily prayer and the repeated performance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Now that it’s September, as I do every year at this time, I’m wondering what happened to the summer. I know the answer. I spent the summer in my office (except for Sundays) grinding away (sacrificing) to keep my business going. I also dedicated time every day to Mass, prayer, and time with our Lord in the Adoration Chapel. And I carved out time each week to write my Adoration Letter article. I’m not telling you this to complain. I’m simply attempting to explain the key to success that most people don’t want to hear or practice — sacrifice.
Today, in the United States and the other Christian countries in the world, most Christians want Christ without the cross. While they claim to be followers of Christ, they are not willing to take up the cross He has prepared for them. In other words, they are not willing to sacrifice. They don’t want to accept the fact that in order to be a true follower of Christ, they must be willing to voluntarily endure the pain and suffering that Christ requires of His followers.
In the non-Christian areas of the world, we see the cross without Christ. Currently in the Middle East, the terrorist organization ISIS demands that entire populations submit to its demands. Those who refuse to comply with its demands are raped, tortured, beheaded, or crucified. In addition to ISIS, there are tyrannical governments that demand extreme sacrifice from their citizens without allowing for the hope, mercy, and redemption that are promised by Christ.
When you have the cross without Christ, you end up with the extreme pain and suffering that results from violence, hatred, hopelessness, and tyranny. When you have Christ without the cross, you end up with juvenile delinquency, selfishness, decay, and social upheaval.
Last week I told you about my experience with my manipulative relative Burt, who tried to shake me down for money. In the past, he claimed to be a Christian, but throughout his entire life he has refused to sacrifice, keep his commitments, and accept responsibility for his actions.
I don’t know whether my prisoner-client Rick claims to be a Christian, but instead of sacrifice, he has chosen the path of laziness and irresponsibility. And he has paid — and continues to pay — a heavy price for his unwillingness to endure the pain and suffering associated with sacrifice.
When you commit to follow Christ and carry the cross He has prepared for you, you have to be willing to sacrifice. What are the benefits of doing this? You ultimately end up with peace, love, hope, and happiness. It’s too bad most of the people in the world don’t know this.