Success at ALL Costs

by | Jun 2, 1999 | Priorities, Success

The story is told of a man named Yussif, the Terrible Turk. Yussif was a 350-pound wrestling champion in Europe a couple of generations ago. After he won the European championship, he sailed to America to wrestle our champ, whose name was Strangler Lewis — a little guy by comparison who weighed just a shade over 200 pounds.

Although he wasn’t very big, Strangler had a simple plan for defeating his opponents and it had never failed to work. He’s put his massive arm around the neck of his opponent and cut off the oxygen. Many an opponent had passed out in the ring with Strangler Lewis.

The problem when he fought Yussif the Turk was that Yussif didn’t have a neck. His body went from his head to his massive shoulders. Lewis could never get his hold and it wasn’t long that the Turk flipped Lewis to the mat and pinned him. After winning the championship, the Turk demanded all five thousand dollars in gold. After he wrapped the championship belt around his vast waist, he stuffed the gold into the belt and boarded the next ship back to Europe. He was a success! He had captured America’s glory and her gold!

He set sail on the SS Bourgogne. Halfway across the Atlantic, a storm struck and the ship began to sink. Yussif went over the side with his gold still strapped around his body. The added weight was too much for the Turk and he sank like an anvil before they could get him into a lifeboat. He was never seen again.

Maybe you think, “What a fool! He should have had a lot more sense than that!” But, the truth of the matter is, we all tend to grasp the things of this world and hold onto them even while we’re sinking.

Solomon made this observation: “Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun: There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, ‘For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?’ This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.” (Ecclesiastes 4:8)

Solomon describes a man, like so many today, who doesn’t know how to quit. He can’t slow down. He’s driven to succeed, to achieve, to accumulate. He works harder and harder to become that successful person he so wants to be. And never once does he pause long enough to ask the question, “Who am I doing this for? Why do I feel compelled to run faster and faster in the rat race?”

Success promises a view from the top. But, without God in the picture, success will drag you down just as it did for Yussif, the Terrible Turk.

“Better is a handful of quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith


Success at ALL Costs