Sermon Illustrations

Sermon Illustrations > Achievement > Success

Our Daily Bread, January 31

Temporary success may often crown the efforts of the godless, but even their greatest achievements cannot bring complete satisfaction. That was Solomon's theme when he said, "… the expectation of the wicked shall perish." If unrepentant sinners should view their most brilliant accomplishments in the light of eternity, they would find them to be as lasting and as valuable as bursting bubbles.

The 119th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn't accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: "Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, &ls;staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,' conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph. Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years, in banishment." No wonder Solomon warned of the poor prospects for anyone who strives to succeed without relying on God. - H.G.B.