“You're fired!” Those are hardly the words that come to mind when you think about success. However, you might be surprised to find out how many of the world's most successful people found success by walking through the door of adversity.
Take Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus. Back in 1978, they were both working for a do-it-yourself hardware store called HANDY DAN, until the day they were both told, “You're fired!” Instead of seeing adversity as a curse, they took it as a blessing and decided they’d just start their own do-it-yourself store.
So, in the summer of 1979, they opened their first store in Atlanta. They were so successful they opened a number of additional stores over the next 20 years until they had over 775 stores, almost 200,000 employees and annual sales were approaching (are you ready for this?) $40 billion! Arthur retired from the company in 2001. Today, they have over 2,200 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico; have over 400,000 employees, over $66 billion in assets and an annual revenue of more than $110 billion. The name of their little do-it-yourself hardware store? HOME DEPOT.
That’s a phenomenal story. But it gets even better. Arthur Blank, one of the two guys told by HANDY DAN back in 1978, “You're fired!” made headlines all over the world when it was announced he bought the Atlanta Falcons for $545 million. In September 2004, he bought the Arena Football League franchise, The Georgia Force, and moved the team to Atlanta. He was also one of the billionaires who signed The Giving Pledge to give away at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes.
What appears now like a fairy-tale ending with everyone living happily ever after began with those two words, “You're fired!” But it wasn’t the words that propelled Arthur Blank or Bernie Marcus to become who they are today. It was their attitude.
As Christmas approaches, I have something to say to all the discouraged pastors, tired church workers, disillusioned church members, struggling single moms, burdened business people, suffering saints in hospital beds somewhere, worn out workers on the front lines fighting a virus with every ounce of energy they have left, missionaries on the mission field who lost support or can’t even make it back home, or students trying to make it through finals online since on campus classes were cancelled ... to the lonely widows and widowers who have become like prisoners in their own homes or in nursing homes, the teenagers who are looking at where the world is today and rapidly losing hope in their own future and struggling with decisions that could shape the rest of their lives ... to everyone who’ll look back on 2020 as one of the worst years of their life or to the person who’s just been told, “You're fired!” I want to say to you, “Don’t give up and for sure, don’t stay down.”
Why not? Because, if you’ll hang in there, you’re going to discover God has great plans for you. You only need to develop and maintain the right attitude and remember “the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).
“If you’ll hang in there, you’re going to discover God has great plans for you.”
The door of adversity is simply the passageway to prosperity and certain success. Paul told the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). It doesn’t matter what the devil throws in your path as long as you keep the right attitude and maintain the right perspective. You do that by keeping your eyes on the right Person: the Lord, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2).
Am I suggesting your present adversity could turn into unprecedented prosperity and success? If you keep your eyes on the Lord, follow His Word, maintain the right attitude and don’t quit ...
… YOU NEVER KNOW!
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.