Overnight success is a misnomer, because success rarely comes in this fashion. Bill Gates is the world’s richest person, still, worth a reported $79.2 billion. It’s a list he has been on the top of for 16 years, but he didn’t magically become lucky and build up a massive fortune. He worked for it -- and experienced failure along the way. Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data, didn’t make any money. It wasn’t successful, but it did provide a learning experience that Gates and his partner Paul Allen used for their next venture. A little business called Microsoft.
Colonel Sanders didn't found KFC until he was 56 years old. His fried chicken recipe was rejected more than 1,000 times and he held a number of odd-ball jobs, from steam-engine stoker to gas-station attendant, all before his entrepreneurial journey started. The most surprising one being founding a company that manufactured acetylene lamps. The company failed, but that didn’t stop him. He believed in his chicken recipe, starting a roadside restaurant, and later saw the opportunity that franchising presented.
It might have seemed to people of Egypt that Joseph just burst onto the scene and was an overnight success. I can see the headlines of the Egyptian Chronicle now: “From The Pit To The Palace” “Rags To Riches; The Joseph Story” From those looking in on this story it seemed all too easy, but this story was anything but easy. Here's the proof from a few highlights of his history.
• Joseph dreamed his dream of his brothers bowing down to him when he was 17 years old
• Joseph was 39 when that dream finally came to pass
• To my calculation that was 22 years of no dream in sight that he had to endure
Those who thought he was an overnight success should have been there when:
• His brothers hated him for his dream and his father’s love
• He was tossed into a pit by those same brothers
• He was sold into slavery
• His master’s wife lied about his integrity
• He landed in prison because of her lies
• He stayed in prison even after helping another man go free
22 years is much less than a overnight success. But if you just look at the end of the story, you will never see what all went into making Joseph’s success come to be. Joseph had numerous opportunities to walk away from the dream. He had numerous chances to believe it was never going to come. He could have at any moment just walked away and chalked it up to a bad dream and lived in obscurity. He could have thought that God didn't love him and that is why it had all gone awry. But instead, Joseph just let the process of the dream play out and eventually was able to stand at his place of fulfillment. If you just see the moment of success, you miss what was done to bring about that long, hard fought success.
If you look around you might see a successful child of God, but what you don't see is:
• The many times it just didn't go right
• The numerous crossroads they could’ve made the wrong choice
• The sleepless nights spent in prayer
• The family members who critiqued every move they made
You might see a growing field of ministry, but what you don't see is:
• The burden that weighs heavy on their heart
• The occasions that no one else was there
• The naysayers that found fault with everything they did
You might see a blessed church that seems to have it all at their beck and call, but what you don't see is:
• The times that “two or three” gathering together was all they had
• The euphoria of a Sunday night, quickly followed by the reality of a Monday morning
• All the fasting, prayer, and evangelism that finally helped the needle move
If you just see the moment of success, you miss what was done to bring about that long, hard fought success.
Five things to consider about “overnight success”
1. Runaway success doesn't happen with God
2. Big breaks don’t just come out of nowhere.
3. Failure is almost always a stepping stone to success.
4. Success takes more than talent.
5. Success is a journey, not a destination.
But is it ever going to happen for me? Am I ever going to see it break free? Will I ever get to the place that I achieve what it is that God wants me to be? Remember, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It's not about starting that matters! It’s not whether someone knows what went into your race, or not! Don’t strive to be an overnight success! Just make sure you endure to the end, so you can be saved.
Get right, be right, stay right and be saved!