"For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8).
Nordstrom's, one of the most successful retail companies in the world, hosted the top executives from J.C. Penny's at a business luncheon held in the Nordstrom corporate offices. Penny's, a company once at the forefront of commercial success, but whose profit margin had now been in steady decline for years, was in desperate need of some sound business advice.
During the lunch one of the execs from J.C. Penny asked his Nordstrom counterpart, "What is the secret of your company's success?" It was an awkward moment, to say the least; for it is not always prudent to share company secrets with your potential competitors.
Nevertheless, after a slight pause and without saying a word, the Nordstrom executive got up from the table and walked out of the room. Moments later he returned with a large, old book and placed it on the table in front of his counterpart.
"This is the secret of our success," he said. The Penney's executive was dumbfounded when he saw that the book before him was a 100-year-old copy of the Franchise Manual for J.C. Penny's!
Nordstrom was simply doing well what Penny's had once done – but somewhere along the way had stopped doing. Nordstrom had found and followed the values and guidelines that Penny's had lost.
When Joshua was divinely chosen to succeed Moses in leading the children of Israel into their Promised Land, God charged him with a single responsibility — "Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it." The charge was then followed by a powerful promise, which holds true even to this very day — "For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success."
That's the bottom line every man and woman seeks.
There is an ancient, time-tested and time-proven manual for success in life. It is the Bible, and we can advance our lives in ways that are pleasing to God and prosperous to ourselves by following the teaching of this Book — just as others have done who have gone before us.