What is your idea of success?
*Being offered a recording contract because you sing so beautifully?
*Winning a talent show?
*Getting your first book published?
*Promotion with a big pay rise, company car, and your own office?
*Seeing your painting up in a prestigious gallery?
*Selling the unique craft item you spent months creating?
*Getting a big profit at the auction?
*Overcoming long-term illness?
*Getting the best grades at school?
*Winning the bid for the item you’ve coveted for so long?
*Your numbers coming up in the lottery?
*Stealing someone’s girlfriend?
*Getting recognised for your talents?
*Raising 4 kids who all went to university?
*Getting someone into bed?
*Winning a BAFTA or an Oscar – several times?
*Getting knighted by the Queen so now you have letters after your name?
*Medals, awards, public acclaim?
I’m sure you are glad that for most of the above, there is nothing wrong with striving for those things.
But our idea of success is far different from God’s. And he’s no spoil-sport.
However, you don’t need to become a weather-beaten nun and pack your bags for the streets Calcutta. No. And nor do you need to sell your precious house for the slums of another world. And yes it’s okay ladies and gents to apply daily doses of face cream so you don’t have deep-set wrinkles until 95, for God didn’t create us all to become clones of Mother Theresa.
But he did create us to take our lives seriously – to take him seriously, so we will act upon his warnings of not living a life that only concentrates on the seen, on our pleasures and triumphs, and on the temporal things that have no eternal value.
Enjoy your life – it’s a God-given blessing to do so, but please friends, remember whatever you do, you will have to give an account one day of what you did with what you were given. It is wisdom that while we are living, to think maturely about death and the prospect of our souls living on forever when our earthly bodies rot away.
Ask yourselves: “Does what I consider to be my success, bring glory to God? Is it something he is proud of?” If you’re not sure, ask him so you can get the answer directly. Your life may depend on it. Every talent and gift he has given us was intended to bring him honour, not shame. May we hear his voice in whatever we put our hands to do.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with an attitude of humility, being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus – look to him as your example in selfless humility.”
“So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal, but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.” (Phillippians 2:3-5 & 2 Corinthians 4:18 Amplified Version)