This world defines success in a number of ways, but these all seem to center around accomplishments, achievements, power, clout, and other outward gains. All too often these same ideas form the basis of what we think of as “successful” in the church as well. We can be overcome by the pressure to move up the rungs of the leadership ladder, desiring more recognition for our service, wanting more atendees than that other church down the road, or a bigger paycheck at the end of each month. Truly it is difficult to keep clear of what our culture deems necessary for success.
We who are in Christ have a different definition of success laid before us. The Gospel shows us this in our Savior, Jesus. He was a homeless man, who was hated by the religious leaders of His day, was falsely accused of many crimes (chiefly blasphemy), and died a criminal’s death. This is NOT exactly what we think of when we think of a successful person. No employer would pick this man to be the next president of their company. Yet Christ accomplished His Father’s will on earth. He did what He came to do- what He was born to do! He finished His work on earth completely, leaving nothing undone or unfulfilled which was spoken of Him through the prophets.
In light of this reality, we must decide how we will define success. Will we define it the way the world does or think of success as we see it in Christ and His Kingdom? Will success become for us something we can measure on paper or with temporary pleasures, or will we embrace a view of success in which the chief aim is obeying God regardless of the outcome? This approach to success may bring us ridicule and may not be glamorous, but if we are being obedient to our King it is worth it.
I would rather be successful and faithful in the eyes of my God, than successful and having all the money and acolades this world can offer.
In the words of an old hymn:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace”