Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
We are born with an innate desire to succeed. As children, we grow up believing that we will change the world. As adults, we hope that our lives we will make a meaningful impact. What then is success?
Going by current trends success means having a lot of money, many followers on social media, being in a powerful position and the like. Here in Kenya and Africa at large this obsession with money has led to a greed culture where it doesn’t matter how wealth is attained at the end of the day it is how much money a person has that matters. The end justifies the means.
Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–
We plague children with questions about who they want to be when they grow up. Ourselves, as children we were questioned and made to believe that our success lay in the careers we chose, that we would only attain success once we were in those careers and only in the future. To God, a child who honours their mother and father is successful. In the world however, this child has to attain the best grades, go to the best schools, pick the most paying career and finally clinch a very “well paying” job. It doesn’t matter whether they copied during their exams or whether they paid someone else to do their exams for them or even that they bribed their way into that job.
Genesis 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.
Joseph did not attain success when he was made second in command to Pharaoh. He had already been successful as a slave, he had been successful in prison and he continued to be successful as a governor. His success was not in his title but in his person. David didn’t become successful when he became the king of Israel, he had already been successful. He had faithfully and diligently tendered his flock, he had refused to kill Saul and usurp Saul’s authority which would have accelerated his accession to kingship.
Our success is not in one event, one job, a business or a relationship. Our success is not in the future. Our success is not in the titles or the positions we hold. Where we are right now, we can be successful, we are supposed to be successful. You can be a successful student, you can be a successful casual labourer, you can be a successful teacher. Our success has nothing to do with money but everything to do with the posture of our hearts.
Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
We must decide whether we want the world’s applause or the Lord’s “Good and faithful servant.” The world’s way means conforming to its patterns. But if we choose the Lord’s way then our goal in life cannot be amassing wealth. Indeed the Bible even says that we could be rich here on earth but poor when we go to heaven. What a tragedy! Our greatest goal in life should be to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord, that is our calling as believers.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
We ought to focus our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. What we see is a reality, what we don’t see is an even greater reality. We have an audience, a great cloud witnesses that is constantly watching us. This has to be the reality that we live by. We do not want to merely escape into heaven with our lives, if God willed it so, then we would die immediately we get saved. This is not the case. We are in a race and I don’t know about you, but myself I want a prize!
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I want to encourage the believer who feels like they are lagging behind. Let’s be honest, what are the chances that you and I will be listed in Forbes as successful people? But thank God we come from a different kingdom, we all have a chance of success. You have the opportunity to be successful in the place where you are. You don’t have to wait for the future to be successful. We don’t know about tomorrow, we are not even guaranteed the next minute. But we have this very minute we are in and we can glorify God with it. Where God has placed you serve Him diligently and with integrity. Lay aside every sin that so easily entangles. Renew your mind and walk in obedience to His word, that is success!