What is your definition of success?
I have noticed over time that when forward thinking people gather or meet, discussions usually boil down to issues about ‘how to make it’ in whatever fields or interests they happen to be involved in or aspire to be involved in. Everyone wants to be a success. Curiously though, I find that most discussions treat the issue of success as an end and not a means to an end.
I try to answer two questions in my mind when I am listening to these discussions or conversions about success or ‘how to make it’. What is success to the person speaking? In other words what are the indicators the person uses to identify success? Why do they want that success?
The first question (the what question) is easily answered once I hear a person speaking. The second question (the why or what for question) is not that easily answered. This is because a lot of people do not think that far and so the answer to this question does not immediately feature in discussions. Their motivations for success do not always stretch to include anything bigger or outside of themselves. Some pretend that their motivations are noble and bigger than just satisfying themselves. Their communication however belies that assertion. This is even common and prevalent in Christendom. The desire to make it is great. The desire to be rich, to be famous, to be recognised and respected, is prevalent. Most want these things for their own sake so once they find these things that is where their success story ends. That is where their testimony ends. The rest is to settle back and enjoy.
We even have the effrontery sometimes to believe that as long as we are trying our best, God owes us these ‘symbols’ of success. You can see this attitude in the prayers we pray and the declarations we make. Our prayers are almost never about social justice, or about promoting the cause of the oppressed or alleviating the suffering of vulnerable ones or about seeking and finding the lost. Our prayers are often about what we will eat, wear, live in, ride in, or be called by. These are important and God knows you need them. He however wants you to lift your eyes up from yourself. Look at him and at others. Look to meeting their needs.
‘I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread’. (Psalm 37:25 KJV).
‘And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.’ (Luke 12:15 KJV).
Becoming rich, famous, respected etc are ‘definitely will happen’ by- products in the life of a man or a woman whose primary focus is on a goal other than his / her own welfare. If you are driven by meeting a need outside of yourself, then by divine orchestration the resources to do so will find you.
True success therefore is measured by your ability to continue to meet that need which is outside of your own needs and not just by the resources that come to you personally along the way. The minute your eyes go off the job and becomes focused on the by – products as an end in themselves, your story and your testimony has ended. Trully successful people see the resources as a means to an end and not indicators in themselves of their success. Their success story therefore never ends. It is embedded in a purpose bigger than themselves and therefore God continues to supports their cause.
A trully successful person is a labouring man whose sleep is sweet with no cares about maintaining his status, riches etc. His focus is on his labour for the good of others. When you stop labouring because you are full, your story ends. When you carry on labouring because others are still empty, you become a channel of provision. You never become full and your resources also dont stop coming in.
‘The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep’. (Ecclesiastes 5:12 KJV).
‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’. (Matthew 6:33 KJV).
Some equate doing righteous acts to seeking the kingdom of God. They make sure they pay their tithes, give to good causes, attend church as much as they can etc. They try their best thinking that by doing so, their provision will be ensured. Trying your best is not good enough because you end up just doing anything and everything you can find to do, so your box can be ticked that you are contributing what will meet God’s approval. there is a particular thing or a main thing to which you should apply yourself.
Your purpose is uniqie to you, and when you find it, you are continuosly energised by it so you do not get tired of doing good. To find your purpose, your link to never ending success, you need to be a seeker. It’s a quest, an unquenchable hunger, a drive, a strong desire to see God’s reign established on earth, and people set free. This demands a singular FOCUS on a vision bigger than yourself to which you can give your very life. Jesus puts it this way;
‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matthew 6:19-23 KJV).
I pray that you will have a never – ending story of success and not just a success story.