What is success? This query on Google brings up 949 million hits in just 1/2 second! Pretty popular subject! “How to be successful” 932 million
The World is very preoccupied with success. But how is it measured?
Is it having 1 million views on the video you posted on YouTube? Is the neighborhood and house you live in? The car you drive? Is it the amount of money you have in the bank or investments? Is it finally finishing that car restoration project? Earning a college degree? How about raising respectful, God-loving children? Remaining faithful to your wife?
We can say that there are less life-impacting successes (Finally solved the Rubik’s cube!) and there are definitely those life-changing successes that praise God for (like my daughter’s major back surgery last year, which was a success! Praise God!)
So, what do we do with this culture we are surrounded by which constantly appeals to our sense of wanting to be “successful?”
Have you ever felt the pressure of not “arriving” yet? Or, perhaps you are not in the career that could be paying you the most? “What if I was meant to be in Marketing instead of working for UPS?”
Let’s be real, that kind of pressure can be debilitating—if we let it.
There is nothing wrong with having a drive to excel, to do well. As a mater of fact, we are taught in Scripture that we are to do all things with excellence…unto the LORD! That’s they key! What is behind your drive to succeed?
King Solomon was the most successful man in recorded history and we should learn from him. Solomon taught that if a person’s desires and motives are focused on this present life on earth (which is under the sun), then he will have indeed wasted his life—it was all vanity.
Ecc. 1:14-15 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
Vanity, from the Hebrew hebel, basically means “emptiness.” Everything done for this world, will pass away with this world.
God’s Word can keep us grounded, and striving for success that really matters—above the sun…meaning for all of eternity. Notice what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
The person who is full and has all of their needs met (They are successful in this world’s eyes) despises, loathes, the very source that made him full! The warning here is those that seek to be rich and to have all their needs and wants met, are most likely to forget (meaning no longer rely upon) God — Who provided for them!
We see this further supported in Hosea 13:6, God referring to His people…“According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”
And in Proverbs 30:8-9 “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me food convenient for me: Lest I be FULL, and DENY thee, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
GOD HONORING SUCCESS
Now notice what King David, Solomon’s father, teaches about TRUE success:
Psalm 4:7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, More than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. Gladness from the LORD—joy, is worth much more than great riches! (emphasis mine)
The majority of people in Biblical times made their living by farming their land. If your crops and wine “increased” that meant you had an abundant harvest which equated to riches! No doubt, you would rejoice over such a bountiful harvest, and God’s Word teaches us that the gladness in our hearts that only comes from God is so much better than all those riches!
Going back to Solomon to take this subject home…
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” Ecc 12:13-14
Whatever you set your hand to do, do it heartily, as unto the LORD– that is great success!