Success is always a measurement.
It is not always as simple as the winning team scoring more points than the losing team. In the movie Rocky, the hero is a tremendous success even though he lost the boxing match. How can that be? Because we are skillfully led to understand his life and dreams, we judge Rocky to be a success, and more than that, an inspiration.
Success breeds success, so the saying goes, and there is truth here. We don’t like to fail. We don’t study the lives of failures unless they ultimately succeed. We read books and attend seminars to learn how others have succeeded because we desire success.
Success and Jesus
It is all well and good, but it is not really that simple. For the Christ-follower success is measured in more ways than in the world’s judgment. We forget this sometimes and become enamored with Christian leaders or artists or athletes who become famous. It is natural for us to assume that money, fame, and excellence are surefire indications of success. They are not, though, and we have to face it. Our success begins and ends with the Lord Jesus.
The measurement we make is in our heart of hearts.
- “Did we find the Lord’s plan?”
- “Did we operate by His principles?”
- “Did our work please Him?”
Our success is not measured in numbers or in profit; these are judgments of our effectiveness. The measure of our success is our faithfulness to God.
- Are we working at what He wants us to do?
- Are we working in the place He wants with the people He wants?
- Are we building upon the work of those who have gone before us?
- Are we doing our absolute best to accomplish the job?
- Do we cherish the people and respect the things God has provided for the work?
- Are we loyal to those over us and respectful of those we lead?
- Can the church count on us in the commitments we have made?
To be faithful is to succeed.
If we can answer yes to all of these questions, we have succeeded. If the numbers do not show increase, we will keep going. We will not give up because we are trusting God for the increase—that’s His job! Our job is to be faithful.
The Bible talks about three kinds of ministry:
- Sowing the seed,
- Watering the seed and the seedling, and
- Reaping the harvest.
The one who sows the seed is successful when the sowing is done. The one who waters the seed and tends the plant is successful when the plant bears fruit. The one reaps the harvest succeeds when the storehouse is full. Each one has succeeded because he did what God asked him to do.
Because God is a Covenant Keeper, our success is guaranteed! To feel the joy of our success, we have to measure our work by the proper standard. Our story, too, will be an inspiration.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 John 3:21
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
1 Corinthians 3:6-9
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 4:2-3
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
2 Corinthians 9:10-11
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Lord Jesus, I want to succeed in this life, therefore, I want to be used by You to the fullest extent. You created me and placed me in these circumstances for specific purposes. Sometimes my assignment is one of sowing the precious seed. At other times You ask me to water the seeds others have sown. In the best of times I get to be a harvester, bringing in my sheaves with rejoicing. Help me to sow good seed and to sow it in tears. Help be faithful even when weariness would tempt me to ease up a bit. I know success will be mine. You told me that You have chosen me to bear much fruit and that it will be fruit that abides. Now, by faith in Your promises and with confidence in Your faithfulness, I will succeed today, or if there is some delay, tomorrow! In Your Name, Lord Jesus!
To Be Used of God
Words and Music: Audrey Mieir
1. I’ve a yearning in my heart That cannot be denied.
It’s a longing that has Never yet been satisfied.
I want the world to know The One who loves them so
Like a flame it’s burning deep inside.
To be used of God, To sing to speak to pray,
To be used of God, To show someone the way,
Oh how I long so much to feel The touch of His consuming fire,
To be used of God is my desire
2. When I think about the shortness Of my earthly years,
I remember all the wasted days The wasted tears.
I long to preach the Word To those who’ve never heard
Of the One who can dispel all fears.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved