Do not fret when people succeed in their ways, the author of Psalms 37:7 tells us.
He probably saw what we see today. Christians wearing themselves out on the ladder ofsuccess, re-inventing the gospel to suit our appetites. God begins to exist for – specifically speaking – promotions, new jobs, great marriages. “Success” rather than “faithfulness” becomes the goal. “Getting ahead” quickly replaces “service.”
Yet I remember a Nazarene preacher talking about the greatest as being the “ servant of all.” (Matt 23:11)
But who wants to know these days?
And here is my early disclaimer; (because I don’t mean to decorate suffering) . Personal Success is not a bad thing, but neither does itlook like the ultimate goal of the “man of sorrows, ” (Is 53:3) we are supposed to “imitate.” (1 Cor 4:16)
Maybe a little more thumbing of these pages of scripture would help.
History’s greatest missionary Paul wasn’t what you wouldcall “successful “ in the sense of the word.
His resume had terms like “hard pressed on every side,” (2 Cor4:8)” “spent a night and day at cold sea,” (2 Cor 11:25) ”and “suffering yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor 6:10)
Now, talk like that to a modern-day success drunk generation and you will surely be called less ambitious, “inside the box thinker” etc.
Joseph is another one, while God may have taken him into slavery and made him successful – that never seemed to be the goal –God’s glory manifest in eventually rescuing Israel was.
From all of scripture, it’s evident God is into bringing himself glory, by both pain and joy. He chooses the path, we face the journeyand he gets the glory.
Next time you are tempted to think God is solely and only about creating a “warm place” for you in the future. Look into your Bible again.
Toddler Moses floating in the basket, Paul blinking behind bars, Jesus’s frown marks in Gethsemane.
Another reason to think “success” alone may actually not be a Christian word.
How about we try “faithfulness”?
After all, even the Lord of all “learnt obedience thorough the things he suffered.” (Heb 5:8)