The Measure of Success
In the day and age we live in, success is often measured by material gain: the American Dream, the house with the white picket fence, the corner office with a view, the winning lottery ticket. All of these symbolize a point where someone has ‘made it’ in this world, and yet, none of these bring lasting fulfillment. True fulfillment and joy cannot come from temporal things, but instead can be found through an enduring peace that only comes from God.
While accepting an American Music Award for Favourite Female Artist, Actress and singer Selina Gomez is quoted as saying: “I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside.” Here a young woman worth an estimated $50 Million dollars, with worldwide fame and recognition, realized that none of it brought her inner peace. Similar sentiments have been echoed by countless others who in the eyes of society have seemed to have it all, and yet find they are lacking inside. King Solomon himself, the wisest man who ever lived, tried every lifestyle and pleasure under the sun and in the end determined that all was vanity.
So if these societal markers are not the true measure of success, what is? I submit to you that a life of success is a life lived in submission to God and according to His purpose for your life.
The God of this world, the One who created you, has a specific plan and purpose for your life. This purpose has been designed and created since before we were born: “You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb,” (Psalm 139:39 NIV).
The overall purpose of every created being is to show forth the glory and praise of God. We are also called to live according to his law and with that comes peace: “Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble” (Psalm 119:65 NIV). A life lived in relationship with Christ and in accordance to his word, will bring contentment and fulfillment.
So what about secular success? Should a Christian seek to excel in the workplace or society at large? Absolutely, but the pursuit of worldly success should always be second to the pursuit of God. As you pursue Christ his favour and grace will be upon your life and his individual purpose for you will become clear. A life lived in pursuit of material things will always fall short, but a life lived to the glory of God will always succeed.
As King Solomon said at the end of all his worldly pursuits: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV).
Truly at the end of it all, what matters most is not whether we have achieved success on this Earth, it is whether or not we have achieved the greatest reward: an eternity with Christ.