2003-01-29 - Success
Originally Published 1999-11-22
Galatians 6:4 (LB) Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won't need to compare himself with someone else.
My home is built on land that was once a large farm that has been subdivided into smaller home sites. Interestingly, behind my home was the original 105-year-old farmhouse. The owner has diligently tried to find a buyer to move this old house or have it restored. Unfortunately, the only economically feasible option was to allow the local fire department to burn the house for training new firemen. As it was completely burned down, I walked over to see the firemen. One hot and exhausted fireman removed his helmet and protective face shield. Strangely, 22 years after graduating from high school, I still recognized one of my classmates. I asked, "Mike?" He replied," David?" We laughed and reminisced awhile, and then he looked over at my house and said, "I wish I had a house like yours." I told him it was just a house. As our conversation progressed, he became almost apologetic about being a fireman and not being a "successful" businessman. The smokescreen of the world has blurred his view of "success". How is your view of "success?"
I cannot define what success is, but I can define what success is not. Success is not letting others define success for you. Success is not growing up to please your mother and father by entering the field that they wanted you to enter. Success is not doing a specific job, going to a superior school, majoring in a special field, joining a prestigious club, driving a particular car, living in a high-profile neighborhood or holding important volunteer positions because others think that defines success. Success is definitely not buying things with money you do not have, in order to impress people who don't care. You cannot let success be defined by the world or those around you. It can only be defined by how well you use the gifts God gave you. Success is found from within.
I struggled for years in a family business. I hated it, because I was fighting someone else's battles and living someone else's dreams. After years of living this way, there was very little of me left. On the outside I was shining; on the inside I was dying. I was successful in the eyes of the world, because I was carrying on the family businesses. By the providence of God, I started making changes. People around me scoffed behind my back, pronouncing me a failure for selling one business and closing another. It was not until I ventured into other businesses that I started on my God-planned path of success, success that is defined by my three partners -- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not by others.
As I still struggle with balancing worldly success and spiritual success, my first love, God, continues to mold me and chip away the rough edges, making me a success for Him. I have slowly regained the unique "me" that was lost by living out the world's definition of success. The David God created is back. I now fight my own battles, dream my own dreams and live out my own hopes. People tell me that I seem the happiest that I have ever been in my life. I am the happiest, because I like me, the real me whom God designed to carry out His plan.
As I turned to go back home, I said to my fireman friend, "Mike, I am so glad to see you are a fireman. All I ever remember you saying when we were in Junior High and High School was that someday you wanted to be a fireman. You, Mike, are very successful." He grinned and replied, "Yeah, I guess I am."
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT) And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing His will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to Him. Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting covenant, signed with His blood. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.