A few weeks ago I read an interesting article by Nathan Busenitz who is on the pastoral staff of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley. The article was titled “How God Defines Success.” I thought about this article when I was mulling over the many decisions of people in our area when the financial crisis occurred a few years ago. The financial outlook for many young families was bleak which caused many of them to scurry away and head to other parts of the country looking for greener pastures.
We very well understand the economic pressures people face especially living here with its sky high prices. It is very difficult to have the finer things in life when you can barely make ends meet and put food on the table. Many families equate owning a house, driving nice cars, visiting their favorite vacation spots, and putting savings in the bank, with success and they do not want to fall behind others that seem to do much better.
The article by Busenitz emphasized how hardly we would call the lives of many Bible heroes successful. For example, we would not think being beaten and mocked to be marks of success. Spending time in prison is not high on the bucket list of “must do” activities. Being cut in two or having your head severed is not likely to happen in your gated community, and neither is wandering in deserts and living in holes an indication of Fortune 500 achievement. However, all of these are mentioned in Hebrews 11 which is God’s hall of the famously successful. These are people that considered their accomplishments for eternity to be the markers of success.
This is the real key to understanding. How you view eternity governs your goals. If you trust God’s promises, then you know all the financial freedom you seek, the nicest home you can live in, the best neighborhood for your social life, and the greatest happiness you can experience are not on this earth and are just a few years away.
Think of it. When you were a teenager, you might have thought about success as everyone gauges it, but you knew it was not likely to come instantly. The wealthiest people you know were probably well into middle age or slightly beyond, and yet you never thought their success was impossible for you. It would take time, but you would get there. Now that you are in your thirties or forties, have you really got that much longer to wait for God’s success?
Success is coming—even success by the world’s measurement. No one who is fighting for a few dollars more at Google will own as much as you in a few years. The best we can do right now is trust the faith we claim. Is God right about His promises? Will a few more years of waiting be unworthy of the reward? Jesus saw no conflict. He said no one has left homes or lands or family or bank accounts that will not receive a hundred fold more AND everlasting life. Take a moment to think about this when you are afraid success has passed you by. Serving God for a few dollars less at Berean Baptist in sunny, depressed California, will be worth more than its weight in gold not too far from now. I can wait. Can you?
Pastor V. Mark Smith