Almost two years ago we spent a little time thinking about the definition of "success" especially since we had moved from life as business owners to life as missionaries. We honestly haven't really given it much though since then. But after a healthy dose of doom and gloom via CNN tonight, and an exciting week of ministry at FamilyLife, we decided to revisit our definition of what true success looks like.
Can a successful life be measured by a vote? by a stock ticker? by a 401k balance? Can success be measured by accomplishments on the mission field?
I recently read about Freddy Mercury, the lead singer from the rock group Queen who died of Aids at the age of 45. He said "you can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man, and that is the most bitter type of loneliness. Success has brought me world idolisation and millions of dollars, but it’s prevented me from having the one true thing we all need - a loving, ongoing relationship.” So for Freddy Mercury, success minus love = nothing.
On the flip side, I was reading about another musician named Tim Hughes who is a worship leader and quite well known for the song "Here I am to worship". When asked about success, he replied "I am loved by God, and I love God; therefore I am successful.”
I like the way Paul in the bible describes his measurement of success:
"...all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him." ~Phillipians 3:8-9Have you ever seen those newspaper or magazine interviews with a community leader when the question is asked "name three people you would like to have dinner with"? Well, I think I've got a pretty stellar line-up between Freddy Mercury, Tim Hughes, and Paul the Apostle! I have a feeling the conversation would be fascinating and I don't think it would take long for them to come to agreement on this one point: although people often search for success in Boardrooms and Classrooms and Ball-fields and Bars, true success is found in a relationship.
Could God be using CNN to show us what rubbish looks like, so that we can be prepared to embrace true success when we see it? You may feel a little helpless when you look at your stock portfolio, you may think that your vote doesn't really matter in the upcoming election... but if it's a successful life that you are after, God has made the sure-fire recipe available for everyone.
If you're interested in finding out more, we recommend looking here. Of course we'd love to talk personally with you about how we've found success in a relationship with Jesus and how you can too. Feel free to contact us through this blog. Here's to your success!