Spirituality Information

No Star-Studded Career

What is success? It probably means different things to different people. One person said, "Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease." Another person said, "Success is an outcome and a state of mind and being and a matter of choice." And still another concluded, "Success is your belief that you will achieve anything you desire." There seem to be a consensus that accepts the definition of success as, "The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted."

It is important for Christians to understand that success as understood in the usual secular sense of the word is not promised in the kingdom of God. God never promised anybody a star-studded career. He never promised achievement in the worldly understanding of the word. In fact, God promises the exact opposite.

What God reveals in His word is for every Christian to expect opposition, disappointments, hard obstacles, setbacks and even satanic assault. Even God's own Son was not exempt from the flames and arrows of hardships for He was "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities." Scripture makes it clear that God's concept of success has to do with suffering for the sake of the kingdom; faithfulness in the fight against the powers of corruption, enduring the race to the end.

Success in the spiritual sense includes a cross in the equation. Paul called it rejoicing in tribulations. He said, "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. If you want to check my credentials; if you want to verify my certification do not look at the degrees hanging on my wall - but look at my scars; look at my bruises, look at the wounds on my body for Christ's sake."

You see success is radically different in the kingdom of God because as His employees we are not responsible for the outcome of our labor. We are not in management; we are in a kind of sales position. We are required to make contact and presentation. That is the end of it. We are not responsible for the results of our presention. We are essentially sowers. We are called to plant seeds, tell the story and then leave the rest to God. Paul said, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow."

What this means is that we are not graded according to what the world calls accomplishment. Success is not predicated on receptivity; on how well something is received or how well we are able to produce.

The question may rightly be asked, by what criteria do our Lord evaluate our performance? If it has nothing to do with accomplishment, then what is God's mode of measurement? Well, I believe God's answer would be that we satisfy and please Him only to the extent that we plant the seeds in people's lives by telling the truth about Him and the human predicament and remaining faithful to that function.

God did not call us to be successful; He called us to be faithful. Honor the assignment God gave you. Spread the word, keep the faith, carry your cross, tell the story wherever you go.

Our Christian goal is not a degree; it is not certification. It is a crown that will replace our cross.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.

You are welcome to visit AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification, browse our newly expanded mini shopping mall or review our recommended books you may want to add to your personal library.

Blessings to all!


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