How do you define success? Is it power, a hefty salary, prestige, or impressive belongings? These are certainly things that the average person values.
As Christians, we are called to adopt a different value system. Jesus saved us to accomplish more than just earthly success. "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner" (Hebrews 6:9).
Roadmap to Success
Many people want to be successful. They may even feel dissatisfied with where they are right now. Even so, many never stop to think about what success means to them. Defining personal success is like picking your destination on a map. Few of us set out on a trip without knowing where we are going. We've even given thought to how we will get there.
I find it astounding how many workers have never thought about what success means to them. If we find ourselves in a company or government organization with a pay scale, perhaps we've loosely defined success as climbing higher within that pay system. Ask yourself: Is an occasional bump in salary enough to motivate us throughout our lifetime? When you get to your retirement, will being at the top of your company's pay scale be enough of an accomplishment to feel successful?
Others cherish time with their family. They are not as motivated by extra money or a bigger house. They feel successful if they can spend weekends and vacations with their wife and children at the lake or a beach. Perhaps, independence or free time is how you would define success?
Regardless of what motivates you, it's vitally important that you know what success means to you. Without clearly defined goals, it's easy to feel ineffective and lack motivation. Even accomplishments can feel meaningless without a clear understanding of success.
The Bible suggests that the people who follow God will have a different value system. "“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
In our book, Taking God to Work, Steve Reynolds and I relate the type of goals that honor our faith. God's value system suggests our focus at work needs to be on serving others. He wants us to love others through our job. We are to shine His light into our work world.
Being a servant of others at work is antithetical to the world's value system, but it's in perfect step with our savior's example.
Trusting Jesus for Rewards
When we subjugate our selfish desires to our calling to serve God, there is no reason to worry about rewards. God is faithful to reward us. Whether or not we collect all the best toys in this lifetime, we know that God will take care of us in the heavenly world to come. Living for Him brings us so much joy right now in this life, but we know even better things await those who serve Jesus.
Success for the Christian is hearing our savior say, "Well done." Knowing that we were productive for the Kingdom of God at work is true success. There is nothing wrong with owning a nice home, car, etc. God may provide that too, but true success involves serving the Lord.
Note from the author: In this time of uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus, you may be experiencing a very different daily routine. Some are working at home. Others are more busy than usual providing essential services like healthcare, food or supplies. In any case, know that God is with us. He is a very present help in times of trouble. Remember that "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
For those with extra time on your hands, check out my latest book on my author website or on Amazon.