And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Dan 12:3
It is doubtful there are few things of greater significance than one’s definition of success. We don’t often think about it, but how we set the parameters of so great a question defines our happiness or despondency. Rising each day our path will largely be chosen based on what we believe will bring us the greatest fulfillment. Therefore, it is vital that we consider this question of what we define as success.
It seems reasonable for the child of God to first reject what the world deems as success. In the temptation of Christ, the devil offered the Son of God food for His belly, fame in a sensational stunt, and the glory of his worldly kingdoms. Jesus flatly rejected the offer in light of His Father’s greater glory. The prestige of notoriety, the gathering of wealth, and the accumulation of power were seen by Christ as nothing more than bowing down to the evil one. In subtle ways, the enemy of our souls still offers us these empty paths that lead to disappointment and shipwreck. The incessant drive to be recognized, doted over, and die with the biggest house is the bane of man’s existence. A bag full of marbles is only rewarding if there is no hole in the sack. Consider the emptiness of man’s pursuits.
We stand on the stage of life awaiting a thunderous handclap for what we have achieved only to be deflated. Looking around, we realize that most of our dreams have fallen flat. The expectation of a life filled with happiness has yielded little or no fruit. Furthermore, whatever applause men do offer takes on a hollow sound when the lights go out and we are left alone with our regrets. Fortunately, for our soul’s sake, there is a different way of looking at life and success.
When Abram was returning from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the five kings, wherein he routed thousands with his 318 servants, he met a man who help him define the moment. Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought bread and wine to Abram and his men. He then blessed Abram telling him that God was the Possessor of heaven and earth. God was sovereign over the affairs of earth as well as heaven. Therefore, his conquest over his enemies was really God’s victory. Abram’s joy at that moment had nothing to do with the experience of triumph. He was overwhelmed by the glory of the pre-incarnate Christ, causing his momentary stardom to dim in comparison.
Abram then met the king of Sodom, who attempted to make him rich with the spoils of war. This man of faith refused the bounty having already found his satisfaction in the bread and wine brought to him by the High Priest of God. Success in the heart of Abram was found in the joy of his relationship with God. He had discovered the great truth that nothing in this world could ultimately harm him and no one this side of heaven could give anything to him. Abram needed nothing because he had gained everything in his walk with Christ. True success has nothing to do with how life plays out and everything to do with the God who fills each moment with His love and friendship. The glory of his victory over the five kings was nothing compared to his friendship with God. The offer of wealth was fool’s gold in the light of the true riches of being loved by Christ.