Who is a successful person? What would you want to see in a person in order to call them prosperous? From the world’s point of view success is about possessions. The more material possessions you acquire the more successful you become. You would need to have five or more cars in your yard and they would all have to be the “hottest” kind. You would need the Range rover, Mercedes, Navarra, Hummer, BMW, Limousine and whatever else you can add to the list. You must be one who has a jaw dropping mansion with no less than five bedrooms. When someone walks into your premises they should be able to say, “Wow, this is amazing. It’s just gorgeous!!” Apart from possessions, for those who have children, the children should go to the most expensive schools in the country and the most costly colleges or universities. You must also appear often in magazines and in news papers. You must be seen often on TV and heard frequent on Radio. Of course at the center of all this must be a well paying job. When the world sees this, it will say, “There is a successful woman or there is a prosperous man.” But how does God look at success? Has he said the more possessions we have the more successful we will be? Do we have to become popular in order to be called prosperous? In as much as God may bless us with material possessions and other belongings, we should not use them as a measuring rod for success.
When you look at Scripture and see the people who were called successful, you will notice something similar about all of them. They were people who had a grasp at something very significant. They kept this principle at heart. They made this principle personal. What essential principle did they keep? They were men and woman who were faithful to the task that God had given them. They were faithful to their calling. They were faithful soldiers, they were faithful parents, they were faithful teachers, they were faithful Kings, they were faithful priests, they were faithful prophets, they were faithful judges and they were faithful messengers. What do I mean when I say faithful? It is that these men and woman took God’s word and applied it to the task which was before them in a manner which pleased God. Take a look at King David. If you read through the books of first and second Samuel you will notice that David inquired from the LORD before taking action on a particular item. He understood that as King he must represent God in his ruling. This, then, would require knowing what God wants. And when God gave the order, David did exactly what God said. Taking the gospel to the gentiles was the task that was given to the apostle Paul. He was faithful to it up to the very end. God chose Joshua to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land and he was faithful to the task. In fact God says to Joshua that, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” Joshua 1:8. The way for prosperity for Joshua was to do according to all that is written in God’s Word (Be careful to do all that is written in it).
Another thing that is vital about success in God’s view is appreciating your place or position of service. You don’t have to be in America and begin to rise in rank for you to be successful. You can be in the deep jungles of the Equatorial forests serving for the rest of your life and still be successful. You can be someone’s maid for all of your life and still be prosperous in God’s sight. I am not saying that we should refuse promotions but that we should not measure success that way. You can be CEO of a huge company and still be unfaithful to God in the very position. Think of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband, the one David killed. That was a successful man whom many people don’t recognize. Why do I say so? He was faithful to the task that was before him. He was Loyal to His King as a Subject and to God who fought Israel’s battles. He comes home and David tells him to go home and relax. He responds saying, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing” 2 Sam 11:11. How many would have responded this way after coming from a heated battle? Uriah knew what it meant to be a soldier in the Army of the Living God and not even David could persuade him otherwise. In fact, during this period Uriah acted more faithful and righteous than David. When you look at men like Uriah very few if possible no one will say, “he was successful.” However, in God’s sight, Uriah was a great man because he was true to his task. The Hittite is actually mentioned as one of the mighty men of David in 2 Samuel 23:39.
I must mention also that those who were true to their duties given where in many instances exalted to a place and position of recognition. David Livingstone was on a mission to take the gospel to the dark continent of Africa. When planning to go to Africa, he didn’t say, “I want to take the gospel to Africa so that I can be recognized.” He knew the good news to Africa was his God given task after spending much time in prayer. However, God has given him recognition. We have towns, roads and cities which are named after him. Our Lord and Savior, God the Son, took up the task of coming to die for our sins. He didn’t say I want to go die for them so that I can be acknowledged. There was no need for that. After all he is God. But we are told in Scripture that “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9-11).
Are you pushing for success? Are you being faithful to what you have been called? Are you being faithful as a teacher? Are you being faithful as a preacher? Are you being faithful as a doctor, as a nurse or as an accountant? Remember, its faithfulness to the task that before you. May the grace of God be with you.