What is success?
The Oxford dictionary defines it as: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. The aim or purpose could be the most insignificant of things or it could be a major undertaking. Most people have experienced success in one form or the other. Any one who has been priviledged to obtain any level of education has successfully learned some things and hopefully, passed some examinations. Every mother has successfully carried a pregnancy to term. Employees have succeeded at an interview in other to get the job. Every business person has concieved an idea and successfully brought it into realization, and some have made a great success of their business.
What does it take to succeed?
Most people would agree that it takes:
- a measure of natural talent/giftedness/skill
- cleverness/ good judgement
(I personally do not believe in luck)
Some would argue that certain qualities in the list above are more important than others. For instance, there are many talented people who don't achieve much success in life maybe because they're lazy, lack good judgement or haven't recieved the favour of God or man.
Conversely there are many people with little or no talent who have excelled because of hardwork, perseverance, good judgement or divine favour.
Also, many people see nothing wrong in cutting corners, cheating or being sharp (as we say in Nigeria), in order to achieve their goal. In the list above I've incuded cleverness/good judgement which imply a mental astuteness which can also be described as sharpness. The difference however lies in the motive and outcome of the actions generated by the individual in question. In other words, sharpness could be negative or positive.
For example a business man could be approached by someone with a seemingly water-tight business proposal, but the business man would need to be astute to be able to examine every aspect of this proposal to be sure that he would be investing in something viable and worthwhile. That is a sharp business man.
Another person could decide to go on the internet and convince people to part with substantial sums of money in the guise of gaining much more in return. This 'business man' could succeed in scamming several people out of their hard earned money, and he would be considered successful by his peers. The business men have both been sharp and clever, one with sound judgement and the other with deceit.
The question now is: does the end really justify the means? Does it matter at all how I come about my success or should I simply be satisfied that I have succeeded no matter the route taken to achieve this?
What does the Bible have to say about success? What is true success?
Genesis 39:23, "The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did."
1 Samuel 18:14, "In everything he (David) did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. "
Joshua 1:18, "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Psalm 92:7, "Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever."
I believe that true success lies in fulfilling God''s purpose for your life and doing it with His help. It may not be something massive, yours may not be the biggest or wealthiest ministry, men may not necessarily be impressed by your achievments, but as long as you are fulfilled and God is happy, nothing else matters. God does not see the way man sees. Some great 'success stories' could very well be a heap of rubbish as far as He is concerned.
So do not be overly concerned with what anyone thinks, go ahead, start that business, write that book, sing that song, do whatever it is that God has given you enablement to do. I want to be able to say like Paul,
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7), not just in the Christian race, but in every single area of my life.