“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
What, really, is success? This is a thought I have been pondering this week.
I am so thankful for this blog. It’s a place where I can share things that God puts on my heart related to ministry, the mission field, the Christian walk, family, and other life topics.
When I first started setting up my website, writing books and establishing this blog, I was told by people in the industry that a successful blog has at least 5,000 followers. I thought: Wow. I don’t think I even think I know 5,000 people who are literate. I know many people living in villages who would never have the ability to read a blog, or even know what it is. But I thought- I will write anyway. Even if only a few people subscribe to this blog, then those are the ones who God wants me to reach. It may not make me a “success” according to industry standards. In fact, according to the writing world I am nothing more than a grain of sand covered by an ocean of others. I am not, in the eyes of the world, successful as a writer.
But it really doesn’t matter what the world thinks.
What matters is what Jesus says. Period.
Jesus defines true success for us. What was His platform? Though he often shared with the multitudes and spoke with power and authority, though He was well known as He walked this earth (who could ignore this miracle making forgiver of sins who spoke with such authority?), He only had a few close followers. In the end, most of them deserted Him. Was He unsuccessful in His ministry? Not even remotely! Exactly the opposite. The ramifications and consequences of His humble life and sacrificial death will live on for all of eternity. He changed absolutely everything, even for this little blip of a person here.
What is your platform?
Whatever you do, I’m willing to venture a guess that at times it feels like you aren’t making enough of an impact, that you aren’t really successful. You might feel that if you had ____ and _____ , that would be your true measure of success. Whether you are working in full time ministry or doing your work unto the Lord, you are called by God and on a mission. And sometimes it might seem like you’re a failure. Sometimes others might even dare say that you are. I want to assure you, as long as you are walking in what God has put before you, they are wrong.
I wonder what Billy Graham’s parents thought of their lives. Living on an obscure farm, not the picture of success or prestige in the least. Little did they know that in their little sphere of influence, God would raise up one of the greatest evangelists of our times.
Maybe your realm of influence is small.. but so what? Isn’t one life worth giving it all for?
Jesus thought so.
And true success is not about quantity, but quality. It is about doing what we are called to do, and doing it well. Jeremiah the prophet had little or no converts in all of his years of walking in exactly what God told him to do. Was he a failure? Not at all. He did precisely what God asked him to do. And the words he penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit still comfort, correct and encourage us today… Thousands of years later!
I submit to you that true success is simply obedience to the Lord. Let Him handle the outcome. I may never have a large following, but if God can use the words in this blog to influence one person in their faith, who will influence one more, and so on, then that is success!
You may never be a success in the eyes of the world, but that is okay!
Please don’t feel that what you do or who you are is insignificant.
Please don’t buy into the lies of our times that say we have to have viral YouTube videos, make the New York Times bestsellers list, build huge churches, or have a missionary impact on tens of thousands of people.
Another thing to consider is that we are here on earth to learn to love God, to glorify Him with these lives He has entrusted to us, and to lead others to this amazing grace and love that we have experienced. If we desire to be successful according to this world’s standards, we can be dangerously close to getting in the way of God’s glory. That would be a failure of what God has designed us for. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have thousands or even millions of followers- as long as you are pointing them to the only One who deserves the honor and glory.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says: “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” It’s really that simple. Your life is not insignificant. You have at least one person that you can set a loving example for. So do it, and do it well.
I want to be able to rest this evening knowing that I have walked in what God has set before me today. I will try not to focus on tomorrow or on those around me who think success should look differently. I choose to abide in Jesus and let Him live and love through me. At the end of the day, I will have peace and joy, because I am not trying to create things in my own strength, but relying on Him and pouring Him out wherever I go. (And I’m certain I will get my wires crossed at times and mess things up.. but I will thank the Lord for His amazing grace, dust myself off, and get back on the path to true success.)
I pray that you will do the same.
Honor God with whatever platform He has given to you.
Point people to Jesus.
And your life will truly be a success.