What Makes a Successful Life?

To a large degree the happiness of men and women and the success of the church depend upon home influence.  Eternal interests are involved in the proper discharge of the every-day duties of life.  The world is not so much in need of great minds, as of good men, who are a blessing in their homes. – Gospel Workers p 204

What does it mean to be successful?  In so many ways, we believe that success has to do with business and worldly positions, power, possessions, and property.  The successful person is well-educated, has a good job, and makes a large salary.  The successful person drives a luxury car and has a well-furnished house because all the basics are covered and all that is left is to indulge personal comfort.  The successful person has worked hard and has been promoted to positions of responsibility.

Is that what it means to be successful?  When I’m old and look back at my life, can it only have been a success if I’m wealthy and own a beautiful home?

As described, being successful isn’t all that it seems.  I have seen successful people raise families that money could not unite.  I have seen successful people who have been promoted to prestigious positions have to work so much that they don’t have time to live life or spend with their families.  I have seen successful people create an air of superiority and cruelty.  I have also seen successful people come to realize that success does not override personal anxieties, and can create more.

I don’t want to live a life that defines success that way.  The odds are against me.  The goalposts of success will always move on me.  The pursuit of success at the cost of happiness and life is not worth it.

Success is achieving an objective.  Success in life is reaching an objective that provides meaning and purpose and leaves one satisfied.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The objective that we have to seek is a relationship with God, and joining him when he comes to take us to his kingdom. And beyond that helping others to reach that happy forever home as well. Having this as our objective shapes how we live.  The target has shifted.

Instead of the focus of the life being on attaining the next promotion and spending many days of long hours to reach it, relationships become more important.  Raising children in the fear of the Lord, and cherishing a spouse require time.  Are the hours we work each week compatible with how God wants us to live?  God has given us these people as our responsibility to make sure they reach heaven.  How can we value personal attainment over that?  Pursuing a work calling is important, and so is earning a livelihood, but could it be that great achievements in the world are not so important as great achievements in the lives of family and others?

So much is often made of people on their death beds wishing they had invested more in relationships, specifically family relationships, instead of in work hours, but I don’t see that affecting the way people live.  Success seems to be generally defined the way it always has.  Lives and families suffer, and personal and familial happiness is sacrificed upon the altar of achievement.

We need to break free and step into a different paradigm.

That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and of true success is the recognition of God’s ownership. The Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction. – Adventist Home p 367

Let’s redefine success in our lives by seeking first the kingdom of God.  Defining success this way makes it attainable and puts it within the grasp of all of us.  We can purposefully live to be a blessing to our families, and in the absence of close family, others.  That’s not to exclude others, because those relationships are important, but family is on another level of importance, to God, to them, and to ourselves.  This is what it means to be successful.

One thought on “What Makes a Successful Life?

  1. Pingback: What Makes a Successful Life? | Serving Communities faithfully

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s