Success means different things to different people. But, generally, people are considered a success because their business made a big profit or a book sold a million copies, or an invention worked. For most people success is getting a good-paying job with benefits and making ends meet.
That is also basic life, also called making it, or ‘making a living.’ Just because you have a good-paying job, a few kids, and a faithful spouse does not mean you are successful, even by the world’s standards. Health, whether physical, emotional, or mental has a role to play and can alter one’s ability to become successful.
In the kingdom of God, success is measured very differently. Having family and friends is part of the journey of life no matter how it is measured.
But, if you accumulate wealth, family, friends, businesses, and maybe a best seller or two, are you successful? That is not how God measures success. I have evaluated my own life many times, especially in the last few months, and it seems that by the world’s standards, I am not a success, or worse, I am a failure to them. So How does God define success?
Successful or Obedient?
I heard the Lord telling me that he wasn’t after success but rather obedience this morning. I knew exactly what He meant. I measure success by how many people read a blog, follow me on youtube or Facebook, or how many watch a TikTok video. I like to look around and wonder why this person already has 1,000 followers or subscribers.
I sign up for the classes that tell you how to ‘grow your channel’ or how to be at the top of amazon with your book. I read everyone’s story, and finally, I realized I am not called to be successful by the world’s standards. If what I do each day is born out of my relationship with God and I do it wholeheartedly, then I am obedient. That is success.
2 Samuel 15:22 “Does the Lord have as much delight in burnt offerings
and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than a sacrifice,
And to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. NASB
It is really up to God how the results play out. Yes, people want to write books to sell and make videos that people actually watch. But, if all you do is what He tells you, then that is all He expects. Some people are called to grow a channel or website. Others are messengers with a heart of devotion to just please God.
I am not saying that other Christian media influencers are not devoted to God, but rather that their purpose is different. God uses different people in different ways. The person with 1,000 or more subscribers can reach the masses. But maybe you or I are not supposed to reach the masses. Perhaps, we are just supposed to be faithful in the little, and someone we touch will reach the masses.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, we want to hear well done, good and faithful servant. That is all that matters, whereas with Saul he couldn’t resist the urge to stand up and make sacrifices himself. He wanted to move things along. After all, he was the king and he wanted to be successful in the people’s eyes.
Yet, his disobedience cost him his kingdom, which meant he was unsuccessful to the people and to God. That was what made David and other men like Phineas in Numbers 25, successful. They each had a heart to please God. They were jealous for what He was jealous after.
Just Do What He Says
At the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ mom told the servants to do whatever He tells you to. So, of course, they did without question. Jesus said His time hadn’t come, but that didn’t deter Miriam (Mary). You know the story where there were several jugs that were miraculously filled with the best wine that was saved for the end.
If you do what God tells you each day out of obedience, you are already successful. No matter the outcome, He always provides for your needs. We are all servants, and He takes care of us. In the end, you may be what the world calls a failure, but when you are dead, or long after you started, the journey, you may be recognized as the greatest at what you do.
The prophets of the Old Testament didn’t own property or have many possessions. God always provided, yet they seemed to suffer more than most. They were not popular and were constantly being ridiculed and persecuted. They even got mad at God, and one, Jeremiah, considered God to be deceptive.
Still, they were obedient, and what they wrote and prophesied has been handed down and studied for thousands of years. Many today consider them the most outstanding characters in the Bible next to Jesus. Our perceptions often determine how we respond to something.
Many people today want a big name or titles like prophet or apostle. Actually, in the New Testament, those are gifts or functions. The only title we are given is that of a servant, but then He changes that to friends.
John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. NIV
However, we are still to function as servants in the world. We are His friends who He calls to serve others eahc day. So, if you are a good and obedient servant of the Lord, then you are a success.
Just Stay Humble
In the end, the only the left to say is to remain humble. Whether you have one million followers or just under a hundred, your job is to obey. Jesus started with twelve, and when He returned to heaven, He only had around five hundred,, and most of those had abandoned the way.
By today’s standards, He wasn’t very successful. However, His movement has flourished and thrived in the most adverse circumstances. No one gave Him a platform. He just attracted people wherever He went. Like Jesus, the Father is your platform, and He will use me and you to attract whomever He wants.
Like me, your primary calling may be in the secret place. You may be a writer or other media voice, but your identity is not found in those things. You are a son or daughter of the Most High God, and that cannot be changed. You have a message, and ultimately, you must become the message. That is what people are looking for. Not so much the message, but the messenger, because if they see us, they see the message. (Whitefield 2021, 176)
In the end, they must see and hear Jesus in all we do and say. When you have been obedient and done all that was asked, there is a crown of life waiting for you, and you may never know until the next age who you have impacted.
In the meantime, I am going to be making some changes. I have already updated this website to reflect more of who I am and my message. I am getting back to helping you with those things that keep you from completing your assignment. I will be publishing more fiction that will hopefully be a tool to reach more people for the kingdom.
However, I will continue to write about the nations and God’s Heart for them, as well as the second coming, Israel, and the age to come.
Whitefield, Samuel. 2021. Will You Choose the Wilderness? 1 vols. Grandview, Mo: OneKing Publishing.