LIFE AND CAREER BUILDER. The common notion has been that jobs, professions, and careers are means to earn profitably and improve your lifestyle and stature in society–for time and financial freedom so you can live the laptop, email or networking lifestyle. Often, all of life revolve on this–education, family, relationships, church, and principles.
You pursue education to have a profitable career someday. You choose good schools for your kids for the same reason. Your family is oriented from the very start to pursue high goals so the future can be secured financially, specifically to land on lucrative jobs or businesses. Relationships are geared toward good connections that can translate into profitable friendships. You choose a church where you get more good connections and where the membership lends you good reputation.
We think that life is all about these things. So we spend our energies and lives into getting the most of them.
But we miss the whole point.
God inspires us to pursue high goals so he can base his judgment on them later. And the whole point of it all is, how did we treat other people along the way, and most especially when we have reached our financial or career success. He doesn’t want to see us succeed so we can provide for ourselves and our families well (He does that well with or without our success) but to see what we would become with our successes.
Specifically, the whole point of success is to see whether we can give it all up for Him or are we going to cling to it when threatened with losing it? Nicodemus was perplexed when Jesus intimated to him one night that he must be born again–or start all over again from zero. “How can it be?” he asked. That’s what being born again actually means–starting again from zero, losing all your trophies and accomplishments in life, giving up everything and picking up your cross instead (cross means you become nothing). That’s the whole point of life.
He doesn’t want to see us succeed so we can provide for ourselves and our families well (He does that well with or without our success) but to see what we would become with our successes.
Jesus gave up everything, emptying and making himself “nothing.” Look at what the Apostle Paul said:
“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
Paul was a true success in the Pharisaical order, “a Pharisee of the Pharisees” and yet he gave them all up. That’s the only real meaning of life and career success–after getting it, are you willing to trash them all for Christ?
But many souls miss the whole point. Instead of making a whole burnt offering of their successes and trophies as a pleasing sacrifice to God, they boast about it, brag about their successes and believe that they now are the rightful gurus whom people have to listen to, just because they have the money, possessions, and clout to power. And this happens especially in church.
And there starts idolatry. Idolatry is not so much the worship of statues and images today as it is the worship of your stature in society and the instrument that put you there. The instrument may be an income source, a career, a position, a company, or the church denomination that gave you everything that you have. Note that if you lay even a finger of criticism on such instrument, they would revolt in anger and feel it a personal attack on them–because the idol and their ego have become one.
The proper Kingdomly attitude on success is to become meeker as God gives it to you, to be more broad-minded, and to consider others better than yourself, no matter the great success God allows you. And most of all, to realize that it’s all by God’s grace, not of yourself or skills or talents or hard work, and definitely not because of any instrument that you think gave you the break for success so that you feel you owe it your allegiance, fighting for it like crazy once someone make even a slight criticism against it.
The real life and career success challenge is to give up everything for Christ.