Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What success is not

Ron Jenson writes that success should not be primarily power, prestige, popularity, prosperity, or pleasure (the "5 P's"). Having those things does not automatically cut us off from God's favor, so please don't think I believe otherwise. Indeed, my wife and I have friends who are rather well off financially. But it's clear that they are not "showing off" their wealth. They give glory to God for what they have. And they see us as their equals in the eyes of God. They realize that all they have comes from God, and that He could have easily chosen to not bless them to such a degree financially.

But when people with one or more of the 5 "P's" rub it in our faces, and think it's all about that, then there's a problem. Sadly, much of the world latches on to such people just so they can say, "I know such and such." In some cases, such people be personable with their peers, but if they happen to attain some measure of worldly success, then they act like they no longer know the people they used to hang out with, or they'll treat them as lesser beings. They'll be barely recognizable, acquiring the mannerisms of those whom they wish to impress. They'll crave attention for how they look or what they own, rather than for what's in their heart. They'll find people crawling out of the woodwork who long to join their bandwagon, but if they ever lost their "success," most of those people would say, "I never knew you."

There is no real fulfillment in the 5 P's alone. Because they don't address the needs of the heart. Only God can do that. Let's draw close with God and with people who truly care about us. Let's be who God created us to be. Let's leave a legacy of a better world to those who come after us. And let's make at least one other person's life a little more full of hope and joy and love. Then we can feel we've been successful


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