Rimshots #22 “Success”

“…what really matters in life is not so much what we do. What matters most is what God chooses to do through us.” Charles “Chuck” Colson.

Our culture is enamored with success. With some areas of success come fame, witness athletes, authors, movie directors, musicians, and many others. Part of the equation of cultural success is having enough people know of your success. Those previously mentioned have the advantage of notoriety to disseminate their achievements.

But one thing underlies all those accomplishments and our recognition of them: the centering of the recognition on the person, on what they have done. Colson’s words speak to another metric. He suggests gauging your success on how good a vessel you are for God’s actions. It is reminiscent of Romans 9:23-24

…in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory–even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Romans 9:23-24

This is because it is God who is the potter, the one fashioning our vessel.

Hath not the potter power over the clay… Romans 9:21a

O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 8:16

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8

What matters to you in life? How do you measure success? Hat Tip to Dawn Treader.

  2 comments for “Rimshots #22 “Success”

  1. August 3, 2005 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for the devotional thought. I wanted to add how difficult this Christ-centered focus can be for pastors. It is also a public office. There is always a desire for success, which usually means numerical growth. And yet, there is this constant pull in the Scriptures, as you have quoted, to move aside so that the focus is square upon Christ.

    Piper has helped me some with this, because he apparently struggles with “being famous.” His advice (which I think I read in Future Grace) is to focus so heavily with words and actions on Christ, that He is exalted while you are forgotten (at least in the eys of others). Thus, to me, it makes sense that fame is fine, so long as your name is known precisely because you are constantly elevating the glory of God.

  2. August 3, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

    I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

    We need to remember that. Besides, not all pastors are called to be evangelists and if not, the only way to increase is through births, people moving into the area, or sheep stealing. The first two are slow and the third common but wrong in most cases.

    Be faithful to God and let him take the hindmost.

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