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Redefining Success

6 Dec

ORedefining Successne of the most frequent buzzword that I hear very frequently is the word “success”. The word itself is not necessarily new, it has existed for quite some time in the English dictionary, as well as church sermons.

The sad part is that a lot of us equates success to wealth. Success somehow became synonymous with being rich for most people.

What does the word “success” means? According to Google and the interwebs, the word “success” comes from the 16th century Latin word “successus”, which means to “come close after”, and it evolves over time to the recent interpretation and meaning as “an accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. You see, it is nowhere near the term “wealth” unless if the aim or purpose is to gain wealth.

Why is it then, the word evolves to be almost synonymous with wealth? The reason why is that a lot of “successful” people is most likely wealthy and well-off. There’s a boom in the area of motivational speakers in the recent years, and most of them are divided into two types of seminars: how to manage your finance so you can be successful, and how to build your business so you can be successful.

In short, all of them are mostly talking about being successful. I do wish these people would just simply say “how to be rich” or “how to be wealthy” instead of a more generic, nicer-sounding, and not-greedy-looking umbrella term “success”.

But as children of God, what does it actually mean to be successful? I don’t think it deviates much from the true meaning of the word “success”. “Success” in God’s eye does not equate to wealth, it doesn’t even equate to being rich. It is more to how well we serve His kingdom purpose instead of our own will. It is more to how we accomplish the things that He has set in front of us, rather than simply not worrying about money.

In the past six months, God has been very good to us (as He always been, and always will be). For those who don’t know, I am currently married to a beautiful and wonderful woman. She came to Australia approximately 1.5 years ago, and has been trying to find a 9-5 type job, a full-time job, if you will. And when she finally found one, she was laid off after about a month for no apparent reason.

At that time we were in a church conference in Sydney, and there’s nothing much we can do about the layoff. But God is and always faithful to us. In just minutes, He comforted her, and spoke directly to me on the things that He is about to do for us. In a matter of weeks, suddenly I was being promoted into a senior role in my company, and my lovely wife got a part-time job.

But the best thing that happened after that day was not about the promotion, or the new part-time job. It’s how He transformed both of our minds at that time. After we went back to Melbourne, we were never worried anymore about our finances, money, and any other things that concerns our future, in that matter.

What does this have to do with “success” then? Well consider this, in the eyes of most people, we wouldn’t be what people call “successful”. In fact, most of my friend around the same age group are actually quite busy to establish their own brands and businesses, both Christians and non-Christians.

For us, we would rather be called successful by the Lord of lords, and King of kings, rather than by our friends and peers. We do not consider being wealthy as successful, and we have no desire to pile up riches in this world. As Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV) put it, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Does that mean money is not important for us? It is important, in fact, most of things in this world cost us money, but it’s not the most important things we are trying to gain.

Does that mean I’m not an ambitious person? If you talk to my wife and/or my parents, I’m pretty sure they can attest how stubborn I am and how I never gave up once I set a goal. I am a fighter, and will always be one.

Does that mean I don’t have plans for my own family? I do, and in fact, it’s probably more comprehensive than most people.

Does that mean I don’t want to leave my legacy behind? I do, and I think it’s important that we left our fingerprints in this world, but our view of “legacy” also differs from what most people would define.

And these are the things that God has changed in our lives. We are no longer focused on attaining worldly gains, but instead on what’s pleasing Him. In our own eyes, we would rather be called “successful” by God Himself, not by other people. And believe me, “successful” according to God’s standard is far more interesting and exciting compared to what the world sees.

“Don’t you want a house? Don’t you want to have your own business? Don’t you want to be financially independent? Don’t you want this? Don’t you want that?” Well, in fact, I probably do. But it no longer matters for us. What matters is what God wants in my life, in our lives. There are things that we know for sure God has prepared and set out for us, and that’s what we are aiming to accomplish.

You’re odd. You’re weird. You’re not ambitious. You’re not productive.” and I get that a lot. Even if people don’t say anything to me, I noticed from their look that somehow we’re odd. And again, to us, it doesn’t matter. Because as 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NIV) had said, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

So what do you want to be successful for?

Stay blessed.