I graduated 7th in my class from high school, in the top 11% of my class at Whitman College, and cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School. After law school, I passed the Oregon State Bar exam on the first try, and was offered a job before I graduated. I now have a great job making a decent living as a director of legal publications for the Oregon State Bar. Do all of these accomplishments make me a success? Some might say yes. Others might say I would really be a success if only I’d strived for a partnership track position in a big firm making a lot more money than I do now.
I’ve been married for 25 years, have one wonderful son, and live in a nice house in one of the better neighborhoods in my town. This year we improved our property by putting in a beautiful paver driveway, patio, and walkways, with additional landscaping. Our home is filled with nice furniture and I am blessed to have nice clothes to wear. Does all of this make me a success? Some would say yes. Others might say I would really be a success if I had 5 children who were all on honor roll, a house three times the size of my current home, and if I had a brand new Porsche parked on my paver driveway.
I’ve been involved in my church and my Christian faith in many ways. I’ve taught Sunday school, led or spoken at several women’s retreats, am in charge of the prayer ministry at my church, and am currently on our board of elders. I’ve read all the way through the Bible at least once, and some books of the Bible I’ve read multiple times. I’ve written over 600 faith-related posts on my blog and have had over 44,000 page views. Do all of these accomplishments make me successful? Some would say yes. Others might say that I’m not quite pious enough to be considered successful because I’ve never gone on an overseas mission trip, don’t give enough of my wealth to the church, and have wasted some of my blog posts on recipes.
In church this morning, our pastor reminded me that I am, in fact, a success. Even if some people might not consider me a success by the world’s standards, by God’s standard I am a success. In Luke, Jesus told his disciples the success they should rejoice over.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (NIV).
These disciples thought the fact that the demons submitted to them made their mission trips a success. But Jesus reminded them that they were a success because their names are written in heaven. I know that I am a success because I have put my trust in Jesus for my salvation, and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I could lose my license to practice law and my job, even have my degrees taken from me. I could lose my family, my house, and all my material wealth. I could lose my church family and have my blog censored. I would still be a success because I know Jesus Christ, my Lord.
So how are you measuring your success? If you know Jesus, if your name is written in heaven, then all other measures of success are unimportant.