Jeremiah 9:24,25: Thus
saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the
mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But
let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that
I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in
the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
SUCCESS: “The gaining of wealth, fame, rank, etc.”
SUCCESSFUL: “Having gained wealth, fame, etc.”
This is the definition in the eyes of this world as to what success is.
Someone said: “The door to success has two signs: PUSH – and - PULL.”
SIGNIFICANCE: “Importance, consequence.”
SIGNIFICANT: “Having or expressing meaning. Important.”
Success is not necessarily found in wisdom. Education may get you a good job, but it will not get you entrance into heaven.
Success is not necessarily in riches or possessions. Money may buy you a new car, or a palatial house on the hillside; but it will not buy you a seat at the Marriage Table.
Brigadier General James Spivey: “The pathway from success to significance is measured by our selfless service, our respect for others, and our personal integrity.”
Are we interested in success, or are we interested in significance?
If we are willing to go that extra mile:
If we are willing to give recognition to others:
If we are willing to make sure that our life is free from selfish desires and goals, and that we live by the direction of the Spirit and
not by our own ambitions, then we will know that our life has meaning and is significant.
STORY OF JOB
The story of Job becomes an important lesson for us in our study. According to verse one of chapter one Job was perfect and upright. Verse three informs us that he was the greatest of all men of the East.
By the standards of those who lived around Job they must have considered him to be a very successful man.
But Job lost his possessions that had made him successfully rich.
Then Job lost his family of sons and daughters that had made him admired by others.
Job even lost his respect and recognition of his friends and of his own wife.
In the eyes of his friends and wife Job had lost his successfulness.
But in the eyes of God Job never lost his significance!
God said of Job: Have you considered my servant Job?
In 2:3 Job is still holding fast his integrity.
In 23:10 Job stated: When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
In 27:6 Job is heard declaring: My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go.
Job may not have been considered successful at this point in his life, but his attitude was significant. His faith in his God had not
wavered. His hope for tomorrow had not diminished.
In 42:7, after God had spoken to Job out of the whirlwind, the Lord told his three friends that they must take some sacrifices to Job and have Job pray for them. God said: For him will I accept.
Now I ask: Who was significant?
Had you rather be judged by the amount of money you have in the bank or the number of prayers you have stored up in heaven?
Had you rather be judged by the fact your name is in the World’s Who’s Who, or the fact that your name is in the book of Life?
Had you rather be successful in the eyes of this world, or significant in the eyes of God?
There were twelve spies that spied out the land of promise according to the book of Joshua. Name two of them for me?
Now give me the name of one more of them???
There is a story of a young man who out of school for the summer traveled to a farm in Ohio looking for work. He was hired by a farmer, Mr Worthy Taylor. He worked for Mr Taylor through the summer knowing the young man only by the name Jim. Jim ate his meals in the kitchen and slept in the barn. During the summer he fell in love with Mr Taylor’s daughter. He asked Mr
Taylor if he could marry his daughter to whom Mr Taylor replied: No Jim. You have no name. You have no plans. You have no promising career.
Hearing this, Jim packed up his few belongings and left Mr Taylor and his daughter behind. Some years later Mr Taylor needed to tear down his barn and build a larger barn. In tearing down the barn they found where Jim had carved his name in one of the rafters: James A Garfield. He was at that time President of the United States.
Peter and Andrew; James and John, were successful fishermen. They were known for their success in fishing on the Sea of Galilee.
But their lives did not become significant until they left their nets and began to follow Jesus Christ.
Paul was raised at the feet of the famous teacher Gamaliel. He had a bright and successful looking future.
But his real significant contribution was not what he gave to the Roman world or the Jewish world, but, rather, what he gave to the Church of Jesus Christ.
The word success is found only one time in your Bible and that is in Joshua 1:8: This book of the law
shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
It is our hiding the Word of God away in our heart and obeying that Word to the fulfillment of the will of God for our life that our
life then becomes prosperous, which will result in our being successful.
Obviously according to the Word of God our success is not determined by any financial accomplishments that we might make in life. But our success is determined by our obedience to the Word of God.
The great Chicago fire of the past century destroyed a man’s business. He came to the ruins the next day carrying a table. Setting it up amid the charred debris of what used to be his place of business, he placed a sign on the table:
“Everything lost except, wife, children and hope. Business will resume as usual tomorrow morning.”
Your significance can be determined by your attitude toward the problems that life throws your way.
SOME MAY ARGUE: IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL.
Jonah only preached one message that we have recorded and it was only eight words long! But it changed an entire city from the king down to the lowliest person in Nineveh.
John the Baptist only preached for about one year. How significant was his ministry?
Stephen was stoned to death shortly after being appointed by the Apostles.
James the brother of John is killed by the order of Herod before we have anything recorded about his ministry as one of the apostles.
In the eyes of some they would not be considered successful because their ministry did not last long enough.
But I would say their ministry was significant in the eyes of God. They did what God asked them to do. That is what really mattered.
Someone said: It’s not what happens that’s critical. It’s what you do about what happens that’s important.
Og Mandino wrote: “I will never consider defeat and will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless and retreat: for they are words of fools. I will avoid despair, but if this disease of the mind should infect me, then I will work on in despair. I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep mine eyes on the goals above my head, for I know that where the dry desert ends, green grass grows. I will forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this will be the best day of my life.”
Now we can allow circumstances to dictate our actions, or we can obey the call that God has placed upon our hearts and go forward in Jesus Name.
Chisolm wrote: “Any time things appear to be getting better you have overlooked something.”
Murphy’s Law says: “Nothing is as easy as it looks; everything takes longer than you expect, and if anything can go wrong it will
and at the worst possible moment.”
Well, I am glad the book I am looking in for directions for my life is not the book of Chisolm or Murphy, but it is the Word of God.
They tell us the difference between an amateur and a professional is about five minutes more.
Five minutes more in the studying of the Word of God.
Five minutes more in prayer for that special need.
Five minutes more waiting before the Lord for His directives for our life.
I borrowed this from Ted Engstron’s book, The Pursuit of Excellence:
“Some of the world’s greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them.
“Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott.
“Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan.
“Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington.
“Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln.
“Subject him to bitter religious prejudice, and you have a Disraeli.
Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set the world’s record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes and 6.7 seconds.
“Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven.
“Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Harriet Tubman, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington Carver, or a Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Make him the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen children, and you have an Enrico Caruso.
“Have him born of parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down when he is four, and you have an incomparable concert violinist, Itzhak Perlman.
“Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.”
Missionaries are unique people. They are unique in that they have accepted the call that God placed upon their heart to leave the comforts of home and travel to some foreign country thousands of miles from family and friends. They are unique because they have committed their lives to the will of God so that natives of some foreign country might have the opportunity to hear the Gospel that we in America have heard dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
But there are voices among us that judge the work of the Missionary by the reports they receive from them that show them baptizing hundreds and hundreds receiving the Holy Ghost under their ministry. If such reports are not forthcoming then they are labeled unsuccessful and not worthy of our support.
This is not fair to the missionary. Would you want your ministry to be compared to the ministry of another preacher who has a larger church, or who has baptized more than you? That Brother who is working on a Home Missions Church, doing his best to dig out a work for God, is just as significant in the eyes of God as the one who is pastor of a large church.
That Missionary who has committed his life to the work God called him to do and has spent his lifetime reaching out to the natives and has only a handful of people to show for his years of work, is just as significant in the eyes of God as that other Missionary who works in a different country and has seen hundreds baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.
May God help us in not judging a person by the numbers they produce, but let us see the person in the light of their commitment to the will of God.
In Mark 8:34-37 we have this challenging statement: And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save
his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The things you may have in your possession on that great tomorrow will have nothing to do with determining whether your life has been significant or not.
You could acquire greater wealth than Gates, or Buffett, or Soros put together and still come before Judgment feeling insignificant.
But you could also come before Judgment having nothing of great value of this world, and feel greatly significant at the Well Done voice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Success is in the eyes of man.
Significance is in the eyes of God.