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Success ≠ Power
Theme of the week: Seeing Success Through God's Eyes
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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Key Bible Verse: "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." (Matthew 20:26, NIV) Dig Deeper: Matthew 20:25-28

Surely the possession and the exercise of power is the mark of success, isn't it? But Jesus said that those who "lord it over" other people are actually abusing power. Instead, Jesus insisted that the pathway to true greatness is through being a servant (Mark 10:42-44). How different this is than competitive American views that see success as a win-lose game (if you win, I lose; but if I win, you lose).

By tying true greatness to being a servant, Jesus turned success on its head. True success, he said, is a win-win proposition. If others win, I win. This is the way of servanthood. This is the way of the kingdom.

When it comes to standards of success, God's ways are not our ways. He is not at all impressed by all the things Americans are typically enamored with.

This does not mean that God's children should never pursue significant accomplishments in their careers or in their ministries. It is possible for Christians to use wealth and power wisely, to advance the ways of the kingdom. But it does mean that God never equates wealth, power, prestige, or beauty with success.

If this is so, it raises another question. What does constitute success in the eyes of God?

—Steven Roy in What God Thinks When We Fail

My Response: How would I answer the question in the last paragraph of this reading?

Thought to Apply: A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.—Henry Ward Beecher (social reformer, abolitionist)

Adapted from What God Thinks When We Fail (IVP, 2011) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Father, help me to define success the way you do; remind me that the only opinion that ultimately matters is yours.

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