Defining Success

security screening at denver airportphoto © 2009 bet hec han geu wan t2c | more info (via: Wylio)At the airport this week, I was struck by the extremely wide variety of people.  Security check-in was taking while, so I just looked around.  There were two men, professionals in their suits.  One was younger and one was more mature.  The younger reminded me of an excited little boy, like maybe this was his first business trip.  He was, it appeared from the conversation, to try to impress the older man.  You have heard or been a part of those conversations.  The young man was trying to show that he was ready for this assignment.  He was performing above average.  He was ready for the big leagues.  The younger man seemed to want to impress the older man.  I don’t know if he did.  The older man’s expression was unreadable.  Then, as the younger man is trying to impress the older man they reach the security screening area.  I was not able to observe anymore, but I suspect that it is much more difficult to be impressive while removing belt and shoes.

While you and I may not have had the same experience, we understand the emotion.  The young man was hoping to get farther in his career and company.  He wanted more – power, responsibility, prestige, job security, or income.  He wanted more.

More seems to often be the goal – more house, more money, more prestige, more real estate, more security, or something.  This desire is often translated into life goals, but we as Christians are called to seek first the kingdom of God, which may mean, often means putting the kingdom before personal desires or wants.

Our job is to serve God and our neighbors, not ourselves.  It is a often scary choice.  It means that all things in our life are supposed to be about God’s kingdom.  Isn’t that a little beyond us?  Are we supposed to give everything, especially our financial resources to God?  We have to think about our own retirement, our own futures.  We don’t want to sell off everything we own and expect the state or government to take care of us?  No, but most of us have far more than we need.  We have bought into the idea that we can never have too much.  We seek to accumulate more possessions, more experiences,  and more of what we want.

Yet our scripture point us in a very different direction.  The  way of God is not storing for ourselves treasures on earth.  Our job as disciples, as those who are Christians is here in the Shema – do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It is not about having the stuff we want.


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