Success versus Faithfulness

mother teresa“God has not called us to be successful, He has called us to be faithful.” –Mother Teresa

Do you agree with her? Do you think that Mother Teresa, whose ministry touched millions, knew what she was talking about?

Or how about the Scriptures? The words “faithful” and “fruitful” occur in the Bible 78 and 35 times respectively, whereas the word “successful” doesn’t appear even once.

OF COURSE we want to be successful. OF COURSE we want to do a good job, hit the bull’s eye, be effective, etc., etc. But we’re not supposed to worship success. And it’s not supposed to be our highest aim.

Faithfulness is.

It is possible to be successful without necessarily being faithful; however, it is impossible to be truly faithful without touching success. God’s definition of success isn’t derived from strategic thinking workshops or effective branding campaigns; it’s defined as faithfully discharging the duties of our calling.  Many of the most successful police officers, parents, educators, friends, business owners, or neighbors will never dance in the spotlight. Their lives and ministries will be conducted in relative obscurity, unchased by news crews or paparazzi. They will be “known” somewhere else.

Heaven.

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. ‘They shall be mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession.'” (Malachi 3:16-7)

Let’s beware the siren of success, opting rather for faithfulness where success is merely a byproduct.

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