Success or Significance?

Photo: Tim Marshall

Photo: Tim Marshall

"Sometimes the will of God is scary because He is asking us to choose between a life that looks successful and a life that is actually significant, between a life that wins the applause of our peers and life that actually transforms lives through love."

-Gary A. Haugen, from Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian


It's difficult to wrestle between success and significance. Often we want both. But both are not always on the table. We must choose. If we follow Jesus' example we'd call others to the table and wash everybody's feet around the table. We wouldn't waste any time vying for a place of prominence at the table.


I need God to renovate my idea of success on a regular basis. I want Him to define it. But oh how the world clamors. It gets noisy in my head. I start measuring success based on shares, likes, and views. Silly.


The flesh continually wants the approval of man. It wants to be elevated, deemed successful, and given a medal for its efforts. But often, the most meaningful ministry, the deepest Kingdom work goes unnoticed. It's under the radar. And it is often without earthly rewards. 


How do we keep our eyes on what really matters?


1. Ask for help. We need to ask God to show us what's significant in His eyes. Then go out and do it. Let's be willing and keep asking God to morph and change our view of success to true significance.


2. Crucify the flesh. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there." Gal. 5:24 (NLT) Easier said than done. 

How do we do this?

  • Think of those desires as dead. Dead things don't have power. Dead things don't have passion. Dead things can't move or carry out tasks.
  • Walk close to the Spirit. In other words, throughout your day, practice the presence of God. Be aware of God. Call on Him frequently. Lift up continual, short prayers to Him. Stay connected. When He gives you an assignment: obey.


3. Think long term. Success here on earth isn't worth much for the long haul. It might feel good in the moment, but it's meaningless down the road. A lifetime seems like a long time except when it's put next to eternity. Aim for eternity. Or as my friend Jill Miller says, "Invest in eternity."


I pray the eyes of your heart are enlightened, that you perceive the difference between earthly success and eternal significance; that you pursue the greater calling, the God-calling on your life. 


Phil. 3:8 (NLT)

"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ."


Have a great weekend!



Rachel B.