God's view of success
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who is it that gets to measure success? Do we use popular vote? Perhaps measure the money earned? Should it be based on lives impacted?
I was struck by a photo I saw this morning of side by side covers of Time Magazine. One featured Hugh Hefner, the other, Harvey Weinstein. Are these men examples of success? They both amassed millions of dollars and made their names famous as they rose to the top of their "empires". Can you be deemed successful when your business involves the exploitation of others?
What about historical leaders? There are those who had statues or monuments built in their honor, but when revelations of their personal lives, belief system, shortcomings, and scandals came to light, many called for the removal of any public display.
So if the measure of success is both subjective and time sensitive, how are we ever to measure if we are aiming for success? For that matter, how are we to know if we've achieved it?
There are certainly Biblical "heroes of the faith" that we might look to for an example. The only problem is, they were seriously flawed. They often made decisions solely to ensure their personal safety and comfort, to the detriment of others. I'm not suggesting we dismiss their successes, for they are clearly men and women who had moments of self sacrifice and faith that serve as valuable lessons thousands of years later.
I guess what I'm getting at, is there is no "formula for success". There isn't a majority poll that can be taken to assess whether someone's life is ultimately labeled as successful. The times change and opinions/lifestyles of the masses change, which directly effects what the present generation sees as successful.
So, I'm left with the question of "what does God think of success?" Does my life, my family, my ministry work look successful to Him? This is a question I've been wrestling with in increasing measure these past few month. The frustrating reality is, I may never get a firm and final answer this side of heaven.
Evaluations must be done to determine effectiveness and efficiency, but our faulty measures may often miss the real truth. Organizations must be accountable to stockholders. Executive Directors must be accountable to their Board of Directors, workers must be accountable to their supervisors, and all are measured on their success in the role they play.
The beauty (and aggravation) of looking to God's standard of success, is that He values each life far beyond our comprehension. Therefore, it's an ongoing struggle to gauge the success of a program/ministry/project by the numbers. If you only impact one life, is your mission a success? Yes. If you impact thousands, is your mission a success? Yes.
So, we are back to square one and a pondering that will likely continue until my dying day. What is God's view of success?