Success. The one thing we all strive for. The one thing that can drive us insane if we do not achieve it. The one thing that, if not attained by our standards, drives so many to suicide. Why is that? What is this power? What is success?
As Booker T. Washington once wisely asserted, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” “Success” is not defined by one’s status. It’s an action. It’s a love. Love what you do, and you will always have success.
If your greatest goal in life is to be rich, gain wealth and you will have succeeded in your own eyes. If your greatest desire in life is prestige, attain fame and you will have succeeded by your own standards. If your greatest motivation in life is glory, obtain praise and you will have succeeded as you dreamed. But you will never have truly succeeded because you never looked beyond yourself.
In short, perhaps the best way to define success would be to demonstrateit. The face of success can be seen, for example, in the joyfully tearful eyes of the penniless Mother Teresa. Seeking no prestige, honor, glory, or wealth, she diligently sought to heal, to love, to serve.
Success is not final. It is not a stopping point. It is not an end in itself. It is a means to a greater end. It is the means by which you can expand the kingdom of God. No pastor succeeded in achieving his degree in theology only to stop there. He reached success at his graduation, at his ordination, and every moment since in which he spent serving others. Your success is not only measured by the things you do to serve others, it is defined by how you continue to succeed beyond success.
Success and failure go hand in hand. Don’t think that because you failed you can never succeed. You can. Failure is a natural part of life when you go out of your comfort zone to trying anything. When you attempt to succeed, you are bound to fail. Why? Not because you’re not good enough. Not because you’ll never be good enough. Not because you’re worthless. Simply because you’re not perfect. And that’s okay. That’s why you have Christ. So lean on Him. And try again.
Through individuals such as Mother Teresa, we can learn that true success is achieved when we, as Booker T. Washington stated, overcome obstacles in life, great or small, to achieve what the Lord has created us to do with our lives in service to Him and to others. Then, and only then, will we be qualified to call ourselves successful. Then, and only then, will we be qualified to define “success”.