By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
How do you measure success?
When you run a beef operation, do you consider it successful when you’ve gambled right on when to sell and it paid off at the highest market prices of the season?
Is a finals jacket the target you set for yourself and now that you’ve got two, you can retire from team roping and just keep a couple horses around for fun?
We often look to the success of others to measure whether or not we think we’re successful too. This person seems to have a happy family, that person makes $80,000 a year. But then we can get stuck trying to figure out what is enough. There can always be another goal, the bar can always be raised higher.
It’s okay to pursue success. God asks us to give our best to everything we do.
But here’s the twist—are we chasing our goals or are we pursuing what God would have us do?
As Christian cowboys, it’s okay to celebrate that finals buckle or that record year of profit, but if we haven’t done it in a way that give God glory, that success can end up becoming pretty empty as we find ourselves looking for something more and feeling unfulfilled.
As Jesus knew his time was coming to die for us on that cross, he prayed for the disciples and the people who had come to a saving faith through him and in that prayer, he began by asking God to glorify him, not so that he would get that glory, but that all the work he did for God on Earth would point others to God and give God that glory.
John 17: 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Jesus was here to bring us all salvation by choosing to believe in him, repent of our sins and ask to be forgiven so that we could be saved through his sacrifice on the cross, taking the punishment that is otherwise meant for our sins. In that process, he worked many miracles, taught thousands and changed immeasurable lives but all of it was to bring glory to God until it was his time to die and ascend to Heaven.
When we have a saving faith in Jesus, there is nothing more we need to do to be made right with God, but we will experience a desire to become more like Jesus and to follow the instructions and commands the are given to us in Scripture. That means seeking out what God has for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
When we start to understand this, measuring success becomes less important when it becomes about doing what God has prepared for us to do. In this way, even what seems like failure to how we used to measure success can bring glory to God.