How I define success. (Now THAT’S a great name!)

I held my phone in my hand and glanced down to see her message waiting for me. I sensed her desire for a solid answer she could grasp onto as well.

“I hate feeling like I’m running in the dark with this thing. Like what’s good, what’s not so good?”

She was wanting a definition for success for a particular project. I get it.

I want that too.

Success is such a slippery little noun. Hard to define. Hard to pin down.

FMF-Round-6-10

I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot this week, even before her message arrived in my inbox. Abraham brought it up. Well, not directly, but by reading about him as I studied for a class I was teaching.

I had just finished studying about the Tower of Babel in the Old Testament. Weird story. Basically, to summarize, a group of people “wanted to make a name for themselves,” (Genesis 11:4)  and so they tried to build a tower to Heaven. There are other indicators in the story that they were being disobedient to God’s commands, and so because of all this, they are punished. Their languages are mixed up and they can’t understand each other or work together.

“Simeon, hand me that brick, will ya?”

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”

“No Comprendo.”

Anyhow, their desire to build a name for themselves, without God, led them to confusion and disappointment.

I kept reading in Genesis. God enters into a deal with Abraham (then called Abram) and basically tells Abram that if he obeys and worships God, making known that God’s name is great and worthy to be followed, then God will make Abram’s name great in the eyes of men. There’s the same “making the name great” thing again. But this time, it’s approved by God. But the route to get there is different. 

The people of Babel wanted to make their own name great, without God, and it led to failure.

Abram wanted to make God’s name great, and it led to success.

Abram’s desire to make God’s name great even led him to his God-given purpose.

So here’s what I gather from all of these tower-building, deal-making, success-defining thoughts.

“I hate feeling like I’m running in the dark with this thing. Like what’s good, what’s not so good?”

What’s good: Obeying God and making His name great

What’s not so good: Making your own name great without God

The rest is just a pile of bricks.


This essay was written as part of the Five Minute Friday challenge where bloggers are asked to write for 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word: SUCCESS

 

4 thoughts on “How I define success. (Now THAT’S a great name!)

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says:

    Good post, and you inspired a sonnet.

    I tried so hard to touch the sky
    and landed in the mud.
    And then I noticed, by and by,
    that it was mixed with blood.
    I checked myself for open holes,
    and finding none, looked up,
    to see Someone had paid my tolls,
    and took my poisoned cup.
    The blood that flowed was His, you see,
    collecting in the gloomy mire,
    but raising me from misery
    was His holy heart’s desire.
    He chose to suffer for my sins
    to take me to where Life begins.

    #1 at FMF this week

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2019/09/your-dying-spouse-677-broken-to-joy-fmf.html

  2. Lesley says:

    I love the contrast you highlight between Abraham’s attitude and the attitudes of those building the tower. I agree, living for God’s glory and seeking to make his name great is true success however it looks to the world.

  3. Cindy says:

    “The rest is just a pile of bricks.” I love this Christy! Putting God first is the only sure way to success! I enjoyed your post!

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