Thursday, February 11, 2010


In his Sunday sermon on the 7th of February, 2010, Pastor Wayne Kirk asked this general question of the congregation: “What do you think “success” is?” He followed this by asking”: What do you think God thinks it is?”

The first question is by far the easier. It is best described as “a desired or favorable outcome.” The third definition is the “attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.” I would suggest that each personal definition is as variable as the huge variety of folks who attempt to make a response. As Christians, we have a reliable source of information available in our scriptures to assist in evaluating our progress toward the favorable outcome which we seek. Here the rules (laws?) are plainly stated along with frequent examples of how others have embraced those rules to achieve success. The most important feature of our faith is a clear understanding of just what that favorable outcome might be. I happen to believe it is to emulate Jesus Christ and rise beyond this earth to be with Him. That, would indeed, be a measure of success.

We need to note here that the actual use of the word success only occurs on one page of the Bible. In Joshua 1:8 we find the following: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate there day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Given this lone example of the use of the word might lead one to believe that God is not as preoccupied with success in its common usage as his followers. The use of the word by His Son, Jesus Christ is completely absent.

In that single verse, God does make it clear that he sees a relationship between success and “thy way prosperous.” Among other things, to prosper indicates further growth and is not necessarily a synonym for enrichment. To acquire wealth and “eminence” here on earth, although presenting temporary advantage, would seem to be of little use once one enters the heavenly realm. We are taught that we will carry only the memory of our behavior to the next world. Fortunately, God has promised in James that if we have repentance, “he remembers it not.” Thus a man in rags, who keeps the commandments, observes the laws as outlined, declares repentance from his sins and actively seeks the counsel of God will approach the throne as a success. In fact, his very presence there represents the richness of the word.

Once we have cast off our earthly bodies, cares, and possessions, we can go before our Maker with a contrite heart and plead before a righteous Judge for the continuance of our existence with Him. As stated in our Holy Book, our God’s entire thrust for us and the purpose of His son’s sacrifice is to ensure our success.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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