What does it mean to be successful in life? The world around us believes that success is being wealthy, having popularity, having fame, living in the right neighborhood, and driving the right car. Anyone who takes a lower stress, less time consuming job in order to spend more time with family is considered lazy or at best just not ambitious enough. I want to suggest to you that God never intended for life to be lived the way many of us do today.
The Bible tells us that anyone who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel, but what does he need to provide? The necessities of life are really not that many. Paul said that with food, and raiment we should be able to be content. I know I am not usually content with that, are you? We always want a little more than we have. Just when we think we have everything we want, some new invention or some new style comes along and suddenly, we are right back where we started. Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly, not that we might have things in more abundance. We are driven many times by materialism that can only be fulfilled by practicing careerism. We somehow have been fooled into the belief that our lives won’t be fulfilled and our children won’t grow up ‘normal’ unless we buy everything that everyone else has. We constantly see people promoting ‘quality time’ but never ‘quantity time’. We need to have both. I am going to start asking myself the following questions about my priorities, time, money, etc.:
1) Will this bring me closer to God or pull me farther away?
2) Will this draw me closer to my family or pull me away?
3) Will this encourage me to be moral and ethical or will it tempt me to be otherwise?
4) Will my life be better, really better, in any way because of this?
5) Will this interfere with something which would better help me in the above areas?
Not everything is clearly good or bad. Many of the things we spend our time and money on are neutral tools that become good or bad as a result of how we use them. Computers are a perfect example; they can be used for wonderful purposes like keeping in touch with family, friends and other Christians, or they can become destructive addictions that isolate us from life around us or draw us into sinful activities like pornography.
When I see how miserable the people who are supposedly successful by the world’s standards are I think to myself there must be a better way to live. Let’s look to the Bible for guidance in life. After all God made us it wouldn’t surprise me if he knew what would make our lives worth living.