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The Definition of Success

Everyone wants to be successful.  We strive for success in our careers or in our family life.  For a salesman success might be closing that big sale.  Success for an individual may be starting that business they always wanted or getting praise from a boss!  Success in our family life may be marrying the person of our dreams or raising a family that makes us proud!  Success financially may be financial independence or paying off the mortgage.  It may be saving money for retirement or becoming a millionaire.  People judge success in life on many levels.

When I think of a successful life I have to consider these questions… How does God judge a successful life?  Why doesn’t meeting my idea of success make me content and happy down deep?  Considering the last poem…Why do I feel so empty?

So many times we as Christians desire to reach these same goals and dreams.  I remember years ago we  started a bible study at work on our lunch hour.  One time I asked my pastor if he would come and share some thoughts.  His topic was “Christianity in the Workplace”….What he said that day still stays with me!  Most of us, he began find a job the same way.  We decide what we may want to do, what we might be interested in, what we think we are good at.  We go to college and study and decide if that is something we might like.  We prepare ourselves and talk to people in our chosen field.  We apply at companies or schools or wherever job possibilities arise that we have prepared for.  We become employed at the job of our dreams and hope our dream job is all we hoped it will be!

Then he said something very thought provoking.  “Very few people ask God- What would you have me do?  Where would you have me go?  How can I use the talents that you gave me for your glory”?

With that simple thought he hit on the definition of success!  It isn’t about you and I, it is about him!  We are all on a journey in life.  No matter where life takes us the bottom line to a successful life is where it ends.  You see, we can have all of the things this world has to offer but it stays here once we are gone.  So the definition of a successful life ends with eternal life!  The things we go through (good or bad), the money we accumulate, the house we live in, the people we meet, and the fame we may obtain are all just places we pass on the road.

The next poem is called “The Little Place”.  The poem talks about a place within us that only can be filled one way.  How we fill that little place is the beginning, middle, and the end to the question…Was our life successful?

Coming up next:    “The Little Place”

The Little Place

by Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

There’s a little place in each of us
that only God can fill
Though this seems very simple
it goes fully against our will

We try to fill this little place
wth things that we can see,
with fame or with fortune
but these just won’t fit the need

We place our relationships
into that little place
becoming so dissatisfied
when they blow up in our face

We place our little idols there
be it sports or family
They cannot fill this little place
where only God should be

We force our job where God should be,
maybe that will satisfy
Then when we feel so empty
we know that it’s a lie

We judge the success of others
by nice clothes they wear,
thinking we are far better
when we see their long hair

Sometimes we see other’s worth
by their body size
We see someone overweight
and think they aren’t too wise

We’re good at putting people down
because of their bad sins
When we don’t have God in his place
we’re no better than them

The definition of success
needs to be redefined
We need to look past what is seen
and have a change of mind

It’s not through wealth or fame,
success is only through God’s grace
It doesn’t start from things we see
but how we fill that little place.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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2 thoughts on “The Definition of Success

  1. So many things in my life have shown to be a success, because at the age of 3 I felt my calling to become a Mom. My Mom & Dad told me endless stories of the plans & dreams I confided to them. I feel I was led by God. My children exude a lust for everyday living that can only be described as a God given energy. And my Grandchildren are the personification of Gods love and generosity. I have wondered sometimes, if I am doing enough with the life God gave me, I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I only know I have many people who compliment the upbringing of my children and the way they parent theirs. If God want’s me to do more, I hope it’s as fun as things have been so far. I truly feel if I died tomorrow I would know I left the “campfire” a little better than I found it! What a great question this was. Thank you so much for your articles that prompt us all to do our best not just for us but for God!

  2. Excellent post Lewis! You defined success vey well! I look foreword to reading your poem. Blessings Leona

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