What does success look like to you? This could be a college entrance essay topic or an interview question, but it’s often an unspoken question that echoes around our soul silently motivating our attitudes, behaviors, and life choices. The way we answer that question helps shape our character and decision making. We each must write our own answer, but would you consider my one-word answer? Faithfulness.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul established his authority in order to correct and unify the church at Corinth, and he may have inadvertently articulated a definition of success:
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
1 Corinthians 4:2-5 NIV
We often define success in hard figures or metrics: numbers in a bank account, percentage of growth or market share, or the difference between our achievements last year and this year. Some of us gravitate toward a more emotional measurement: our ability to help others achieve success or the satisfaction we feel about our life.
Faithfulness is most often weighed in the context of loyalty or devotion in a relationship, but Paul expands the scope for being faithful to include every aspect of life. Every item we possess, every strength we exercise, every experience we enjoy, every friendship we cultivate, every opportunity that passes our way is a gift from God and we are ultimately accountable to him for how we use it.
When I consider what success and faithfulness look like, I remember the faces of people I’ve known… individuals who have remained true to their calling, used their influence well, and understood the value of their role and their time to be a part of what God is doing in our world. One face that I see is Randy Conley (you might know him as RC).
We’ve just celebrated Randy’s retirement after 16 years on the custodial team of our church. Randy’s dedication has benefited his family over the years, but also our church family. People who have walked through the doors of GFC for a worship service or a group may not have seen him, but they enjoyed the benefit of his work to contribute to an environment where God’s grace can be experienced.
If you see RC, congratulate him and think about this: Success looks a lot like faithfulness. Who will remember your face when they think about those qualities?
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries