Success. How do you define it, measure it? According to Webster, success is:
- obsolete : outcome, result
- degree or measure of succeeding
- favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
- one that succeeds
As a parent of young children, I am often reflecting and evaluating my parenting goals and style. I look around at the culture and see the different measuring sticks for success. I read parenting articles or listen to interviews of parents on TV that say, “All I want for my children is for them to grow up to be happy and successful!” Success to Americans is healthy, wealthy and happy. It’s measured by GPA, SATs and which college they attend, by how much is in their retirement account, how big their house is and what’s parked in their driveway. It’s their job status and town they live in. To add to the stresses of success in our culture, we are now able to hide behind the mask of technology and be whoever we want to be on the outside. Facebook, Instagram, texting…..we can appear successful without actually being successful which only fuels the fire of depression and hurt as we measure our own lives based on what we see others portray.
The list of ways to measure success goes on and on but it’s rare to find someone in today’s culture who measures success by true wisdom. You rarely hear parents say, “All I want for my children is for them to be wise!” But the bible speaks to my heart reminding me that my measuring stick is not what the culture looks at but what God desires for us, wisdom. It is more valuable than all the things we work for, attain and succeed. It requires searching, seeking and waiting on the Lord.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:12-28 ESV
One Day, all the measuring sticks of success will be thrown out the window and the things we thought were so valuable will be gone.
15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,
16 “Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” Revelation 18:15-17 ESV
Lord, who can grasp your infinite wisdom and fathom the depths of your love for us? I thank you Father that the goal for my children is not defined or measured by the people around me and that you give wisdom when I ask. Help me to remember to call on you day and night for my children that they would grow in wisdom and stature and favor with you all the days of their life and rely on your wisdom. Help me, Father, to teach my children how to use your measuring stick! Amen.