Success vs. Significance

I heard a most convicting Word yesterday at church and I wanted to share it with the community because I know many people need to hear this message. So I am just going to write and narrate the notes that I recorded. These are the words of Pastor Christopher Brooks of Evangel Ministries in Detroit, Michigan. I pray that this post will bless you. The title of the message was Success vs. Significance: Which would you rather have?

The pastor first defined success as all the things we do to achieve comfort and convenience for ourselves. Whereas significance is defined as the impact you have on someone else’s life to reach their goals. The rest of the message was devoted to highlighting the difference between these two ideas and why God wants us to lead a life of significance.

Based on the definitions provided above, would you rather lead a life of success or significance? How have you been living up to this point?

Do you lead a life primarily focused on providing a life of comfort and convenience for you and your loved ones or do you lead a life of sacrifice and complete surrender to God? If your answer conforms to the former, then that is a sign you are leading a selfish life.

But as we run around with our degrees and make our way up the corporate ladder, how easy is it to get caught up in desiring success? Surely, one can be both successful and faithful to God right? Of course you can! And as my pastor pointed out, it is not that God doesn’t want us to have success; he just doesn’t want us to pursue it. He wants us to pursue faithfulness and righteousness, knowing that our steps are ordered by God.

But let’s keep it real shall we?

When you pray, do you primarily pray for your own needs or those of others?

When you ask God to move on your behalf, are your motives pure?

In James 4:3 it states, “When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures.” Does this verse convict you because it sure enough convicted me? I think the problem is that before we ask God what we want; we don’t ask God what we should want by praying, listening, and living according to the Word. My pastor says something that I think is simple yet powerful, “God break by heart for the things that break your heart.”

But how we can get to this type of kingdom lifestyle when we lead selfish lives?

My pastor explained the three results of leading a selfish life

Lack of Peace
Broken and lost friendships
Success becomes the God of your life

I have experienced all three of these phenomena and I found a way to deceive myself to believe that God simply wants me to exploit the talents and gifts He gave me. I even exploited the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14) and how God tried to tell us that he expects a return on his investment so that he can trust us with more things to bless even more people. But are we really interested in helping people when it is not convenient for us?

I doubt it. But this is the life God called us to lead. And we have been so disillusioned that many of us believe that if we focus too much of our energies on ourselves, no one will be there to tend to our needs. But look to the hills, says the Lord, from which cometh our help.

Moreover, leading a significant life is hard because we are not prepared to receive decreased recognition from the world. (marinate on that one) And lastly, we have been taught that the only way to lead a great life is to achieve your own goals. What do most of us say to each other, “You better take care of yourself because no one else will?” What happened to the trust that we were supposed to have in God? What happened to the notion that God will know us according to the love that we show one another? The more we give ourselves to God, the more He invests in us. Case closed.

But let me leave with you four questions that my Pastor left me with.

Can anyone say, “If it wasn’t for you, I’m not sure where I would be right now.”

Whose life is God calling you to have a significant impact on?

What are you willing to give up to do this?

And lastly, are you willing to lead a life of significance over success?

And I know that many of you are thinking, that sounds good, but where is this talked about in the Word? Scriptures included in the message include Matthew 10:39, James 4:1-3, Hebrews 11:24-25, and I Corinthians 12:7.
Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

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5 responses to “Success vs. Significance”

  1. Bobby Owens says :

    Thnaks Brandon for that post. I also heard some words in church that are still ringing in my ear today. Pastor stated that he would rather see a sermon than hear one anyday.

    Dont know why those words are still in my head. But I just thought I’d share them with everyone.

    Bobby

  2. Garlin II says :

    Bobby,

    That is an interesting comment your Pastor made. My interpretation of it is that he’d rather see the words and ideas of a sermon put into tangible action instead of just hearing it spoken on the Sabbath Day, if given the chance. That is a statement that I can agree with if he meant it the way I took it.

  3. Steven "The Juggernaut" says :

    That is deep B. It is something that we must constantly remind ourselves and battle. We must put off the old, selfish man, for the new life. But I have noticed with myself, when I am hurt or disappointed, my first instinct and line of defense is selfishness, which is the ultimate form of rebellion against God, because it is rooted in the pride of our hurt feelings. Sometimes, our pain, trials and tribulations cause us to think God does not know what he is doing and we should be in control. But we must have faith and learn to deal with pain.

    It comes down to whose approval are we really seeking? As you correctly pointed out, if we seek the validation of the world, we are setting ourselves up for the okey doke. Furthermore, dealing with people, you are going to get hurt and disappointed, but God sees it and he shares in that pain. So my prayer has been to turn the other cheek so to speak. I don’t Jesus meant to be a doormat, but to not turn your back on loving people and doing for others. We would be a fool to suffer abuse at the hands of the same person, but we must remember not to let one bad apple spoil our love for the bunch. Man, but that is deep. Easier said than done for sure.

  4. Brandon Q. says :

    Thanks for the comments fellas, I think that leading significant lives is one of the main purposes that has birthed and sustain the mission of the Superspade.

    Moreover, I think that generally speaking, disciples of Christ have been duped into thinking that we can have the best of the world and the best of God. This isn’t to say that we can’t, but how easy is it to focus on getting the best of the world FIRST and putting the things of God on the backburner.

    Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

    Thanks again fellas,

    Stay up fam,

  5. Anonymous says :

    Brandon,

    When we look at the world system and the value placed on personal success and we buy into the testimony that “I did it all by myself” then we fail to acknowledge that God is the head of our lives.

    We know as children of the light that He blesses us with the successes in this world and it is our responsibility to first give honor to Him and then be a testimony to others about His Grace, Goodness, and true mercy. Throughout the Bible God’s people were blessed real good.

    As we live our lives and grow and develop in our relationship with God and understand that we represent God each and everyday not just on Sunday morning – we began to treat our neighbors right, ask ourselves what would God like to see us do according to His word, etc. and as we do these acts we realize that we are truly living a good sermon in our everyday life.

    Keep on Keeping on!

    Lady B

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