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Minister’s Message: The myth of ‘success’

Take time to consider what really matters.

Frank Alioto

For the Peninsula Clarion

Our world puts so much emphasis on being successful and wherever you go there are standards which measure these achievements. So many of us are obsessed with success.

There are accepted lies even defining success: “1. If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be; and 2. You can be the best and have the best in the world.”

Success has become an idol and it is so easy to get disillusioned when you fail to achieve or accumulate. Success can even be a destination and when one seems to arrive, there always seems to be something more to do or get.

In the Bible, Jesus explained what really matters in life as he described living with an eternal perspective. Jesus poised this question: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Jesus was speaking to those who believed in Him and challenging them to forsake the things of the world, die to self, and follow Him. One will only gain life, when they reject the success of the world, and follow Jesus and His ways. Jesus completely flipped over the standard of success.

Paul encouraged followers of Jesus to focus on “faithfulness” as the true mark of success. “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). Obedience in doing what is right according to God is a natural outcome of one’s love for God.

Author, poet and theologian, C. S. Lewis, said, “It is not your business to succeed, but to do right. When you have done so the rest lies with God.”

In God’s economy success is much different from the world’s idea of success. It begins with being in relationship with Jesus and continues with a journey of faithfulness and perseverance in following Him. God then takes care of the rest and nothing else matters!

Take time to explore what success means to you and see if it lines up with what God sees as important in life.

Frank Alioto serves as a chaplain in our community and as a pastor with Roots Family Church which meets at Ammo-Can Coffee in Soldotna on most Sundays at 10 a.m.

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