Spring is here! With it will come the sights and sounds of graduation. Schools at all levels will be sending students to the next level. At high schools and universities, the word “success” will be used in abundance. In most situations, it will mean that a person will be in the job of their “dreams” and making the money they desire to make. Houses, cars and other possessions will likely be included in the mix.
But if such things are the gauges of success, then why don’t people feel more successful? If wealth and prosperity are the standards, why does this country rank so low in individual happiness?
The reason, of course, is that those things are not the proper measurement instruments of success. When people obtain certain jobs, salaries and possessions, there are surrounding circumstances that affect them.
If a person obtains a position by deceit, cruelty and ambition, does that position define success? A person can be adept at business or occupation, and yet be a complete failure in moral and/or social aptitude.
And, what about that person with a low-paying job? Is he a failure because he does not make a certain amount of money, or drive a certain type of car or live in a particular neighborhood? Does his family need to be ashamed because of the lack of these things?
In my understanding, success comes in reaching your potential as a person and in being in harmony with the will of God for your life. Ecclesiastes explores this concept in an interesting and fascinating way. The conclusion of the book is that respect for God and the keeping of his commandments constitute the real standard of success (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Knowing this, I can be at peace with whatever level of wealth I may attain within my own potential. I can be free of envy of others because they may have “more” than I do, or may accomplish more. I can feel free to pursue healthy relationships with my God, my family and my friends.
Untold are the numbers of “successful” people who have mourned the loss of a marriage, a relationship with parents, children, siblings or friends (in pursuit of success). Yet, how small is the number of people, who at the end of their lives wished they had spent more time in the workplace!