May 8, 2013

What Do You Want To Be?

As a child I remember being asked a very simple question growing up "What do you want to be when you grow up?". I thought it was the best question ever, it allowed me to dream, there were no limitation and even if the answer was unrealistic people would very rarely crush your dreams by telling you it's impossible to be a "puppy" when you grow up.  Somewhere along the path of growing up things change, things become more serious and your silly answers to this seeming important question are no laughing matter.  When does that happen?  When do we lose the right to dream freely?  When do we lose the right to define what we would consider success?  When is it that we get shoved into a cookie cutter we may not fit in?

Success means different things to different people.  Success for you might be a good paying job, a loving spouse, 2.5 kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence.  But success for someone else might look very different, maybe they're a freelance artist working hard to find jobs to bring in just enough money to pay bill and cover the rent for a 'shoebox' bachelor apartment, but they are doing what you love.

The little details that help us define success are unique for each of us but we are all 'feeding out of the same troff'!  Ok, think about it, we all live in a society that influences and shapes us into the people we are.  If we think for a minute about how society defines success I think most of us would talk about the white picket fence example.  I remember as a child being told that I needed to work hard in school, although my parents were looking out for my best interest I wonder if the underlying message was "you need to work hard at school in order to get into post secondary education because you need that to be successful in life".  Can you blame them?  I know my parents wanted what was best for me and only encouraged me because they loved me and they were doing what they thought was best.

I suppose it would be safe to say that I struggle with this concept of success, I mean, who really defines success?  What does it really look like?  How is success defined here on earth?  But ultimately, how does God define success?  It's one thing to have worldly success, and whatever that looks like for you I encourage you to achieve it so long as it alines with God's definition of success.  Let me guess, your asking...how does God define success anyway?  Well lets look at this a little further.
Image by Julie from the Life Verse shop on Etsy
God shares so many stories through scripture where he explains what success is but today I want to look at just one of those examples and that's the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).  Do you know the parable?  The master gives five talents to the first servant, two to the second and one to the last, each according to his ability.  When the master came back he asked his servants what they did with the money.  The first and second doubled their investment and earned the master's praise.  The third servant who was given one talent put the money somewhere safe but did nothing to increase it and as a result he was condemned by the master.  So what do we learn about success from this parable?  Well we learn that God give us the tools, we need to have faith and and take advantage of the opportunity's He has given us. Ultimately, God is calling us to be faithful.  Deuteronomy 10:12 says "...What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul..." That is success!   

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