Well done. Great job. Good work. As children, we loved to hear words of encouragement from our fathers, mothers, grandparents, teachers, and coaches. I fondly remember my father’s approving smile and my mother’s loving embrace when I did a good job. Truth be told, as adults we still want to be told we’ve done well. We love to be encouraged when we’ve been successful.
God has given us an inherent desire to be successful. We want to be successful men, women, parents, grandparents, employees, students, and Christians. We want to succeed not only because it feels good to succeed, but because we know it is good to succeed. We want to succeed for our own security and so we can provide for ourselves and our families. We want our lives to matter, and we want our work to matter. We want to be appreciated, respected, and loved. We do not want to do our best and fail, and we do not want to succeed at all the wrong things. We want to do the right things and for our lives to make a difference where it really counts.
God gave us the desire for success, and by striving for biblically defined success, we bring glory to our Creator.
Some say the desire for success is inherently evil. Others believe earthly success is all that matters. Both are wrong. God gave us the desire for success, and by striving for biblically defined success, we bring glory to our Creator. However, biblically defined success doesn’t always look like success to the world. God calls us to be faithful, for that is true success. Faithfulness always means fruitfulness and success in the eyes of God. It does not always mean success in the eyes of men. God calls us to be faithful as we daily depend upon the Holy Spirit to make our way prosperous and to have good success for His glory, not our own (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 118:25). And as we await the return of Jesus Christ, who is our only hope for true and ultimate success, may we strive to be always faithful so that we would hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23a).
Dr. Burk Parsons (@BurkParsons) is editor of Tabletalk magazine, senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He is cotranslator and coeditor of A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin.