My friend Lloyd Reeb writes, “The first quarter of life shapes us more than any other period. In our first 20 years, the core values of our heart are formed, affecting every decision we make. People in our world, their goals and dreams, what they model for us, shape us in ways we do not know at the time” (p. 29 of “Success to Significance”). I know many of my own views of success were picked up early in life.

Growing up on an Oregon grass seed farm, my views of success were connected to how many acres we farmed (1200+), the newest and largest John Deere tractors and equipment, the condition of our farm buildings, the toys we enjoyed (motorcycles, four-wheelers, etc.) and the vehicles we drove. We worked hard to have more. My older brother and I both planned to follow our dad’s footsteps and buy or rent more land, make more money, accumulate more toys and we too would be successful!

Had I not experienced a “call” to pastoral ministry that started to percolate while still in high school and culminated at the opening of my freshman year of college, I may still define success by reaching financial and material goals and having more toys. However, even in ministry, the definition of success can easily be focused toward bigger and better—all the charts going up and to the right.

Bob Buford says, “Our first half is about how to make a living, and our second half has the promise of being about how to make a life” (Halftime).  Somewhere along the way, most everyone realizes that climbing one more rung on the ladder, reaching another year’s quota or closing one more deal isn’t all that life offers. Yet, some never take the time to intentionally re-evaluate life in view of God’s definition of success. That’s my hope for the blog posts this week. What does success really look life from God’s point of view?

I’m grateful that I was able to redefine success fairly early in life. Subsequently, I’ve done a lot of a whole other kind of planting and harvesting that has been a lot more significant than raising lawn seeds. But it’s really never too late to redefine success. So, will you join me for the journey?

QUESTION: How have you defined success? All of us would love to hear your comments below.

3 responses to Redefining Success

  1. Cindy Burke on October 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM Reply

    I define success as being happy with myself and content with what I have, and that is exactly what I am. I am not into material things – my furniture is 25-30 years old, but in good shape, I buy clothes about every 5 years (hate to shop), but I buy timeless clothes that I can wear for a long time. My car has 105,000 miles, and I will drive it til it drops.There are probably other attributes to describe me as being successful, but I think those are most important. I feel that my family notices this also, and I think my sons have this attitude of gratefulness for what they have, and they are happy and contented.

  2. Chuck on October 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM Reply

    I defined success as always having more than the people in my circle. When I achieved this shallow milestone, I would look for another circle. When asked the question, “how much wealth is enough?” John D. Rockefeller replied, ” Just a little bit more” Success based on accumulation of wealth can never be reached. Instead consider what Jesus said in His sermon on the mount “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” I have since redefined success in a simple illustration, just when a caterpillar thinks he has achieved all the worldly successes possible, He loses his identity as an insignificant earth dwelling grub and becomes a beautiful creation that soars above the empty shell of a life he left behind to be all that God has designed him to be. The journey from success to significance.

  3. Ray on October 29, 2012 at 7:50 AM Reply

    When I get up everyday I look forward to it. If I make it a better day for myself, my wife or another person in some way then I have achieved success that day. Sometimes it is just s smile or a hug that does the trick and others a helping hand with more difficult task.

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