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.