We often think of success as the time Tom Brady won his Super Bowl. We think of success as Steve Jobs being at the top of Apple. These really are the rewards of success, and too often, we define and constrain success to only the outcome.
When was Joseph successful? Do you remember the story of Joseph? He was given total control over Egypt by Pharaoh becoming rich and powerful. Is that when Joseph became successful?
If you remember Joseph’s “successful” life, you will remember that he is first sold into slavery by his brothers. He then finds himself a servant in Egypt. From there, he is entrapped, and he ends up in prison.
When does Joseph find success?
Andy Stanley, in his book Visioneering. God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision, talks about success versus the rewards of success.
“There is a tendency to confuse success with the rewards of success. If you are where God wants you, fulfilling the responsibilities he has given you, you are successful. In fact, when that is the case, you are as successful as you will ever be.”
Do you hear what he is saying? Too often, we think success is only when we reach the destination. We think success is winning the Super Bowl. We think success is becoming rich and famous. We think success is being in charge as Joseph was in charge of Egypt.
These are the rewards of success. Being successful is living each day out the best you can. Being successful happens long before we think and feel successful.
Hear that last sentence again. You are successful long before you think and feel successful.
Joseph was living a successful life as a servant and yes, in prison, because at those times and in those circumstances “he was doing all he knew to do.”
“If you measure your success by whether or not your vision has materialized, you are a candidate for discouragement. After all, there are days when it seems we are moving at light speed in the wrong direction. It is possible to go for weeks, months, even years, with no sign of progress. Confusing success with the rewards of success is one of the primary reasons people abandon their dreams.”
I know this is so much easier to hear and know than it is to believe and feel. It is hard feeling successful when you are on the “treadmill of life” toiling away and seemingly going nowhere. Are you doing all that you know to do? Are you honestly pursuing and seeking the Kingdom of God?
If yes, then you are a success!