Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reflections on Success

Today we're doing a staff day away... Cedar Rapids, Iowa baby. Funny we should leave the cultured Iowa City for industrial CR, but I've always found a change of scenery to help create some sacred space.

This morning is devoted to time alone with God. If there's anything I want for myself, my family, Veritas church and its leadership in 2011- it's simply this- MORE GOD!

So here I sit in a cove at Barnes & Noble, processing the story of Joseph (esp. Gen. 39).

As I read the story, I was thinking about the statement "The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man (v2)... the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had (v5)... he was there in prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor (v20b-21)... the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed (v23)."

I happen to be in eye-shot of the "Self-Improvement" section, and my eyes caught the title, "Success is not an Accident" by Tommy Newberry. It claims, "This is without a doubt the single most important lesson you must learn, and really understand, if you want to develop your full potential and achieve all the success you were designed to enjoy!"


The most important lesson?

Every self help book contains a trace of truth and common grace. I'm sure this book is no exception. But as I think about Joseph, and my life, what do I think about "success"?

Everyone wants to be successful. (Especially church planters?) Joseph was successful throughout his life. But he still sat beaten up in multiple dungeons and prisons for years. His success was not attributed to his great decision making. Poor decisions AND good decisions both landed him in various pits, namely bragging to his brothers about his dreams and fleeing sexual immorality, respectively.

So is it our choices that brings success?

When I look at my life, any good that has come from it, I can only conclude one thing: "Grace!" Grace, the beautiful unmerited favor from heaven's bright King pouring down upon me. This is what keeps me leaning toward Calvinism. God, not me, always comes first.

Mr. Newberry, I ended up here because of my great decision making ability?

Even if you've ascended to the top of the world, could you say, "I did it" ?


As for me- More God in 2011!

More, God!

"But God, being rich in mercy... made us alive (by grace)... and raised us up... and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-6

More of that undeserved favor upon my life, upon my wife, kids, church!

You, Lord, will determine what success means, along with when and how it comes.

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ has apportioned it." (Eph. 4:7)