Defining Success in God’s Upside-Down Kingdom

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

My husband says my eyes turn into basketballs in March. Last night I watched the NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship game. All the announcers were discussing success. What made each team so successful they made it to the championship game. What individual players did to be successful ballers.

It is easy to mark success in the number of championship games won or the amount of digits on your paycheck.  We mark it with the size of our houses, the labels on our clothes, the type of car we drive. The college our kid got accepted to, or perhaps just the fact they made honor roll. Then we flaunt our success so everyone can see our successful lives. We make t-shirts and bumper sticker for success stories and we praise the work it took to achieve that success.

Don’t get me wrong. Hard work ought to be praised. But too often we forget that success is not found in a bank account or in the number of accolades one receives. Inflation sends the value of money plummeting and accolades eventually collect dust. Success is measured in where we find our treasure. Are we investing in God’s Kingdom? Are we all-in – allowing our faith to shape our lifestyle, choices, etc? Are we more interested in obeying God than we are in receiving the praise of man or getting the next big promotion?

Success then is obeying God’s direction by telling others about God. Success is stepping outside your comfort zone to make others feel comfortable (because God calls us to be kind and compassionate) when all you want to do is hide. Sometimes it means being brave enough to sing God’s praises in a microphone while your heart skips beats and your knees knock together. Success means we follow God’s leading even when it makes little sense at first. In God’s upside-down kingdom success looks much more like a baby dependent on his parent more than some independent “I did it my way” person.

So we must rely on God to help us obey Him, to help us lay up treasures in heaven, to make sure we are successful in God’s eternal kingdom, not our temporary one.

Father I confess that far too often I seek success in my own way and time. I hunger for success, but I am determined to do it my way. Please forgive me. Help me to become like a baby dependent on You for every thing so that I lay-up treasures in heaven. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.