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Success? By Whose Yardstick? – Caught Up in the Game

SuccessKey Bible Verse: “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!” Jeremiah 45:5

Bonus Reading: Philippians 3:7-9a

They couldn’t have been more than 15 years old, parentless boys in an orphanage outside of Moscow. My traveling companions and I spoke at their assembly.

Afterwards several boys challenged us to a soccer match on the snow-crusted field. It was a rousing game. Toward the end, though, I began to push my teammates. I didn’t want just to play; I wanted to win. I goaded them on, and even got a bit rough in my play.

That evening one of my friends called me on it. “What were we there for?” he asked. “It seemed like you were more fixed on winning a game than on connecting with the kids or caring for them.” He was right. Our purpose for visiting the orphanage was to show love to the children there. But caught up in the game, my actions were guided by an entirely different goal.

I articulate Jesus’ definition of success (“Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant”) to myself. But then, more often than I’d like to admit, I get caught up in the game and indulge in silliness like this—not so much in sports now, but in regards to career, financial resources, or reputation.

That’s why I must consistently take time to question myself and refocus, and to be accountable to others pursuing a similar path.

—Jedd Medifind in The Revolutionary Communicator

My Response: How can I stay focused on what’s really important?

Thought to Apply: Ever notice that people never say “It’s only a game” when they’re winning?—Ivern Bell (writer)

Adapted from The Revolutionary Communicator (Relevant Books, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: I realize, Lord, that I can only become a success in Your eyes if I understand what true success looks like. Please show me.


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