Redefining Success


At our small group recently we watched the Louie Giglio video How Great is our God. I’m usually pretty critical of most sermons or glorified motivational speeches. But I did enjoy my perspective of the universe getting stretched by this one.


I’ve fallen into the very human trap of making God too small. Like, you know, he’s my God. The God of America. The God of the Earth. But when you pan out and pan out again and pan out again you realize how terribly finite we are. We’re so darn . . . measurable.


We take up this itty bitty space in this teeny tiny point in time.


And yet we are known. The same God who breathed galaxies knows when a sparrow falls on this silly little planet called Earth.


It reminded me that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. In the past when presented with that idea God has often been portrayed as a near bully; A kid with a magnifying glass, and we the ants.


But after watching the How Great is our God video a different image emerged. A God that is so big and powerful and with so much knowledge and fore/hindsight that he’s not nearly as caught up in our darkness as we are. A God who sees our light.


We have such small, human, western definitions of success and failure. But I have an inkling that God doesn’t perceive failure the way we do.


I got to thinking about how we define a “successful” ministry. Bullet points would include, far-reaching, long-running, and impressive numbers.


We’ve been a part of several start-up ministries that would appear to have never left the ground. Tried it for a season and it didn’t grow or have the engagement we had hoped for. Believe me, you stack too many of these on your spiritual resume and you start to feel like something is wrong with you. Like you’re a failure.


But I don’t think God sees it that way. I think more often He says “Good job, guys! You built relationships, you nurtured each other, you filled a short-term need.”


Few of us are every going to be Billy Grahams, but that doesn’t make our ministries, our day-to-days, any less important or impactful.


Every experience, every seeming flop – it all stretches us, teaches us something. If you’re growing, you’re succeeding. Life isn’t a race or a contest.


Life is ministry. Every day is ministry. I don’t need or want a legacy. I just want to live good days. Good days that slowly become less selfish and more people-centered.


I think God would define that as a successful life.



  1. Thanks, Jessica – I needed this tonight.