Day 261

Prayer for the day

Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God, For you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being.

Scripture for the day

Ecclesiastes 1-3, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

How do you measure success? What does it look like? What about personal success? And what does it mean?

The writer of Ecclesiastes seems to have a problem with success. He speaks of the kinds of lives that most of us dream of. We seek wealth, we seek fame, we seek pleasure, we seek anything that will immortalize us. Yet the writer of Ecclesiastes explored each one of these measures of success, and finds them wanting.

He tries to find happiness in success in a variety of ways. He looks into success in work, success in finances, success in wisdom and knowledge, success in pleasure, success in justice, success pretty much everywhere. Yet he concludes the same thing with each: it is meaningless.

It is meaningless because, as the writer says, we all come to the same end, in the end. We all succumb to death, we all lose everything that we work for.

Paul speaks much the same way when he waxes eloquent on his own life, and on his own definitions of “success.” Paul speaks of being a Jew of Jews, one who has kept the law rigidly. He was the perfect servant of Christ, the one who had been beaten, flogged, imprisoned. He had every reason to boast of his successes in the service of God and God in Christ.

Yet even Paul, the one who was the “super-Christian,” recognized that only Christ was the true boast. Only what God has done in him is what is useful. Any other definition of success is, as the writer of Proverbs said, meaningless.

Let us seek the true success: obedience to the word and work of God.


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