What is Success?

Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Joshua 1:8

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

What does it take to be successful? Let me phrase it in a different way. How much money, or what promotion would make you feel that you had achieved success?

The story is told of an executive who was looking for someone to be his sales representative in a small fishing village. As he inquired around town, he was told that there was one man, Joseph, who was extremely persuasive and had all of the qualities the executive was looking for.

When he asked where he might find Joseph, he was directed to a small house just outside of town by the beach. He easily found the house and was soon in conversation with Joseph. It was immediately clear that Joseph was his man. The only problem was that Joseph was not interested in his offer.

“Why should I work for you?” Joseph asked. “Because you could earn more than you have ever been paid in all of your life!” replied the executive. He was not used to being refused and became frustrated. Joseph kept asking question after question to determine what would be the reward for all of his hard work. “Well,” the executive answered, “After many years of hard work you could retire and spend your time in your own home beside the sea.” Joseph just smiled and said, “Look around you; I already am there!”

That is a stupid illustration, but I hope you get the point. Back in 1966-67, I was stationed at a radar site in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada. There were slot machines located in our officer’s lounge. There was a civilian employee who was addicted to gambling. He would spend hundreds of dollars to win twenty dollars. Winning was never sufficient to give him success. We finally were forced to place the machines off limits to him.

What about promotion to higher rank? Will that bring success? Not necessarily. There are many who experience a sense of emptiness after achieving a promotion they struggled for years to attain.

Even a wise man like Solomon, who seemed to have it all, was left empty by this world’s charms. In the last chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, in verse 8, he bares his soul: “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!'”

That is a depressing view of life isn’t it! But thankfully Solomon did not leave us in the dreary pond of depression. At the end of this last chapter of the book, verses 13-14: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

It is fascinating that the Lord spoke to Joshua almost 500 years earlier with the same reality. We find it in the words of today’s Scripture. It is the key to finding purpose and success in our life. It never has, nor will it ever be, the external things of this world that determine success. It is the things of the heart that represent success.

If you and I want to have success that extends into eternity, we have the answer right here: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

— Pastor Cecil

Insights on John – Chuck Swindoll

Hardcover Book:  $20.84 (last checked)

Insights on John is part of the 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series. This newly revised and expanded edition draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience with studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries.

Skip to content