I recently read some lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson in which he defines the word, “Success.”
As a grandparent, I’m in the season of watching my grandchildren graduate and go on to college where they are figuring out into which field they would like to enter, about which subjects they want to study, and most importantly, asking the question, “how can I be most successful after college?”
In retirement, I have the privelege of not dwelling on the world’s view of success, but to contemplate my years in hindsight and pinpoint the flags which waved for me during my triumphs! My own flag-waving was not because I was the hero in any ticker-tape parade, the participant in any gold medal sport, nor behind the scinetific invention of any sort. That’s why R.W. Emerson’s writing resonated with me.
However, I would like to juxtapose his words with God’s words which cement for me the answer to the question, “What is success?”
Answer these questions with me.
“When was the last time you belly-laughed?” “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“Have you had an intelligent conversation lately?” “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge for the ears.” Proverbs 18:15
“And how about children, are they drawn to you?” “Jesus said, ‘let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” Matthew 19:14
“Are you defensive with constructive criticism?” “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.” Proverbs 15:31-32
“How do you handle betrayal?” “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5: 39
“Do you recognize beauty in each day, in others?” “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3: 11
“How beneficial is your legacy?” “The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” Proverbs 20:7
What was your “grade” on this pop quiz?
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.