I haven’t worked in the corporate world for very long, but long enough to make some observations and learn a thing or two about myself and the world.
We work our way to the next position on our way to the top, then the next, and then the next. But the question is, what do we expect to find up there at the top of the success ladder? More money? More prestige? We tie our jobs, our pay, and our titles to our worth. We wish to impress people to feel good about ourselves.
I do not think success is wrong. Success is a blessing. Achievements should be celebrated. Challenging work pays off. But what I’ve noticed is the pride can develop in our achievements – our high numbers, the pay raises, the kudos from our peers, the recognition from our superiors. And in the midst of the corporate environment, we sometimes forget the One who is behind it all – the fact that He is the one who allowed our successes. The fact that He is the One who matters. The fact that He deserves all the glory.
When we’re in that environment all day, it can be so difficult for us not to base our worth off how much money we make, how impressive our job title is, or how valued we feel at work. We wish for promotions, fame, fortune, the top hits on Google, the first-place trophies. We long for recognition or the admiration, but it means nothing. So, it’s no wonder we fall into this because it is everywhere we look.
When we let the world define our success, it’s not true success. He is the one who defines our success.
But even in the midst of the noise of the world, Jesus reminds us that this world is only our home for the time being.
This world is not our permanent home.
When Peter wrote to encourage the Christians to stand strong in their faith, as they were about to experience persecution, he quotes Isaiah: “For, ‘all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’” He reminds them that their possessions, achievements, and popularity will all fade away – but God and His perfect will are forever.
This broken world is sometimes driven by success and personal gain. It’s driven by earning the big bucks as we make our way to the tippy-top. We want the fortune, the fancy house, the cool cars, the perfect family. We all want the whole package. And sometimes, we allow that desire to consume us.
Every day spent here on this Earth is preparing us to go home.
We can’t take anything with us – not money or possessions or people or power. So while we’re here, we’re called to recognize the trap of the ideals in this world – to let go of the temporary and cling to the permanent, focusing our time, energy, and money on God. He is the One thing that matters.
Let’s remind ourselves and other not to allow success to consume us. Power is an illusion. No matter how far to the top we may make it in this world, God is infinitely and overwhelmingly bigger than us. How much power do we really think we have? We control absolutely nothing.
God calls us to do our best work in the workplace: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
This is a faithful reminder to keep our priorities in line with His. Yes, we need to work. Yes, we need to do our very best work. But our motive should never be to serve ourselves. It should never be for the success or the prestige. We work for the Lord.
Jesus’ promises are so much greater than anything we could imagine here on Earth.
All the things we will receive in our next life with God will blow everything we desire in this life out of the water. We were made to live for so much more than power and success. What’s coming is far greater than what the world here has to offer.
Let’s let go of the temporary and cling to the permanent, and focus our time, energy, and money on God. We’re are all headed out of here, anyway.
He saves us from our greed and our pride. He saves us from our need for a sense of control. He is real and He is so worth living for.