Much of what I read and write about in these blogs concerns success, efficiency, productivity, setting and achieving goals, having an impact, and making a difference. I’ve spent a lot of my life striving to live out these values. Many of my friends, colleagues and students are the same, with our life agendas built on these cultural assumptions that are universally accepted at least in developed countries. We can be grateful for people who share their experiences in these areas.
Even so, most success-focused books, articles and or seminar topics seem built on the foundational goals of making money, being known, developing our platforms and promoting ourselves. There is little difference between what is produced by Christians and the success-oriented advice that comes from non-believers. In themselves none of these values is wrong. Maybe they can’t be overlooked if we want to advance our careers and have a maximum impact. But what if they dominate our thinking, actions, and relationships as they do for many among us?
I wonder what he would have said if Jesus had written a blog on success or led seminars? The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount would be a good place to start searching for our answer. Or we could look at God’s instructions to Joshua.
Remember him? Moses lead his nation until he died and Joshua took over. God gave the new leader directions, including more information about success that we read anyplace else in the Bible. Consider this when you’re looking for success guidelines:
- “Be strong and courageous…not afraid or discouraged” because we can believe that God is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:5, 6, 9)
- Be familiar with God’s instructions and guidelines, meditating on them consistently (Joshua 1:8)
- Determine to seek God’s leading and follow through (Joshua1:7, 8, 16, 17)
- With divine help, trust in God fully. Don’t depend on yourself alone. “Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5).
We can benefit from the guidance of success-oriented writers. Almost always their guidance is well intentioned. But would Jesus or the God of Joshua ever advise us to “build on the foundational goals of making money, being known, developing our platforms, and promoting ourselves?” Probably my career success has been limited because I resist some of the contemporary advice givers who seem unaware of biblical guidelines. Does anyone else have similar struggles? Please comment.