Did you know that God wants you to succeed?
Now before you dismiss this post as some sort of "health and wealth" mumbo jumbo, you need to know that I'm not a big fan of such teachings. I don't think our prosperity is God's biggest concern or goal. I also don't believe it's any kind of predictable measure of our faith. God causes the rain to fall on the good and the evil, like it or not.
But today I was reminded that God is not intimidated by, repulsed by, or careless with our successes. In fact, He wants us to succeed.
Of course, my idea of success and God's estimation of coming out on top can be polar opposites. I don't think God is interested in me winning for winning's sake. I don't think He owes me success or prosperity in reward of my obedience or allegiance. And I certainly don't think He deserves my whiny complaints when I don't feel like I've gotten my due.
However, God certainly can and does set me up for success. He occasionally allows someone to see my good deeds and take notice. He sometimes allows me to increase in favor with others. God often chooses to bless me with good reward, sweet praise, or public accolades.
He does the same for you. Depending on the kind of day you had yesterday or today, you may not think He does. But He does. If your heart is devoted to Him and you're walking with Him in humility, I'm sure of it. He does.
But why does God allow us to succeed, even ordain it at times?
Let your light shine
before men in such a way
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
If you're walking humbly with the Lord it won't bother you that the reason He sometimes (often?) allows us to succeed, to do something right, to gain a little notoriety, is so that, in the end, He is glorified and honored. It's all about drawing attention to Him.
Today I read in 1 Kings 10 the account of the queen of Sheba visiting the most wise King Solomon. If you're unfamiliar with the story I suggest you take a quick two minutes to read it (vs. 1-13). You'll be impressed with just how much Solomon impressed this rich and powerful queen. In her eyes, he was a real winner.
The queen traveled a long distance to put Solomon to the test. She had heard his praises from others, but could this mortal man really live up to his good press? First she grilled him with tough questions. I'm imagining that she threw world event, political, and hot topic questions at him. Katie Couric has nothing on this woman. She didn't only find out if Solomon was well read, but she made sure he understood what he'd read.
Satisfied with the answers to her stumping questions, the queen moved on to matters of the heart. Ah, what pressure! There's not a man I'm familiar with who would want to spend hours talking heart issues with a woman. What a mine field! But Solomon didn't bat an eye. With the wisdom and understanding he had received from God, he was able to handle even the most sensitive questions.
Then she said to the king:
"It was a true report
which I heard in my own land
about your words and your wisdom.
However I did not believe the words
until I came and saw with my own eyes;
and indeed the half was not told me.
Your wisdom and prosperity exceed
the fame of which I heard."
1 Kings 10:6-7
She was duly impressed. Solomon had shone like a brilliant gem and the queen was dazzled.
But here's the catch, the interesting angle.
Solomon must have succeeded, must have impressed her dainty slippers right off her feet...without ever stealing God's thunder. The queen of Sheba praised Solomon alright, but she didn't stop there. Listen in.
"Blessed be the Lord your God,
who delighted in you,
setting you on the throne of Israel!
Because the Lord has loved Israel forever,
therefore He made you the king,
to do justice and righteousness."
Even with all of Solomon's eloquent words, perceptive intuition, beyond-his-years wisdom, over-the-top wealth, stunning style, and gracious hospitality, he managed to somehow keep this woman's focus on his God. Not her God, mind you, but his. Solomon wowed her, but God got the credit in the end.
And that's exactly why God allowed Solomon to succeed to begin with.
And that's why when you or I manage to win the moment or hit it big or come out on top...God allows us to succeed to begin with.
What have you done with your recent successes? Have you grabbed the limelight and hung out there until the applause died down? Or have you humbly acknowledged the Source of every good and perfect gift, every success, every moment in the spotlight? I must admit, sometimes I've failed to give credit where credit is always due.
But the bigger question in my mind is what did Solomon do ...as he spoke, as he answered the queen's questions, as he showed her around his palace, as he talked matters of the heart ...that kept the spotlight on his King all along? How is it that this worldly queen knew, at the end of the grand tour and the grueling question-and-answer session, that God was worthy of her praise?
And so that's a question I leave with you today. I'll be contemplating it; maybe you'll help me out by leaving a comment with your take on the matter. I'd love to hear from you!
I hope you'll excuse my long absence over the past couple of weeks. I've been on a much needed vacation with family. We covered new territory by visiting the Seattle, Washington, area. Absolutely beautiful! Loved it! And for someone who spends hours each day typing away on a computer keyboard, a vacation isn't a real retreat from the normal unless I shut the computer down. So I've been doing just that for a couple of weeks.
But I'm back and I hope you are too! I've missed you.
Now, let me hear your thoughts on today's question. Or at least let me know you're out there! Have a blessed day!
Labels: Walk Through the Bible, wisdom