SUCCESS--what is it? We were talking about this very topic last night in the Ecclesiastes class I'm teaching. The folks over at Barna Research have been asking folks what they think success is. Among their findings:
'The study revealed that different faith groups had significantly divergent views of success. For instance, family health, faith development and making a difference in the world combined to reflect the success factors of nearly nine out of ten evangelicals (86%). That dwarfed the figures associated with non-evangelical born again Christians (47%), self-described Christians who are not born again (40%), atheists (33%), and people aligned with a non-Christian faith (29%). Similarly, about half of all Protestants (49%) and Catholics (47%) indicated that this parcel of factors would fit their concept of life success.
'One clear pattern was that the younger a person is, the less likely they are to identify their spiritual condition as the determinant of success. Baby Busters were only half as likely as Boomers and just one-third as likely as Elders to identify spiritual development as the key to personal success.'
Ecclesiastes tells us 'If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, "Better the miscarriage than he....'(Eccl. 6:3) He's talking about life from the 'under the sun' perspective. If this is all there is, and you didn't enjoy life or even get a decent funeral, then you just missed out buddy!
But what happens if you did get yours; you did get what life offers? Well 'He who loves money will not be satisfied with money' (Eccl. 5:10) we're told. So even if you are successful in worldly material terms you're not going to be happy with it. Vanity of vanities...
Where, then, is true success?
'Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man.' (Eccl. 12:13)
How successful are you?