Success Is Fleeting ... Significance Endures
I recently came across an article titled “Memorable Companies That Have Vanished.” Intrigued, I started reading about some of the best and brightest companies that had once experienced enormous success but today are gone and forgotten.
Names like Compaq, formerly one of the largest sellers of PCs in the world, and Burger Chef, a once-thriving fast-food chain second in success only to McDonalds, have been erased and pretty much forgotten. In their places, other giants have risen that will, sooner or later, follow suit. Reading through the remaining accounts of the rise and fall of these “once greats,” I was reminded of this simple truth: Success is fleeting, significance endures.
In 2 Chronicles we find another list. Only this time, instead of once-great companies, it’s a list of leaders, kings and judges who led Judah and Israel. Every one of these kings and judges was defined by how closely their hearts were devoted to the Lord. Their successes or failures, and consequently the well-being of their people, were determined by their obedience or disobedience to the Lord. Those who chose to follow God left enduring, encouraging stories of God’s deliverance in the midst of almost certain destruction. Those who chose to live in disobedience left stern warnings of the chaos and trouble that dependence on our own power, position and wealth produces.
Reminders from God’s Word
We are reminded in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 that in God’s hands rests the power to make great and to give strength.
In Deuteronomy 8:17, we are told: “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’”
In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of a rich man who, instead of putting his financial success to work for God’s purposes, built bigger barns to store all of his wealth for himself. Because of his proud attitude toward his own success, and because of his failure to find significance and a purpose beyond himself, God judged him and brought his life to an abrupt end. All of his wealth was left for others to enjoy.
God’s Word leaves no doubt that an outwardly successful life that is void of significance is meaningless. It also makes it very clear that we do not need to achieve success, as the world defines it, in order to be significant.
Success or Significance
In his blog post titled “Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance,” best-selling author Joshua Becker outlines both the limitations of success and the advantages of significance. Becker says that success is very often tied to economic ups and downs, that success is never enough, and that it ends and dies with us.
On the flip side, Becker says that significance always outlasts us, it adds value to every life we touch and, first and foremost, it satisfies our souls.
As leaders, we have been entrusted with an incredible opportunity to steward our success and our influence for God’s purposes. Just like every king and judge mentioned in 2 Chronicles, as well as every leader who ever led or will lead great companies or businesses, we must choose what will become the driving force in our lives.
Will it be merely an outward kind of success, which has been proven time and again to be short lived? Or will we choose significance and look for ways to advance God’s mission and His purposes?
At Lead Like Jesus, we help organizations and leaders build a culture of leadership that embraces and makes it their mission to use every platform they’ve been given to make a lasting impact on others.
We believe that leading and building authentic relationships through love, God-grounded confidence, mercy and grace will in the end bear much more fruit than any process or business tactic ever could.
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.… Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
By Megan Pacheco
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