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October 16, 2017

Impact & Significance or Success

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”

Ecclesiastes 2: 11 (NLT)

Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work.

But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind.

There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

Ecclesiastes 2: 11 (The Message)

There he is, Solomon—supposedly the richest, wisest, smartest, most influential man in all the world at that time and he probably would be by today standards—and yet he gets to the end of his life and says—

Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work.

But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind.

There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

Ecclesiastes 2: 11 (The Message)

Here’s what he seems to be saying—the “success” that society talks about always lies in the things of the world, in the things we do and achieve, the stuff we acquire. And by itself it’s nothing. Smoke and mirrors and spitting into the wind.

But “significance, the “real meaning” in life, lies in the things of God, in who He created us to be. In who we are inside. In who God calls us to be.

And that critical difference between the two—which Solomon finally realized at the end of his life—creates a tension and conflict in us between whether we follow the ways of the world, or the ways of God. And when the ways of the world seem to be going well, we seem to be fine. We may not even notice if we are following and doing what God would want us to be doing, or not. Things are going along well, we’re winning, and there are no apparent problems in our family or in careers. Until we look closer.

And when we do, when adversity hits, when we hit a losing streak in the world, how are we then? How are all the things around us then?

Just about every worldly measure of success is based upon what we can accomplish—how much money we make, the house we live in, the cars we drive, what ladders of success we climb, how many games we win, the championships we achieve, and trophies we accumulate, and on and on. We are an “accomplishment-oriented” society.

Doing things characterized as “great” means winning the prize; while being a person of significance often takes the back seat. Having an impact in the lives of others takes a back seat to winning an SEC championship, or any games to some, at least to a society whose values are based upon doing, winning, achieving, trophies and awards.

And Solomon says, at the end of his life, that the “doing stuff” is nothing but “smoke and spitting into the wind.” It’s nothing. It is not what is most worthwhile in life—the one life we have been given.

As Tony Campolo, pastor and professor emeritus at Eastern University in Pennsylvania warns us—in our society—we’ve switched the price tags. We have it all backwards. We place high value (high price tags) on what is least important. And we place low value (low price tags) on what is most important.

We do that because by reaching for the things which society says are of high value, it brings us temporary fame, glory, power and wealth. Whereas God never measures us by doing or acquiring, by image or status, but instead by the character of our insides, by the state of our heart, and by the impact for good we have on the world around us.

Is it important—what we do? Certainly. But it is far more important—who we are, and why we do what we do.

By emphasizing “who we are” deep down inside and becoming all who God wants us to be, instead of measuring ourselves by “doing and achieving” as the world would have us do, we begin to live the life of impact and significance God created us to live.

We begin to live a life that will carry us through those losing streaks or low moments, those times when we come up short of expectations.

We begin to live a life which will give us the strength, trust and peace in God’s overall plan for our lives. A life that will provide us the security to always be able to move on—no matter what happens—with confidence, peace and hope, through each day and into the next day—always with Him.

Solomon’s last words, at the end of his life, which he wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, were this—

The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you.

And that’s it. “

The Message 12: 13-14a

That will work. That will lead us to impact for living—leading to significance for our life!

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

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