Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The meaning of success

“Give generously to [your needy brother] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Deuteronomy 15:10


God's Way of Success

I have been needy. And I have lived abundantly. However, between that first sentence and the second, there were paragraphs, no—chapters of people who stepped into my life and donated time, talent, and resources so that I might experience abundance.

When I was needy, I felt guilty. Not only was I ashamed of my circumstances, I felt guilty for the help. Little did I know, in His provision, God was not only loving me, He was rewarding those who were compassionately being obedient to his command. Isn’t God perfectly wondrous? God’s way; to “give generously and without a grudging heart” allows his compassion to flow to all people of the land. Isn’t that amazing? Not only are the poor cared for, but those who generously give will be rewarded by God (verse 10b).

As Director of Care Ministries at Woodridge, I have experienced first hand knowledge of people opening their hands and their hearts to those in need. Partnering with Interfaith Outreach both at Christmastime and the April Food Drive, Home Meals delivered to hospitalized or grieving families, furniture and gift card donations to Hurricane Relief families, and numerous trips to New Orleans to help rebuild lives and homes represent just a few of the ways that individuals at Woodridge have met the needs of others this past year. You have each demonstrated God’s definition of success in 2006. As Christians, as needy people who have been helped, we must make a difference in the lives of all needy people in our land. God holds special concern for the needy and the poor; to be used by God, in His providential care of the poor, is a blessing.

I have discovered it is not only a blessing; it is a miracle that in spite of our frailty, God intervenes on behalf of those he loves. This success does not require us to be perfect, just available. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.”

Reflections

How do you define success? How closely does it align with Deuteronomy 15: 7-11? Loosen any “hard-hearted[ness] or tight-fisted[ness]” (v. 7); prayerfully refine your idea of success. Let God bless you as you become “openhanded” (v. 11) and open-hearted to how God wants to use you today.

*from Lifeline Devotional, August 23, 2006, written by Diane Viere

6 comments:

Heather Smith said...

Great post. I wrote today about how Christians are to guide others to Christ in love. Giving of our finances and our time is definitely one way to show love to a lost and dying world!

Linda said...

What an insightful post. I have been struck recently by how many times the Bible instructs us to care for the poor and needy. We too have had times of great blessing and great need. My husband is the most giving person I know, and he is the first one to respond to any need he sees. It was difficult for him to be on the receiving end when we were is difficult circumstance, but he underestood the blessing that comes from being used of God to bless others. I believe God is trying to tell me lately that that is indeed what we are here for.

Dawn said...

Beautiful devotional. I might have to subscribe! Sounds like a great church.

Juliabohemian said...

I can totally relate to this. I have been homeless and I have also been well off. I am in the middle now. I wouldn't have made it without the charity of others.

MugwumpMom said...

Great post. To give our time, talents, gifts and resources out of genuine love for God and His children is definitely the epitome of a successful life. Thanks for the lesson.

Spookie the Warrior said...

My definition of success is to one day hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant."