Kingdom Success

Want to be a success? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Just now, I got off the phone with a generous donor who donated to us through my work with Ratio Christi. He told me he was just helping me out with my work for the Kingdom and being on the front lines. I was comparing this to a job interview I was at this morning that was a group interview that also talked about success, success being based on how many sales were being made and how much money was being brought in.

It’s interesting to consider the different ideas of success.

Now I do appreciate donations coming in of course, but I can’t really define success in terms of money. I am not saying there is anything wrong with making money. Thank God some people do. There are people who God has given a gift for being able to raise money and these people can support the work of the Kingdom. If someone can make a lot of money and avoid greed, then by all means do so and enjoy your wealth. It is no sin to be rich and to make money.

This can be mixed with Christianity unfortunately in the idea of what is called the prosperity gospel. In this, the sign of the blessing of God is not only wealth, but the avoidance of sickness. Unfortunately, this is not coincided with the idea of hard work to earn wealth, but rather with having God bless you by speaking words of faith and acting actions of faith, most notably donating to televangelists.

The trouble is that there is no reason for God to reward sloth.

Let’s compare this with real success in the Kingdom. As I’ve said, there is nothing wrong with being successful in other fields provided they’re good fields to be in. If you play professional sports, be the best athlete you can be. If you’re a construction worker, put your heart and soul into building a building. In many a field, you can still use your talents for the advancement of the Kingdom.

In the world of apologetics in the Kingdom, there can be a lot of desires. There can be the desire to be known. There is the desire to have a reputation. There is the desire to do well in debate. There is the desire to know as much as possible. Again, these can all be good desires in themselves, but in the field, the great danger is to have those desires replace the great goal of any Christian including the apologist, knowing God.

Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant intellect in his day and there is a story that someone walked in on him one time when he was in prayer and this time, got a response. Aquinas was told “Thomas. You have written well of me. What reward would you desire?” Aquinas answered with “Only yourself Lord.” This is why we are told the Summa Theologica was never finished. Aquinas said that after what he had seen everything was as straw, and straw was used in that day to bury excrement.

When it comes to the greatest reward, is it the eternal reward. Success in the kingdom will not be measured by how many debates you won, although winning debates is important. It will not be measured by how many you discipled, although I also think that will be part of it. It will not be measured by how well you were seen in the eyes of the Christian community, though that is something important. It will be measured ultimately by your knowing of God and your being like His Son. If you are working on those, then work on the others as well secondarily.

Sometimes it can be easy to look at money, but there are far better things. Are you growing to be a good husband or wife? Are you one who shows love to your neighbor? Ultimately, it will not be what your fellow man says about your life that matters, but what your God eternally says about your life that matters, and perhaps if we all saw that eternal image that will never die away and chased after it instead of these temporary realities that can become idols, we would all live better. Indeed, when we treat the temporary as all that matters, we do make it an idol.

Let’s not worship any idols today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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