How do you define success?
The other day I was reading Genesis 39 and a verse about success jumped out at me.
The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:23 NIV 1984)
Out of context this verse may not be all that surprising. If you know the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, you know that he became a ruler in the land of Egypt. Only the Pharaoh was ranked higher than Joseph. The would fit most anyone’s definition of success.
But Joseph doesn’t become an important ruler until Genesis 41. In chapter 39 Joseph is not in a palace–he is stuck in a prison. The success he had was not in ruling a nation, but in aiding a prison warden manage the other prisoners.
So I wondered, did it look like success to Joseph?
I doubt it.
Maybe he thought: Sure the warden is impressed with me. But the only people who see my hard work are the ones stuck in this hole with me. What difference does it make?
Obviously it made a difference to God.
God saw Joseph’s work and declared it a success. So perhaps God’s view of success is a tad different than the world’s definition.
The world defines success in terms of how much money you make or how many people you influence. A prisoner in a dark cell working to help other prisoners simply wouldn’t be lauded for his achievement.
So why did God declare Joseph a success? Because Joseph did his best in whatever situation life threw at him. He was responsible and accountable. He worked hard even when it seemed that hard work would not benefit him personally.
That is God’s definition of success.
I often get hung up on the world’s definition of success. I tend to pay too much attention to the “experts” who tell me I need to sell more books, have more Facebook followers, have a bigger platform. But at least for today I’m going to listen to God and embrace His definition of success: Do your best wherever you are.
God sees. God knows. God will bless your work.
Next Step: What task do you need to accomplish today? Do it to the best of your ability. Declare it a success even if no one else notices.