James 1:17
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

How do you define success? Go ahead, give it a minute. Think carefully. What first comes to mind?

While some may not initially find this to be a critical question, I would suggest that how we define success matters greatly. Why? How we define success matters because our definition of success will determine how we live. It will dictate the paths we take and the roads we travel.

Take a look through many popular self-help and motivational books and you will find that most authors’ definitions of success center around the accumulation of worldly accolades and material wealth.

As believers in Jesus Christ, our definition of success should be far different. Our definition of success should center around bringing God glory in all that we do.

So how do we accomplish this? I would suggest that one way we bring God glory is by using the gifts and talents He has given us to the best of our ability and by taking full advantage of every opportunity He sets before us. Understanding that everything we have is a gift from God, we simply do the best we can, with what we have been given, wherever God has placed us.

Matthew 25:14-30 tells the parable of the talents. This parable is a simple story about a man who entrusts his possession to 3 of his servants before leaving on a journey. The man divides his wealth among his servants according to their abilities. The first servant received five talents, the second two talents, and the third one talent. The first two servants set about to working with their master’s money and earned a large return. The third servant dug a hole in the ground and buried the portion he had been given. When the master returned, the first two servants were commended as “good and faithful servants” and both were rewarded accordingly. However, the fate of the third servant was far different. As the third servant did not do anything with what he had been given, the master called him “wicked and lazy” and punished him for mismanaging what he had been given.

While the talents described in this parable were a form of currency in Jesus’ time, the meaning of the parable extends far beyond the idea of investing one’s finances wisely. God has given each of us a wide variety of gifts and opportunities and He expects us to use both of these for His glory. We cannot set our gifts aside and let them go unused, or allow opportunities set before us to pass without taking action, if we do this we withhold glory from God, the giver of our gifts and provider of our opportunities.

Like the talents the 3 servants were given, we all receive different gifts and opportunities of varying degrees. Therefore, the return God expects of us directly corresponds to what we have been given. The servant who received one talent was not condemned for failing to earn the same return as the other two servants; he was condemned because he did nothing with what he was given.

How are you using the gifts God has given you and the opportunities He has placed before you for His glory?

This year, as you pursue success, seek to use every gift and opportunity God has given you for His glory, when you do this, success will find you!

*If you have been encouraged, or challenged by what you read today, I would love of you to share it with a friend!

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