Success is attaining cultural goals that elevate one’s importance in the eyes of society and generally is marked by power, prestige, wealth, and privilege, according to Johnstone. Excellence, on the other hand, is the pursuit of the highest quality in one’s work and effort, whether others recognize and approve it or not. Success is measured in relation to others, whereas excellence is measured by one’s own God-given potential and calling. Success seeks to please men; excellence seeks to please God. Success rewards only a few, whereas excellence is available to any believer who is willing to pay the price. Success pertains to possessions and reputation, whereas excellence pertains to character. Success can be cheap, attained by shortcuts, lying, and stealing. The price of excellence is never discounted, never available for anything less than full price. [i]
Here’s a thought: Success is gaged by obedience to God’s call.
I don’t care about how many books a person has read… the size of their company (church)… how many employees they have (staff size)… their company’s financial worth (church budget)… what kind of growth a company has experienced, the size of their plant, or how many branches they have. It’s not that big of a deal how much in demand they are to consult with others or are admired by their peers. The usual standards by which a person is deemed a success are for the most part wrong headded.
“What does it profit a man if he gains the world and yet loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Here’s are the things that are worthy of admiration:
Does the person have a passion to honor God in all things before anything else?
Are they motivated by love for God and others in making decisions?
Do they treat their employees and subordinates with respect and honor… when they’re not present?
Are they consumed with reflecting God’s character in all their actions… public and private?
Can the person be trusted to do the right thing… especially when it will cost them?
Are they committed to honesty and integrity for God’s glory… especially when it will cost them?
For God’s glory do they turn the other cheek or take a hit… without retaliating?
Is doing what is right in God’s sight more important than job security and their reputation in the community?
Is a person the same whether they’re in the boardroom, with customers and friends, or alone in their office?
Does the person admit their own faults and failures… and do what is right to correct them?
One day we will all stand before God. Some will be rewarded, others punished. Some will be given many rewards, others will lose their rewards. In the end, the only thing that will matter will be whether or not we honored God. Riches and possessions will be meaningless. Worldly recognition won’t carry the day. Net worth will not be taken into consideration.
The only things that will matter will be: Did we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit? Did we love others as we loved ourselves? Was Jesus our Lord, Master, and Savior?
[i] PC Study Bible. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Copyright © Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2005, quoting John Johnstone from the book, “Christian Excellence.”