Few are immune from desiring to be successful… including preachers. Bankers and accountants and teachers and lawyers and nurses and doctors and business owners and preachers all want to be successful. Even criminals was to be “successful” in their law breaking endeavors. In our society if you aren’t climbing up the ladder… showing more profit… doing better this year than last and expect next year to be better still, you are viewed as a unsuccessful if not an outright failure. For preachers the questions are: How many you baptized… how many are in Sunday School… how much you gave to missions… whether your budget giving is over budget requirements.
When success is the driving motivation for anyone… and I do many anyone in any profession… before long they will make decisions and do things (Read “Whatever it takes”) to BE successful. It is at this point that covetousness, greed, and pride have become the driving forces in their life. And the person won’t know or realize they have a problem.
Consider what is found in Jeremiah 45:5a… “Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…” (ESV). What? Don’t seek to be successful or a succes? That’s not what Jer 45:5a means. Notice that “great things” sought “for themselves” is the prohibition. What is admonished against is the person desiring to gratify themselves in whatever they do. That happens when a person works to obtain: Being well thought of by others… increasing their net worth… gaining power and influence… or any number of things.
What does success look like for a Christian banker, lawyer, doctor, nurse, CEO, or those in other professions (Including preachers)? It is found in one word… OBEDIENCE. Specifically obedience to Christ. That means that the goal of the person in all they do is to glorify God. Their goal is to help others rather than themselves. Their desire is to show the world what it looks like when a Christian is in their particular profession. It also means that they will be the paragon of Christian virtue, honesty, integrity, and morality… in all things.
Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.”
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all to the glory of God.”
Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”