The Crown of Success

Michael Beck

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:11)

Our understanding of success is skewed. We measure success by how much we have accomplished in the eyes of men. By that yardstick, Jesus was a failure. When He died on the cross, what had He accomplished? He left a rag-tag, forlorn group of followers who went back to their fishing nets.

A person is deemed successful when they have made a mark in this life – leaving behind something substantial in their wake. Their labors have yielded visible results. The pride of life pertains to our reputation in this life. It has no concern for the judgment of God to come; its interest is in the judgment of men now. Success is rewarded with praise; failure meets with scorn.

If we would be a servant of Christ, we cannot live to please people and live up to their standards of success. Success in God’s eyes is nothing else than obedience to His will and faithfulness to His call. It is doing nothing of ourselves. It is not seeking our own glory or the honor of men. It is doing hard things in secret, all with an eye toward the Lord and a single desire to one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!

Men may wag their heads, and find it a shame that we wasted our potential in this life. Ah, we showed so much promise! We could have really been somebody, and done something with our life! But alas, we never lived up to our gifts and calling. Paul deemed what men thought of him to be a very minor thing. He didn’t even judge himself. He simply made it his business to be obedient and faithful to his God in all things.

It is no shame to die a failure like Christ or His apostles, if joy awaits you in the presence of the just Judge of the whole earth. Who cares what men think you could have done; you will answer to God for what you should have done. Don’t mind falling short in their eyes; just make sure you don’t fall short in God’s eyes. Labor faithfully in what He has given you to do. A crown that doesn’t fade away will be yours.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.