The Danger of Success
It’s easy in a Western culture to be influenced by success.
We tend to place successful people on pedestals, assuming that their success must be because they are smarter or more capable than our self.
Followers of Jesus are not immune to this trend. Take a moment to think of the celebrity-pastors that many Christians follow. Somehow, we’re inclined to assume that bigger is better, and the latest is greatest. But is it?
The need to succeed can tilt a ministry out of balance. When leaders shift their focus from God to methods, programs, buildings, or donors, we lose sight of God’s mission for us.
In the Old Testament, we are allowed to see the backside of success. Uzziah is a young man who takes the throne of Israel at the age of 16. Even at this tender age, Uzziah displays excellent skills.
He recaptures Elath; a trade port to Asia, Africa, and India, located on the Gulf of Aqaba.
He is skillful in battles against the Philistines and Arabs; builds towers, digs cisterns, and has oversight – and provides for – an army of 307,500 (vs. 6-15).
His fame spreads, his strength grows, and pride displaces humility.
At the beginning of his reign, Uzziah demonstrates the signs of a great leader:
“And he did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that Amaziah his father had done. And he began to seek God in the days of Zechariah who was teaching in visions of God. And whenever he sought Yahweh God made him have success” (2 Chron. 26:4-5).
When leaders allow pride to erode humility or their desire for success to ignore their responsibility to seek God and do what is right in the eyes of Yahweh, we will become reacquainted with humility (vs. 21).
Uzziah’s pride encourages him to usurp himself to assume a role solely designated for the priests. He lets success – and the desire for ultimate authority – become his guide (2 Chron. 26:16-21).
May our success never be measured by our accomplishments; only in our faithfulness to seek God and do what is right in the eyes of Yahweh!