Written By Lily Lin, China, originally in Simplified Chinese
Since young, I’ve had the privilege of having friends with brilliant minds who went on to achieve enviable success in school and at work. Many of them graduated from prestigious schools and are now holding well-paying positions as computer engineers, doctors, lawyers, judges, and financial experts. Some even went on to do their doctorates at well-known institutions and are now doing research or teaching at leading universities.
When I think of them, I notice that they have one thing in common: every single one of them is earnest, diligent, disciplined, and persevering. They are living proof of what inspirational author Jim Rohn once said: “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” It has been a tremendous blessing to have such talented friends at each stage of my life.
Whenever I am discouraged or tempted to be lazy in my work or ministry, the example of these friends spurs me on. They also remind me of the Apostle Paul, a man who was totally dedicated to the gospel and who used whatever he had to spread the Word of Christ and bring people to the Lord (Colossians 1:28-29).
Of course we must remember and recognize that each of us has different talents, went through different education paths, and grew up in different environments. This means that even if all of us put in the same amount of effort, some people will achieve greater success than others. If we focus only on the benefits of success, we could become bitter that we do not enjoy the same talents and resources as these people do, and become envious of their success. But if we view each person’s talents and resources as gifts entrusted to them and understand that success is not tied to individual happiness, our response will change entirely.
In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a man who divides his property among his servants to manage, according to their abilities, before going on a journey. One servant gets five talents, another gets two, and a third gets one. The first two faithfully exercise their abilities and earn an extra five and two talents respectively, while the third doesn’t earn anything. What’s interesting is that although the two first servants get different amounts, the master’s response to both of them are exactly the same: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, 23)
Everything we possess is given by God, and one day, we must account to Him about how we use what we have been given. So we need to use our resources wisely and make the most of our talents, so that we might share what we have with others for the glory of God. How clever we are or how much we have is not important, and neither is the kind of success we achieve in the end.
As Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I hope and pray that each of us can achieve the kind of success God desires for us on life’s stage.
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