Have you ever been around a really successful person who is also very humble? These people don’t brag about their accomplishments or compete with you to see whose better because they don’t find their worth in what they’ve done.
They’re the type of people whose words you find yourself clinging to. Like, “What gem is going to land on my ears right now?”
My husband and I had dinner with such a man and his equally successful wife last week. They are both very smart, very fit (former college athletes and current marathon runners), popular, musical, good-looking and humorous. They have high degrees and prestigious jobs.
And they are humble.
Their humility makes them generous. It makes them super laid back about their possessions. It makes them approachable. And it also makes people really listen up when they talk.
There’s something he said during dinner that I have not been able to stop thinking about all week.
“I want our kids to be average at everything but loving God and others. That’s where I want them to be excellent.”
Listen. This guy has been excellent at everything he’s touched his entire life. He got straight As. He started on varsity. He was on homecoming court. He played college sports. He is musically inclined. He’s a handy man. He got an advanced degree. He owns a large, beautiful home. He has a wonderful wife and healthy children. He is ANYTHING but average. He is well above average.
Do you realize how monumental this is?
Someone who has tasted everything the world has to offer, who has money and status and experience, and yet says that love is what matters, love is what counts, that’s where he wants his kids to excel… Holy cow.
This tells me that everything my heart wants me to chase after is not worth it. What my flesh craves will not satisfy me. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, and even that there might be inherent danger that comes with success. (Pride, forgetting God, and greed are just a few things the Bible says about it.)
This isn’t a new concept for me in all actuality. After all, I’ve been going to church my entire life.
I have to say, though, that there’s something about wanting my kids‘ success that seems justifiable. Am I right? It’s like, “Ok God, I’ll stop chasing after the world but please make my kids good-looking, well-mannered, athletic, popular, smart, and motivated in school so they can get high paying jobs some day. K thanks!”
What if my child gets straight Bs, can’t speak publically, never makes varsity, is kinda clumsy, is relatively unknown in her school, doesn’t really want to go to college, doesn’t even get asked to go to homecoming (let alone make court) BUT is fiercely loyal to her small group of fairly nerdy friends, gives God her anxiety, reads the Word, and tells others about Jesus?
Will I consider her successful??? Will she have lived up to my expectations? Will she be the young woman I have always wanted her to be?
If I’m honest, my flesh wants more for her, but my spirit says that would be enough because the one who is last shall be first, the greatest in the kingdom of heaven must become the least among you, and because if you seek first God’s kingdom (not your own) and His righteousness, allllllll these things will be added to you (Matthew 20:16, Matthew 18:4, Matthew 6:33).
Let us aim for godly success and work hard in all God has given us to do, whether that’s laundry or building houses or fixing cars or nursing someone to health or taking biology class. And if worldly success comes our way, praise God. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights, ” James 1:17a.