“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” – Psalm 127:1-2
Our society is driven by success. People who climb their way to the top in their respective careers are admired and greatly respected. We look to those who have made a name for themselves as inspirations and role models. Successful people’s inputs and opinions are valued above others, and we typically take their word as truth, especially in a field that they would be considered an authority in. Successful people attain much power, influence, and wealth and these three things are what everyone in today’s society desire most.
Psalm 127 was written by Solomon. Solomon could easily be one of the most, if not the most, successful men who has ever walked the planet. King Solomon is famous for having amassed great wealth and influence with his multiple treaties with the nations surrounding Israel, for having built the Temple, and for reigning over the longest period of peace in Israel’s history. While Solomon made many mistakes, like marrying 700 of the daughters of the kings he had made treaties with, he also understood that all of his success and wealth was vanity unless God was in it. This point is stressed even further in his book, Ecclesiastes.
It is true that God leads some to great success. When God does this, it is for the purpose of using that success for his glory. However, it is wrong to believe that all who are successful have been made successful because God is in it. Some achieve success by cutting corners, cheating others, and by breaking the law. These people may seem to be rewarded greatly for their efforts, but the Lord does not bless that. Others may have achieved great success because God was the center of their lives at one time, only to have pushed God out and made success their new god. These people may even thank God for their success, but deep down they know God has no place in their achievements. The rich young ruler was good at keeping the Ten Commandments, a form of piety, only to refuse to lay down his idolatry when Jesus challenged him to sale all he owned and give to the poor (Mark 10:17-27).
It doesn’t matter how successful you become, we are all heading for the same destination. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” We will all stand before God and give an account for our lives. No amount of success, wealth, influence, or power will put you in right standing with God. It doesn’t matter what kind of deals you can negotiate here on earth, there will be no negotiating with God at the time of judgment. All that will matter is whether or not God was at the center of your life and everything else revolved around him. You can attain everything this world has to offer and it is all vanity if God isn’t leading you to it. It is better to be a nobody and be in God’s perfect will than to be a somebody and be removed from God. God subtracted from everything equals nothing. God plus nothing equals everything.
Josh Lowrance is a contributor from Authentic Christianity.